- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 24, 2009

UPDATED:

As calls for the dollar to be replaced by a global currency grew louder, President Barack Obama on Tuesday published an editorial in 31 newspapers around the world, from Riyadh to Hong Kong to New Delhi to Chicago, attempting to stake out a strong leadership position at next month’s global economic summit in London.

“The United States is ready to lead, and we call upon our partners to join us with a sense of urgency and common purpose,” Mr. Obama wrote.

“Our leadership is grounded in a simple premise: We will act boldly to lift the American economy out of crisis and reform our regulatory structure, and these actions will be strengthened by complementary action abroad.”

The U.S. has come under intense criticism from around the world for causing the global crises, and there has even been scattered talk of an attempt to remove the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, which would be a body blow to the U.S.

That talk grew louder on Monday as China’s central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, called for the dollar to be phased out and replaced by a currency issued by the International Monetary Fund. Russia staked out a similar position earlier this month.

Mr. Obama did not mention the dollar but acknowledged that “America bears our share of responsibility for the mess that we all face.”

“But I also know that we need not choose between a chaotic and unforgiving capitalism and an oppressive government-run economy,” he wrote. “That is a false choice that will not serve our people or any people.”

Mr. Obama called for other nations to continue stimulus spending that is “robust and sustained until demand is restored,” but he did not call directly on other nations to do more than they already have.

Europeans have rejected the idea that the Group of 20 summit should be the occasion for a new round of concerted stimulus projects, which the Obama administration earlier this month had been advocating.

The president, however, went into some detail on the issue that is of priority to Europe: “comprehensive reforms of our regulatory and supervisory framework.”

“All of our financial institutions — on Wall Street and around the globe — need strong oversight and common sense rules of the road,” he wrote. “All markets should have standards for stability and a mechanism for disclosure. A strong framework of capital requirements should protect against future crises. We must crack down on offshore tax havens and money laundering.”

The president’s editorial did not run in mainland China, whose government holds nearly $2 trillion in U.S. treasuries.

It was distributed by Tribune Media Services and appeared in several Gulf States newspapers, as well as the Arabic-language Asharq Al Awsat, in Pakistan, Japan, throughout Europe, including France’s Le Monde and the International Herald Tribune, and in select South American countries such as Brazil, Chile and Argentina.

It was published in three U.S. cities: Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles.

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