The G-20 summit has come and gone and Pittsburghers have been given back their city. Whether the world is a better place for this meeting of world leaders will take more time to evaluate but this can be said now: Pittsburgh can feel proud of itself.
Unlike previous strife-plagued summits in London and Seattle, the story line in Pittsburgh was first and foremost the summit, not the protests about it. The delegates were able to do uninterrupted what they came to do. That was the host city's first duty and it was met successfully.
Security was so tight and effective that visiting dignitaries might not have known that any trouble had occurred. The credit for this goes to the thousands of law enforcement and military personnel from federal, state, local and other visiting forces who kept the peace with only relatively minor disturbance.
Of course, a fortress city was only achieved at some cost, not just monetary but in terms of the spirit of the place. It would have been nice for this friendliest of cities to have greeted its visitors warmly at its usual workday strength -- nice, but impractical.
Sadly, for all the good-hearted protesters who sought only peaceful means to exert their constitutional right to dissent and make points worthy of respect, a smaller element evidently came just for the sport of raising hell, or so it can be inferred from the scattered acts of mindless vandalism that took place Thursday. That pointless behavior emphatically proved that the security precautions taken for this summit were not over-reactive, they were simply prudent.
Thanks for success go at last to the patient residents of Pittsburgh, who lent their city to the world in the hopes of a better world. They can revel now in the flattering headlines flowing in from all corners about a city that lived up to a president's faith and admiration.