All the more reason to ring alarm bells and panic already devastated financial markets - - I'm almost beginning to believe it's intentional at this point. It is true that Argentina, Iceland and Hungary are basically destroyed, however, and Korea isn't looking so stable, either... But what the hell can they do? http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/23/business/economy/23bush.html?_r=1&oref=slogin Bush Calls 20 Nations to Summit on Markets By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and MARK LANDLER Published: October 22, 2008 WASHINGTON â President Bush will convene leaders of 20 nations in Washington on Nov. 15 for an emergency summit meeting to discuss the economic crisis, the White House said Wednesday. But the session, coming less than two weeks after the presidential election, could put Mr. Bush on a collision course with his successor. International Monetary Fund, via Agence France-Presse â Getty Images The White House envisions an overhaul of financial markets as was done at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, here being addressed by the British economist John Maynard Keynes. The White House said Mr. Bush would âseek the inputâ of the president-elect, and both the Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, and the Democrat, Senator Barack Obama, praised Mr. Bush for convening the session. But neither man committed to attending, and the White House conceded it did not quite know how the meeting would play out. The White House envisions the meeting as the first of a series of international meetings intended to lay the groundwork for a possible overhaul of the rules governing financial markets, in much the way that the conference at Bretton Woods, N.H., in 1944 remade the global financial system â spurred by the Great Depression and World War II. Many economists say such a meeting is necessary and important, coming at a time when fears of a contagion among emerging market economies have multiplied. But from the American political perspective, the timing â at the tail end of a lame-duck administration â is terrible. If history is any guide, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain might prefer to steer clear. Historians say Mr. Bushâs summit meeting brings to mind similar efforts of another president facing tough economic times, Herbert Hoover. During the Great Depression, in the waning days of his administration, Hoover tried to draw the president-elect, Franklin D. Roosevelt, into policy prescriptions for the economy, but Roosevelt steadfastly resisted. âRoosevelt simply did not want to get close to him or be identified with anything he would want to do, because he was terribly unpopular, and the same now exists with George W. Bush,â said the historian Robert Dallek. âIn some ways, heâs trying to rescue his reputation, and the last thing Obama or even McCain are going to care about is saving George Bushâs reputation.â The White House press secretary, Dana Perino, said Wednesday that it was âtoo early to sayâ if the incoming president would attend. âLetâs just let this election happen,â Ms. Perino said. âWe donât want to box the next president in.â Mr. Obama, appearing in Richmond, Va., said the meeting provided âan opportunity to advance the kind of cooperationâ that he himself had called for last month, when he advocated global coordination in addressing the credit crisis. Mr. McCainâs senior economics adviser, Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, called the session âan important opportunity to take urgent steps toward recovery.â One question, though, is how much Mr. Bush can accomplish with so little time left in office and foreign leaders already looking toward a successor who could easily undo any commitments he makes. The conference will come just days before Mr. Bushâs last official foreign trip, to South America for a conference of leaders of Asian-Pacific nations. Ms. Perino said the White House thought it was important not to wait. âWe didnât want the financial crisis to happen at all,â she said, adding, âbut now that itâs happened, we canât control the timing of it.â Some economists said the meeting could have a calming effect on markets, if only by demonstrating that world leaders are willing to cooperate. âAt best it does something; at worst it does no harm,â said Carmen M. Reinhart, a professor at the University of Maryland who is writing a book on financial crises. But others are skeptical that a meeting pulled together on such a hurried basis could produce substantive results. They said that the Bretton Woods conference, which resulted in the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, was years in the planning. âThings like this that produce real results for the world are planned years in advance,â said Edwin M. Truman, who was an assistant secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton. âThe notion that youâre going to have something come out of this in three months is probably naÃ¯ve.â Indeed, the meeting is being planned in such haste that Ms. Perino said the White House was not yet certain where it would be held. She said the goal was for the leaders to âagree on a common set of principles for reformâ and then direct financial experts âto put meat on the bones when it comes to fleshing out the principles.â Mr. Bush has been under intense pressure from his counterparts in Europe, notably President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, to hold a meeting of world economic powers. But the White House at first sounded resistant to the idea; administration officials have said Mr. Bush is concerned that adding new layers of regulation could stifle free markets and free trade. On Saturday, Mr. Sarkozy and the president of the European Union, JosÃ© Manuel Barroso, had dinner with Mr. Bush at Camp David and apparently brokered a deal. Although Mr. Sarkozy had suggested earlier that day that the meeting be held in New York, the White House wanted it in Washington, on Mr. Bushâs turf. The president also insisted that the sessions include developing nations â a decision that experts said acknowledges the risk that such countries face, especially now that larger, more prosperous nations have poured billions into stabilizing their banks. The rescue measures adopted by Western countries, including the United States, actually heighten the risk for emerging markets, because banks in those countries are now less safe than those in the Western economies. The talks come as nations like Hungary, Ukraine and Belarus are showing the same symptoms â flight of foreign capital, plummeting currencies and soaring inflation â that hit Iceland recently, capsizing its banking system and hobbling its economy. All these countries are in talks with the International Monetary Fund for loans to stabilize their banks. With Western banks pulling back credit, the list of countries at risk of a financial crisis could grow to include several more in Central Europe and Latin America, economists say. âYouâve got a lot of emerging markets who are going to go to this meeting and say âYouâve got to take this seriously,â â said Simon Johnson, a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. With Europe and the United States both paying for costly bank bailouts, however, they have limited resources to help countries directly. That suggests a growing role for the fund, as well as for the World Bank. The White House has invited the heads of both institutions to the meeting. The countries invited are drawn from the so-called G-20, a forum of rich and emerging nations that was convened in 1999 after the Asian economic crisis. Its members are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Britain, the United States and the European Union.