PRESIDENT OBAMA may have had logistical reasons to move May’s G8 summit from Chicago to Camp David, but the signal he sent was unsettling. No, the change of venue won’t affect the substance of the discussion on the global economy, and the summit of the leaders of eight leading economies is a natural event for Camp David, the exclusive and highly secure presidential retreat in Maryland that Obama hasn’t much used. But as these leaders try to manage a world financial stage from the European Union to China, it does seem sadly symbolic that they’ll distance themselves so explicitly from the people.
Originally, the upcoming G8 and NATO summits were to be held back-to-back in the Windy City. The move of the G8 only seems to have taken Chicago by surprise. It is also being heralded as a victory by Occupy Chicago protesters, who claim the White House was afraid that the city couldn’t handle the extra security burdens. Occupy will still be there for the NATO attendees.
It may never be known exactly why the plan was altered so late. But at a time when the failures of the world economy are often blamed on backroom deals and secret meetings - at the expense of the people - let’s hope the location change is not a statement on the policies that will be pursued.