On Thursday Gordon Brown will host the G20 Summit in London, with the aim of tackling some of the biggest issues in global finance and politics - from providing help for developing economies hit by the recession to reforming the IMF with a $500billion injection. There is widespread hope this will make a real contribution to global economic recovery, in the light of one of the worst recessions in world history.Leaders and civil servants from 22 of the world’s major industrial countries will be attendance – representing 90% of global GDP, 80% of world trade and 2/3rds of the world’s population.
Non-G20 members Thailand and Ethiopia have also been invited, along with Ban Ki-moon the UN secretary general and Jose Manuel Barroso President of the European commission. Not only this, but leaders of G20 nations are also in attendance, rather than just finance ministers and bankers.
So that means Mr. Obama will be touching down today – giving Britain a first chance to see the 44th President of the USA. Landing in London today, Barack will arrive with over 500 officials (including Reggie Love who dials his Blackberry, fetches his jackets and ties and supplies him with snacks) and ‘The Beast’ – his $300,000 presidential limousine complete with night-vision cameras, reinforced steel plating, tear-gas cannon and oxygen tanks.
We imagine it’s going to be a pretty tight squeeze on board Air Force One, the presidential Boeing 747-200B jet, as Obama will also be bringing with him a kitchen team from the White House, 200 US secret service men and the White House medical unit – consisting of surgeons and nurses, as well as supplies of the presidential AB blood type. Oh yes, and Michelle will of course be by his side, with her own secretary, assistants, press officer and bodyguards.
The preparation in anticipation of Obama’s visit has been exhaustive, the Secret Service have made three missions to the UK already – sweeping venues for bugging devices, testing food for contamination and measuring air quality for bacteria. However, when you consider that Ronald Reagan, George W Bush and, of course, John F Kennedy have all been attacked whilst in public, it hardly seems over-the-top.
Looking at Obama’s schedule, we doubt he’ll have much time to savour London’s sights and sounds, as he meets everyone from president Hu Jintao of China, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh. Then, if he gets bored of trying to rectifying the economic crisis, he always has his meeting with South Korean president Lee Myung-bak for light-hearted foreign policy chat.
It looks like it will be a very hectic week for all involved, as the pressure mounts day by day for the world’s wealthiest nations to ’solve’ the economic crisis.