The economy may become President Barack Obama's Iraq War. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, faced plummeting poll numbers as the American public, anxious for victory, grew fatigued as Bush strategies (some successful, some not) failed to provide resolution.

Americans agreed we need security; we disagreed on the necessity of an invasion of Iraq. Americans agreed we need economic recovery; we disagree on whether it requires trillions of dollars of spending, taxes, and debt.

By ordering the termination of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner, or threatening massive targeted tax increases at AIG employees whose contracts provided for bonuses, Obama and the Democrats show every ounce of cowboy arrogance they accused of Bush and Republicans on foreign policy.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner informed Congress last week, "We will work with the Europeans, we cannot move alone," but he said "We cannot wait for consensus with the rest of the world." Geithner's unilateral economic policy was exactly what the Obama campaign criticized Bush's foreign policy for embracing.

But Obama's global economic policy - like Bush's foreign policy - is not truly unilateral. In addition to a number of smaller nations who turn to America's leadership, our long stalwart friend Great Britain remains by our side.

But for all the political damage done to Tony Blair's Labour Party by Bush, Obama inflicts comparable harm on Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The British Conservative party has told Brown "you have run out of our money" and he faces opposition from the Bank of England Governor, as well as a lack of demand for the purchase of U.K. government bonds to finance his growing debt.

As Britain hosts Obama and other leaders of the Group of 20 industrialized nations this week, both Brown and Obama have had to back off their original goals of increased global stimulus spending as European and Asian leaders rejected those proposals before they even arrived.

German finance minister Peer Steinbruck called Brown's U.K. stimulus, "crass Keynesianism." German Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaimed, "I will not let anyone tell me that we must spend more money." Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said it was "never the intention" of the G20 to create additional global stimulus. France and the Czech Republic agree.

James Surowiecki, financial writer for The New Yorker warns a global stimulus package should be viewed in context of European economic history. He notes in the U.S. the Great Depression is "the episode that haunts" us, but in Europe, the defining economic disaster was the hyperinflation of the German Weimar Republic. The U.S. pressures the Federal Reserve to fight inflation and to promote employment. The European Central Bank's only concern is inflation.

So focused are the Europeans on inflation, notes Surowiecki, that if an European Union member state "has a deficit of greater than three percent of G.D.P., it's subject to disciplinary action." By those standards, the U.S., with its 5.5 percent deficit spending to GDP would not even quality to join the E.U., whose average deficit is 1.5 percent.

"For Germany, fiscal rectitude even in the face of a crisis is not just economically sensible but morally correct," writes Surowiecki. He continues, "European policy makers seem willing to weather this outcome in exchange for stability." Meanwhile American leadership indulges in spending vice, willing to trade future stability for immediate gratification.

Ronald Roosdorp, Private Secretary to the Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, addressed this "Atlantic rift" between the U.S. and E.U. at a Stennis Institute forum last week in Jackson, sponsored by the Mississippi World Trade Center and the Adams & Reese law firm. (He spoke with his own opinions, not as a representative of the Dutch government.)

First, Roosdorp noted a rejection of increased spending results from a group of welfare states in which as people lose their jobs and move onto social welfare programs, the governments pay more in welfare benefits: an automatic government stimulus package.

Second, he said Europe is saying to America, in the words of Ronald Reagan, "Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." Europe is urging America to look at market based initiatives.

Third, Roosdorp revealed Europe benefits from stimulus leakages. As the U.S. pumps billions of dollars into the economy, an impactful amount enters the global economy to benefit other nations.

Finally, he said Europe blames the U.S. and our sub-prime mortgages as the cause of this financial recession and expects the U.S. to solve the problem we created.

Roosdorp believes because the U.S. economy is more flexible, diverse, and dependent on entrepreneurship, that our economy will recover before that of Europe. If Obama hopes to maintain Democratic political power in Washington DC, he should hope Roosdorp is correct. Or, he could listen to the European and remember America's greatest economic engines are our workers and people, not our government and spending.

Brian Perry of Jackson, a former congressional aide, is a partner in a public affairs firm. Reach him at reasonablyright@brianperry.ms.