Important talks among the world's leaders will take place in the United States this weekend as the G8 summit will be held Friday evening at Camp David and the NATO summit will take place in Chicago Sunday and Monday. The president will need to step up and make his mark at these meetings for The Washington Times reports that there are "increasing signs that the world is tuning his message out:"

Russian President Vladimir Putin is skipping the G-8 meeting that begins Friday at Camp David, Md., a startling display of disrespect for Mr. Obama, foreign policy analysts say. The just-elected Mr. Putin has said he needs time to put his Cabinet of advisers together, dispatching Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to the U.S. as his surrogate.

French voters gave the bum’s rush this month to Mr. Obama’s ally, President Nicolas Sarkozy, in favor of socialist Francois Hollande, who campaigned in part on a pledge to withdraw France’s 3,400 troops fromAfghanistan sooner than Mr. Obama desires.

Then there’s the European debt crisis, which only has deepened since Mr. Obama urged the Continent’s leaders to solve their problems last November at a conference in France. But U.S. officials have been largely sidelined in the European debate, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, head of the eurozone’s most powerful economy, embracing a policy of economic austerity largely opposed in Washington.

At the Camp David summit, observers say, Mr. Obama will have little leverage over Europe’s fiscal emergency, while the economic slowdown across the Atlantic still could engulf the United States before the November elections.

A major topic of discussion expected for the weekend is an issue that the "Real News" panel has discussed at the length; Syria.

Syrian opposition forces have just begun to receive significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States. With this news indicating that the U.S. is no longer on the sidelines, what is President Obama going to do moving forward beginning this weekend, and might he be hamstrung by the growing international perception that he is ineffective as a leader?

Tony Badran from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies joined the panel Friday to answer these questions as well as discuss a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed from former President George W. Bush questioning that if America does not support the advance of democratic institutions and values, who will?

 

One last thing…
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