It won't solve Syria or world hunger, but the Obama-hosted meeting of world leaders can still take on some major issues.
- Domestic Focus for Israel's Coalition
- U.S. Psychotropic Substances Act of 1978
- ECOWAS Abuja Declaration
- Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption
After so many splashy summits, President Obama's decision to hold this year's Group of Eight (G8) meeting at Camp David is inspired. The success of leaders-level meetings depends, above all, on opportunities for candid conversation away from media flashbulbs and crowded convention halls. The secluded setting--nestled in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains--will provide a welcome intimacy to deliberations among leaders of the world's advanced market democracies. Given their daunting global agenda, they can certainly use the peace and quiet.
The real action may be hidden from view. A year ago the G8 emerged from an early retirement, thanks to its strong performance in Deauville, France. Essentially, leaders from the developed world have clearly decided that it's useful to continue meeting as a smaller group, hammer out some consensus on the major problems that they all confront, and coordinate a response to major global shifts--without having to talk about every (often valid) gripe of all twenty countries in the G20. The seven leaders (not including the Russian substitute) have a diverse set of tasks from their electorates, but are far more aligned than the G20--in terms of both motivations and domestic constraints. The forum isn't likely to trail blaze a path forward on Syria, nonproliferation, or world hunger, but will give some of the world's most powerful men and women a valuable opportunity to understand each other's positions and debate the way forward. So what's on the agenda?