Beltway Insider: Obama Attends G-20; Leaders Split On Syria; Committee Drafts Strike Approval; August Job Numbers

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President Obama unexpectedly traveled to the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg Russia, this week, as he hoped to present conclusive evidence to global leaders of Syria culpability in the recent chemical weapons attack.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, dropped two percentage points to 43% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose one percentage point to 48%

President Obama Attend G-20 Summit

President Obama in a surprise move made the decision to attend the G-20 held this week in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Obama traveled to Russia with a single agenda and that was to gather support from allies and present to the leaders of the worlds to 20 nations the US intelligence assessment and belief on the current Syrian strategy.

The G-20 theme was Global Economy and Development and the working sessions were focused on those issues and the belief that the economic crisis, at its height, has past.  The residuals of that war are still very present as Russian President Vladimir Putin, the host president spoke on global economic issues plaguing every nation including unemployment numbers which, globally in some sectors, are greater than “pre-crisis levels.”

President Obama Meets with G-20 Leaders

Outside the structure of the G-20 sessions were bi-lateral meetings allowing the President to meet one on one for discussions unique to the issues surrounding the United States and the particular leader requesting the session.

President Obama met with Prime Minister Abe of Japan to discuss the Syrian situation, Asian Pacific issues, military installation negotiations, and Trade or TPP Trans-Pacific Partnership as well as maintaining an alliance in the face of the Syrian Civil War. President Hollande of France also had a bi-lateral meeting with the President.

In all, President Obama had six bi-lateral meetings, with China, Japan, France, Turkey, Mexico and Brazil.  President Obama also had several pull-aside meetings during the course of the working dinner, which according to the White House “went very late.”

According to Ben Rhodes, White House Strategic Communication Strategist, “At the dinner each of the leaders was able to express their perspective on the situation in Syria.  And the President found it to be a very broad and substantive discussion characterized by I think the seriousness with which people take the issue of chemical weapons.”

G-20 Response to Syria Situation

Although the topic of the G-20 focused on global economic and development issues the current situation in Syria was very present not only the concern regarding the planned military action by the United States but also in multilateral support through humanitarian assistance and aid.

Several countries, including Turkey, France and Saudi Arabia, all present at the G-20, have expressed interest in providing support to vetted rebel opposition.  The United Nations has issued a call for additional humanitarian aid for the Syrian people.

According to Ben Rhodes, “Even as we deal with the issue of chemical weapons, and even as we have expressed our belief that there needs to be a military response to the use of chemical weapons, we still believe that the long-term resolution of the Syrian civil war is going to depend on a political process and the Geneva process is still the best way forward in that regard. And that would have to involve many countries.”

Nordic Statement

President Obama met with his Royal Highness King Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, before continuing on to St. Petersburg.

Over a working dinner in Sweden the Nordic Council expressed the belief that the Assad regime must be held accountable and “the need for a strong international response to the use of chemical weapons.”

Foreign Relations Committee Approves Limited Military Action

After a day of debate, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has given President Obama limited strike approval for military action against Syria in response to the chemical weapons attack launched in August 21, 2013.

The approval limits U.S. involvement to sixty days with a possible thirty day extension. Additionally, the Senate approval created obligations for the president to fulfill including finding a solution to the civil war as well as keeping lawmakers full informed on any military action plans.

“The draft requires Obama to determine that all diplomatic means have been used to prevent the implementation of weapons of mass destruction in Syria. It sets a 60-day limit on U.S. military action in Syria, with a possibility of a single 30-day extension. It would require Obama to fully inform lawmakers of any planned military strikes and require the president to include Congress in formulating a negotiated political settlement to the conflict. It also includes a provision banning any use of U.S. ground forces in Syria,” according to AL Jazeera America.

Democrats and Republicans compromised on the resolution which limited the Obama administration as to the scope and created stricter boundaries than the president had hoped.

The resolution allows the draft to be debated before a full senate upon the return to full session with a vote expected within two weeks.

August Job Numbers

The U.S. economy continued to show small signs of growth as the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the August unemployment numbers this week.

With only 169,000 jobs added to the economy in August the overall unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.3% from 7.4% in July. The minute gains are seemingly insignificant to total economic growth and yet, over time, the total unemployment numbers are falling.

One year ago, September 2012, was the first month in over forty months that the unemployment rate had fallen below a cemented 8.0%.  Since that time the overall average unemployment rate has fallen .07%. Pockets of high unemployment still exist with a pendulum swing of 8.7% in California to 3.0% in North Dakota.

The total number of Americans who are still unemployed remains at 11.3million. The total long-term unemployed, those who have remained unemployed for 27 weeks or more, has also remained unchanged at 4.7million. Discouraged workers, those individuals who have stopped looking for prospects as they believe there aren’t any jobs available remains unchanged at 866,000.

Health Care services and retail continue trending in job creation.  The Automotive industry released more workers than usual during the July model changeover season. Over the past year, Auto Manufactures have added 34,000 jobs.

Youth or Teenage unemployment, while staggeringly high, at 22.7% is in line with the unemployment crisis, for that sector of the population, leaders of all nations addressed at the recent G20.

President Putin Address G20 Unemployment Issue

Unemployment was the central topic at the G-20. As host, President Putin discussed the global economy and unemployment crisis that plagues the world. While some G-20 nations appear to have stabilized and have seen small growth in the economy, according to Putin, the G20 unemployment levels are “higher than pre-crisis levels.”  Some are “acute and typical to G20 countries” especially the Youth or teenage demographic. Globally, the unemployment numbers for that age group numbers are astronomical.

The global economic meltdown or the worst recession since the Great Depression would be defined as beginning in 2007 through and including 2013.

Economic stability, the U.S. economy and the global economy, a return to pre-crisis unemployment and the return of all the jobs lost during these times will not be reached until 2017.

The effort of every nation in the G-20 is to bring about a more expedient solution to the issues of employment, unemployment, job creation and development.

The solution may be within the same equation that global corporations apply when looking to improve on the biggest seller: Creating a better product, a smarter product, a faster product. Dissecting or compartmentalizing these key areas into creation effort and building a living minimum wage as a foundation into the platforms of economies.

For more information on President Obama: 

Sources: Gallup, Wikipedia,, Bureau of Labor Statistics


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