Where's the Beef?

The president has had to navigate some pretty rough seas this week at the G-8 Meeting in Italy. I think it can be summed up as "follow the money." He got a very strong statement from the G-8 on Iran. It condemns Iran for the post-election violence, treatment of foreign embassy personnel and journalists as well as hitting Ahmadinejad right between the eyes for his denial of the Holocaust.

The president has also had a winner in his invitation to world leaders to a conference next March on nuclear security. He wants to address the financial sector, as well as nuclear smuggling and vulnerable materials. President Obama understands that this is not only about national pride such as Pakistan's "Muslim bomb" but it is also about countries supporting themselves by selling nuclear technology. It is about individuals making money by smuggling as well.

Statements are great, and world leaders being on the same page with Iran is great too, but it comes down to money and the biggest place money has been an issue this week is climate change. It is a simple formula, keeping greenhouse gases in check costs money. China and India, the new emerging powerhouses of the economic world believe that the United States and other countries have built their economies and created negative climate change in the process. So, why should they take the economic hit for keeping a clean environment while other countries have not had to do the same.

It all boils down to the pocketbooks of the individual countries. They can make all the statements they want on Iran but will the subsidiaries of their national corporations stop doing business with Iran? Will the countries ride herd on the sale of reactors and materials that contribute to nuclear weapons? Will the developed countries help out with costs of climate change for the developing nations? It is highly doubtful since even our Congress can't get a consensus. It is good to talk, have dinners and agree but the real work of the G-8 needs to be about money and it doesn't look like that is going to happen any time soon.