Magazine article The Spectator

If George Shultz Had Known This Would Happen, He Would Have Sat on His Tiger

Magazine article The Spectator

If George Shultz Had Known This Would Happen, He Would Have Sat on His Tiger

Article excerpt

Birmingham is not my idea of where to spend a weekend, and certainly not this one. I shall plead a subsequent engagement. The whole of the nut and bolt belt will be crawling with security cordons, stretch limos, spouses' outings, busy sherpas, bilateral breakfasts, press briefings, photo opportunities and all the prefabricated hoopla that now attaches itself to an economic summit meeting. If George Shultz had known what he was starting, he would have sat tight on his tiger tattoo (a relic of his Princeton days) and kept the whiskey to himself. It is 25 years since, as Richard Nixon's Treasury secretary, he asked his opposite numbers from France, Germany and Britain to pop round for a drink and a chat in the White House library. What they decided, as so often at such meetings, was to meet again. This time the man from Japan came, then Italy and Canada joined in, suddenly the world was blessed with a Group of Seven, and all that remained was for Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who after the library meeting had advanced from finance minister to president, to convene the first economic summit. …

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