"Last Friday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese jetted off for a
marathon of international summits, the most significant of which will be the
G20, held in Bali.
Forged during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) – allegedly on Kevin
Rudd’s own initiative – the G20 brings together 20 of the world’s largest
economies, styling itself as the premier forum for international economic
While attention focuses on the annual leaders’ summit, much of the G20’s work
happens quietly behind the scenes, with economic ministers and officials
meeting throughout the year under a rotating presidency to address global
Yet, this is probably not why you’ve heard of the G20 recently. Rather, the
focus has been on Vladimir Putin. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Western leaders
have made it clear they would not accept sitting in the same room as Putin.
Yet, the host, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, has rejected calls to
disinvite Russia, offering a compromise by also inviting Volodymyr Zelensky,
even though Ukraine is not part of the G20.
Jokowi’s stance stems partially from the nature of the G20 – it’s not a “by
invitation” organisation – and partially to do with Indonesia. The country has
a proud history of geopolitical non-alignment, and its position is actually
closer to the rest of the Global South. While critical of the war, developing
countries don’t see it in such existential terms as the West, and have called
for a negotiated solution that would involve compromises on both sides.
Nevertheless, the fiasco over Putin has frustrated the Indonesians, who saw it
as ruining their big moment on the international stage. In the end, Putin
solved the problem by deciding to stay home, sending his Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov instead. Nevertheless, Lavrov is likely to get an icy reception.
Last time he met with his G20 counterparts, he walked out after facing
criticism over the war."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics