US press gives Obama's world debut mixed reviews

4th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Perhaps President Obama could have pushed harder, however, he was handicapped by worldwide belief in US culpability for the crisis, one newspaper noted.

Washington -- President Barack Obama's debut on the world stage at the G20 summit in London got mixed reviews from the American press Friday.

"After years of watching former President George W. Bush hector and alienate this country's closest friends, we were relieved to see Mr. Obama in full diplomatic mode," said The New York Times in an editorial. “We fear, however, that this is not the time or the issue on which to hold back. If world growth continues to decline -- and all signs suggest that it will -- the president will have to take on this fight soon."

The Times was also critical of the performance of leaders at the Group of 20 summit of major developing and developed nations, saying "they fell short" at a time when the global economy is "imploding."

The leaders "fell dangerously short" by refusing to commit to new stimulus packages, an approach initially advocated by Obama but fiercely opposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, it said.

"Stimulus left them cold at the G20 summit," noted the Los Angeles Times in its editorial's headline. "This week, President Obama found out how much harder it is to sell economic stimulus packages in Europe than it is in Washington.”

The Washington Post
argued that "the summit would have benefited from a greater focus on the US priority of fixing the crisis we are in before moving on to protecting against the next one."

"Perhaps President Obama could have pushed harder; on the other hand, he was handicapped by worldwide belief in US culpability for the crisis and residual resentments of perceived US high-handedness under the previous administration," the Post noted in an editorial.

"It is a lost opportunity," the newspaper said, that the world leaders remained vague on actions to spur economic growth.

The conservative Wall Street Journal featured a "G20 scoreboard" on its website, where it counted as "losses" the lack of agreement on a fiscal stimulus, the failure to find a solutions "for getting banks to lend again" and the lack of an enforceable agreement against protectionism.


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