When the Economy Takes the Back Seat – and That Is Good

The G20 summit is just coming to a close, the world leaders are leaving the heat of Brisbane and returning to their (mostly) colder home countries. One central aspect of this summit that partially became a mere side story was that the G20 is actually meant to be all about the economy. How much a two day meeting of the leaders of the most wealthy and powerful countries can actually change with regards to how the global economy will develop is obviously up for discussion. The economic policy outcome of this summit is surely underwhelming and neither very innovative nor undisputed.

On the other hand, the economy did not seem to be the most important issue for this summit anyway. While Mr Abbott did forgo his plan to ‘shirtfront’ Russian President Vladimir Putin and instead played the host, many of the other world leaders took the chance to confront Putin over his actions in the Ukraine. For Angela Merkel, David Cameron and Barack Obama, amongst others, Putin has overstepped too many lines.

Putin confronted over MH17 and Ukraine

Not living up to the Russian responsibility for the MH17 disaster, backing up the anti-Ukrainian separatists and even sending ‘aid’ and soldiers into a foreign country is unacceptable behaviour in a post-Cold War century. While I doubt that the personal pressure from these leaders will make Putin change his course, the fact that he couldn’t wait to leave Brisbane and remove himself from these confrontations does hint that at least his macho-selfesteem is partially an act.


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