Mexican President Felipe Calderon still clings to the hope that when he convenes the G-20 summit in Los Cabos on Monday, the assembled world leaders will focus on an agenda heavy with green jobs, climate change, and policies for the developing world. But with Greece reeling, Spain tottering, and European instability threatening economic recovery around the world, Calderon might as well throw out the official agenda and be prepared for lots of talk about Europe.
And much of that talk -- some of it in public, even more in private, one-one-one discussions -- will come from President Obama after his Sunday night arrival from Chicago. The stakes couldn't be higher for a president running for reelection. The worsening European instability threatens the already less-than-robust American recovery and, with that, threatens his hopes for a second term.
Calderon this week pleaded with the other leaders not to let what he called "the urgency" of the eurozone crisis "distract our attention from more important details or the most important problems for humanity." But the leaders, who represent 90 percent of the world's gross domestic product, are already distracted.
"The actual agenda will turn out to be very different than the formal agenda," said Domenico Lombardi, an expert on the G-20 and president of the Oxford Institute for Economic Policy. "Last year in Cannes, Greece hijacked that summit. In the end it was all about Greece. Now, in Mexico, it may again be all about Greece, but in a much more alarming way because we are dangerously close to the brink."