Boycott the G-20 if Putin leaves

“Welcome to Bali, Mr. President. Your dinner companion will be mass murderer and war criminal Vladimir Putin. “That will be the scene of the G20 meeting in Indonesia in October this year if we don’t act now.

“We do not own the G-20 and a forum for dialogue is important.” Sure, but G-20 meetings also confer status and respectability. With what Mr Putin has done and is doing in Ukraine, that should be unthinkable.

“You and President Obama attended the G-20 with Putin in 2014 and 2015, despite what he did in Ukraine and Syria.” Yes, we did – and the talks with Mr. Putin were more than pointless. He openly lied to us about everything from the fate of the Malaysian airliner to the presence of Russian troops in Donbass. In any case, what we have seen over the past month is on a new level: the all-out invasion of an independent, sovereign democracy with a brutality that rivals the atrocities of World War II. And we kicked Russia out of the Group of Eight in 2014 because of what Mr. Putin did at the time.

“A boycott by like-minded countries will not stop the G-20. It will only reduce our voice.” So we should start now. A pre-emptive announcement by the US and UK, preferably in concert with the European Union and its G-20 member states (Germany, France and Italy), would have a major impact. It’s hard to believe that Canada, Japan, South Korea or Australia would participate with Mr Putin still in place and continuing his war. That accounts for around two-thirds of the G-20’s gross domestic product and more than half of global GDP. Let’s direct our diplomats to get to work in Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

What happens or doesn’t happen at the G-20 will not change the world. But it could be an important signal. Our leaders must show that we are at war. In times like these, a prime minister or president has to reach into the machine and make sure everything that can be done is done.

There’s an old military adage: “Amateurs talk tactics, pros talk logistics.” Political leaders should also talk logistics. I would like a report on each weapon system supplied by each country and any potential shortages. There will be deadlocks, bureaucracy, delays and legal objections. I have seen time and time again that actions that should be taken will not be taken unless leaders intervene.

The sanctions have had an effect, but the ruble seems to be stabilizing. So tighten the screw. Are the exceptions to the Swift ban necessary? Which companies do not follow Coca-Cola?‘S

and mcdonalds‘S

lead to a complete divestment? Why do some countries have sanctions against some oligarchs and others don’t? Why not start with the proposal that all state-owned companies in Russia should be subject to sanctions? And where are the penalties for hitting scammers?

Russia’s oil and gas revenues have taken some hits and the cancellation of Nord Stream 2 is welcome if it’s overdue. But where is the plan to get all like-minded countries as close as possible to a total ban? Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rightly traveled to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to talk about the production. President Biden should do the same. Yes, this is a struggle between democracy and autocracy, but that shouldn’t determine who we talk to and who we don’t talk to. It’s also a desperate and time-sensitive struggle to stop evil from triumphing.

Finally, I believe our own public is willing to shoulder the burden. People can see the horrors on TV. The British public has shown that it will welcome refugees. I saw the remarkable solidarity across European countries as I helped drive a load of medical and other supplies to the Red Cross in Poland.

As this horrific war rages on and Ukrainian cities are reduced to rubble, the ultimate question for world leaders will be blunt and simple: Have you done everything you could to help? I’m afraid we still have a long way to go before we can say a full-bodied ‘yes’.

Mr Cameron was British Prime Minister from 2010 to 2016.

Wonderland: Vladimir Putin is a modern day Adolf Hitler and he is trying to exterminate the Ukrainian people. But while Europe tries to reform itself, the American President is not stepping in. Images: Reuters/AFP/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

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