So much for all this summitry

Toronto G20The following is a guest post by Marc Levinson, a senior fellow for international business at the Council on Foreign Relations. The opinions expressed are his own.

The world’s leaders are stuck on a summitry treadmill. Nothing better could come from this week’s summit meetings in Canada than a way for them to get off.

Consider President Obama’s schedule for the months ahead. On June 25, he heads to the summit meeting of the G8 leaders in bucolic Huntsville, Ontario. A couple of days later, those eight presidents and prime ministers, together with their retinues of finance ministers and central bankers, will join 12 of their counterparts at the G20 summit in Toronto.

Later on this year, Obama is expected at the North American Leaders Summit in Canada, date still uncertain, and the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Vietnam, probably to be in October. There’s another G20 summit meeting in South Korea in November, followed by the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Japan. Then, the president will head home, do his laundry, and fly off to the NATO defense summit in Portugal. After that, a possible climate-change summit in Cancun, Mexico, awaits.

Each of these meetings seems to spawn another: one of the agreements at April’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington was to hold another Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea in 2012. No matter that some of the participants were less than enthusiastic. If the heads of important countries are having a summit, and if you think your country is important, you’ve got to be there.

Scenes from a G20 protest, Day Two

Quite a contrast to the previous day. The permitted march in Pittsburgh was peaceful on Friday.

Pepper-gassed in Pittsburgh

I got my second dose of G20 pepper gas right outside my hotel.

After a long day following protesters and reporting on their clashes with police, I was exhausted. But just as I switched off the light in my hotel room I could hear the tell-tale sound of a Long Range Acoustic Device.

The police had been using the LRAD’s high-pitched, piercing noise (along with “beanbag” projectiles and the good old-fashioned baton) all day. Sure enough, when I looked out the window I saw a few protesters had come to me for once, and were moving from Pitt University toward our hotel on Forbes Ave.

It was after midnight but I still went downstairs to check it out. I passed very few people on the street and a saw a couple of hundred students looking down from their dorm balcony, taking pictures. I wouldn’t describe them as protesters — it was just where they lived.

Instant View Video: The G20 communique

Reuters correspondent Emily Kaiser analyzes the G-20 draft communique.

Scenes from a G20 protest

Reuters reporter Michelle Nichols was on the scene for Thursday’s G20 protests. A note to the organizers of next year’s summit: You might want to lock up the dumpsters on wheels.

G20 live blog from Pittsburgh

Reuters will be live-blogging the G20 summit in Pittsburgh on Thursday and Friday. Our army of correspondents, equipped with Twitterberries and Flip cams, will be bringing you the latest on the economy, climate change and bank regulation.

Click on “Make a comment” below to leave us your thoughts on what the world leaders in Pittsburgh should accomplish. And visit our G20 page for full coverage of the event.

Video: Ain’t no stopping this G20 jobs protest

Protesters in Pittsburgh ahead of the G20 meeting this week harnessed the legendary power of McFadden & Whitehead as they called on global leaders to do more to create jobs for the unemployed.