G20 summit: Poor Damasco, congrats Istambul!


In the same table this Thursday are Mr. Putin and Mr. Obama, and the new Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Also, representatives of half of the euro zone, freshly out of the recession (Ms. Merkel, Mr. Hollande, Mr. Rajoy), Cameron, of course, as well as Mr. Abe, Mr. Erdogan. In fact, 5,000 of the 7,000 million human beings on the planet are represented at this G20. Participant countries add up to 90% of the world’s GDP. 90 per cent of the world’s GDP is represented.

However, no one seems to expect much. Why? What about tax havens? And the jammed banking regulation? Syria is the hottest topic on this G20 agenda because it’s a matter of life or death. The U.S. has adopted the role of a global referee to do what the United Nations Security Council has not authorized, at least yet. If Obama is right, he should wait until the UN says so.

If he doesn’t wait, we will have the impression that the first black U.S. President, Nobel peace prize, aims to start a punishment action, to show his power, or perhaps a demonstration of unilateralism, more than to change Syria’s war course. Should he really intend to redirect it, the French Socialists’ support wouldn’t be enough, I’m sorry.

The world keeps its eyes open and clenches its teeth while it waits for an intervention in Syria while some of us are crossing our fingers in the hope that we avoid it. And for that this G20 if it can be decisive.

As a collateral effect: once the G20 is finished, Turkish PM Erdogan will travel to Buenos Aires to support the candidature of Istanbul 2020 as organizer of the Olympic Games. Because the on Saturday September 7 in Buenos Aires, the 103 members of the International Olympic Committee will choose the headquarters for the 2020 Olympics: Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid are competing.

Personally – if my neighbors of Madrid do not take me wrong – I would vote for Istanbul. And if the intervention in Syria takes place before Saturday it is almost certain that the Turkish city will be the one. Even though the Spanish press is repeating that Madrid has many points to win from the start.

I’ll be happy to see Istambul as the winner. It would be the first Islamic country ever organizing the Olympic Games. And even if Madrid is beautiful, Istanbul is the only city split by a sea, the bridge between the East and the West… it has it all. How about the risk? Sure, that is why we should strongly support Erdogan’s Islamism, willing to communicate with the West.

I feel so sure of my choice that I’d bet some euros for Istambul. Too bad that online gaming is controlled by Gibraltar and in Madrid we’ve been all summer dealing with that issue. Too bad because Istambul is for me the best choice, no matter if the West decides -I hope not- to intervene in Syria.

About the Author

The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.

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