July 2nd, 2010
02:32 AM ET

Is a billion-dollar summit worth it?

Washington (CNN) - Like Dr. Evil learned in the Austin Powers movies, a billion dollars isn't quite what it used to be.

This weekend's G8 and G-20 summits are expected to top $1 billion in costs. At such a large price tag, it's reasonable to ask if the meetings are worth it. But according to former top White House aides, even with the hefty price the meetings more than pay for themselves in both tangible and intangible ways.

According to David Gergen, who worked for five presidents and has participated in several of these summits, the world has already seen a return on the current $1 billion investment.

"The G-20 meeting is expensive, but it has already paid for itself because China announced a strengthening of its currency, which is good for the United States and for many other countries," Gergen said. "China only announced it was going to revalue its currency upward because the G-20 was going to occur."

The summits also offer an opportunity for leaders to meet face to face, giving them a chance to build relationships and sometimes change first impressions.

"President Reagan's first G8 was in Canada, and at that time he was sort of seen as a cowboy by much of the world," Gergen recounted.

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Topics: President Obama • The News • White House