Perhaps the reason George W. Bush did not know what the G20 was when he spoke with our leader Kevin Rudd was that the United States is not really very interested in it. Certainly the diplomatic talk in recent days is that the US wants a grouping with Japan, China and the European Union to be the really influential economic decision making body.
The Japanese newspaper The Mainichi Daily News had a lengthy piece this week discussing the origin back in 2005 of the American plans for a Group of Four. In that year the US, China and Japan met together before a meeting of the G7 and nutted out an agreement, which saw an appreciation of the Yuan.
Key to the US interest is the harsh truth that it is China and Japan, which together largely finance the huge US budget deficit. The European Union was tossed in to make up a quartet, much to the annoyance of major European nations who think they should be in the big-time in their own right.
The Mainichi Daily story says that in the upcoming summit with President Barack Obama, the new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is expected to not only confirm that the two countries should strengthen their bilateral alliance but also consider how Japan can serve as a go-between between the United States and China.