From outside China, the Bo Xilai trial looks like the Chinese news event of the year, one of the preoccupations of Western media, along with corporate corruption and the clampdown on American and European companies. Yet these issues are no more than sideshows to the most important economic event of recent times, the unveiling and ratification of a major program for reforms for the next decade, which will occur at the Chinese government's third plenum in November. The reforms promise to bring another great leap forward in China's dramatic ascent.
There is a big choice the G20 must make. Either the world will come together and agree on a coordinated growth plan--or we will retreat into a new more acrimonious protectionism.
Next week's 2011 G20 meeting has the power to write a new chapter in the response to the economic downturn. But every day, as nations announce currency controls, capital controls, new tariffs and other protectionist measures, the G2O’s room for maneuver is being significantly narrowed.
When European leaders meet on Sunday, the time for small measures will be over. As the G20 found when it met in London at the height of the 2009 crisis, only a demonstration of policy intent that shows irresistible force will persuade the markets that leaders will do what it takes.