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Easy Answers to Simple Questions

Sandy Levinson askks:

Balkinization: What does a "host" do?

A: Prepare the refreshments.

Sandy Levinson continues:

The Times has just posted a story entitled "Bush to Host Economic Summit." It begins as follows:

Saying that “it is essential that we preserve the foundations of democratic capitalism,” President Bush announced on Saturday that he has agreed to host a summit of world leaders soon to discuss the global response to the financial crisis. “I look forward to hosting this meeting in the near future,” Mr. Bush said at Camp David, where he was meeting on Saturday with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and the European Commission president, José Manual Barroso, who have been pressing for a high-level meeting of this kind before the end of the year.

I confess that I'm intrigued by the term "near future" and the end of the second paragraph about the desirability of a meeting "before the end of the year." It certainly appears that there will no such meeting prior to November 5. And, concomitantly, it appears that the Europeans want a meeting before January 20. So what exactly will constitute George W. Bush's "hosting" duties?

Preparing refreshments.

Will he serve the visitors drinks and introduce them to his sucessor, noting that he (Bush) has become a truly dead duck and should basically be ignored?

Yes, if he is smart.

Or will he purport to negotiate and to "represent" the interests of the US, even if (or perhaps especially if) his successor has decidedly different notions of what those interests are?

Definitely not. The Europeans will not let him.

Will Sarkozy and Brown (and others in attendance) constantly be looking over Bush's shoulder in order to move away and talk with Obama or McCain?

Yes, if they talk to him at all.

Or will they feel a duty to pretend to take Bush seriously?


This has been an edition of easy answers to simple questions.