G-20 News

Balancing on a diplomatic tightening…

Indonesia’s geopolitical plate is piling up as the archipelago state prepares to host the G20 summit and associated gatherings in November, including Religion 20 (R20), a high-level meeting of leaders religion, the first under the auspices of the G20.اضافة اعلان

The challenges and opportunities for Indonesia are multiple and often unique. In June, Indonesian President Joko Widodo persuaded the leaders of the G7, which brings together Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the EU, to join the Bali summit of the G20, made up of the largest largest economies, even though Russian President Vladimir Putin is attending.

G7 leaders had threatened to boycott the summit if Putin was invited, in protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Even so, much can derail Widodo’s achievement in the months leading up to the summit, although he has, for now, prevented a G20 rift before leaders meet.

Pulling the G20 out of what could have been a devastating fiasco is just one of the traps Indonesia is trying to manipulate. Two months from the Bali summit and in a world mired in conflict, division and economic crisis, the Indonesian presidency of the G20 is far from out of the woods.

Insisting that Putin attend the summit helps Widodo maneuver Indonesia through the minefields of a world increasingly polarized by the rise of leaders who think in civilizational rather than national terms, and the power struggle to shape world order in the 21st century.

Yet in a potential preview of the summit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Bali in July when Russia came under fire for its war in Ukraine.

The rally ended without the traditional joint statement, president’s statement and/or group photo. He pointed to the fact that Indonesia may have to walk a diplomatic tightrope to prevent the November summit from fracturing the G20 beyond repair.

Lavrov’s walkout underscored the risks stemming from the power struggle and expansionist ambitions of civilizational leaders such as Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

They threaten to put a dent in Indonesia’s successful track record by drawing on the principles of a 1955 conference in the Indonesian city of Bandung that gave birth to the Non-Aligned Movement.

That hasn’t stopped Indonesia from rejecting Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, refusing China’s offer to negotiate maritime borders, and sometimes conducting military exercises just beyond China’s claimed waters. China while maintaining substantial economic relations with the People’s Republic.

However, Indonesia may increasingly find that non-alignment is no longer its best option, although that would not necessarily mean it would choose sides in the US-China divide.

What this means is that the G20 is an opportunity for Indonesia to present itself, through its keen sense of diplomacy, as an attractive target for much-needed foreign investment and a regional powerhouse that has long eluded radar.

Indonesian officials say the nature of ASEAN has enabled its 10 members, despite their different political and economic systems, to keep the once war-torn region from facing another chasm and finding ways to manage. or to resolve differences peacefully and tackle common problems.

Indonesia hopes in particular to leave its mark by organizing a summit of religious leaders which must precede the meeting of heads of government and state. The religious summit is expected to reshape the old G20 or IF20 Interfaith 20 track as Religion 20.

But even that is not without pitfalls. Organized by Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest Muslim civil society movement in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country and the first democracy in the Islamic world, in cooperation with the Indonesian government, the R20 appears at first sight to have considerably removed from the approach of IF20.

Unlike IF20, which was dominated by academics and activists, R20 aims to bring religious leaders together to globally position religion as a source of solutions rather than problems. It is a call that rings out from the most populous Muslim-majority country and democracy in the world.

At first glance, R20 presents an opportunity to energize the world’s major religious groups to come together around shared civilizational values ​​that would give religion a force for good that goes beyond lofty statements that are worth no more. than the paper on which they are written.

This is a daunting challenge given the role religious and identity groups play in perpetuating, rather than resolving, conflicts based on international law, justice and equity.

R20 organizers appear to have opted, at least for now, to co-host the summit with the Muslim World League rather than representatives of non-Muslim faith groups less beholden to a government.

The league is Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vehicle for securing soft religious power, helping to polish the kingdom’s tarnished image and propagating a socially liberal but autocratic interpretation of Islam that preaches absolute obedience to the ruler.

An R20 press release quoted the league’s general secretary, Mohammed Al-Issa, as saying that “working alongside Nahdlatul Ulama…will strengthen our mission.” This partnership with Nahdlatul Ulama will provide an excellent platform for dialogue that will amplify and expand the noble mission of the Muslim World League.”

Even so, R20 could underpin Widodo’s vision to apply the principles of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to the G20.

Indonesian officials say the nature of ASEAN has enabled its 10 members, despite their different political and economic systems, to keep the once war-torn region from facing another chasm and finding ways to manage. or to resolve differences peacefully and tackle common problems.

As with the religious summit, Indonesia faces a daunting challenge trying to pull a war-torn world out of the abyss in Ukraine as it seeks to maneuver the pitfalls of rising US-China tensions. on issues like Taiwan which, like Eastern Europe, could ignite a war with global fallout.

James M. Dorsey is an award-winning journalist and scholar, Associate Senior Researcher at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, and author of the syndicated column and blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.

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