The knights of the global round table will assemble on Thursday in London to slay the financial monster. That is, if they can stop quarrelling with each other.
The Group of Twenty summit has been heaped with large expectations, with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown earlier calling it the “next Bretton Woods”. But this week, world leaders are beginning to tone down their rhetoric, perhaps realizing that collective action is never so simple.
Europe opposes the massive stimulus packages that Barack Obama is asking of them. Emerging economies such as China and India, keenly aware of protectionism, are suspicious of what the West will say and then do. This week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for an international “umpire” to ensure that rich nations maintain their pledges.
We wish for the best to come out of the summit, but we aren’t holding our breath for a magical solution that will end the crisis in one stroke. Instead of fairy tale knights, we’ll settle for piecemeal cooperation and progress.