The U.S.-led drive to isolate Russia and China is falling short

Comprising nations that account for some 85% of global economic output, the G-20 is supposed to be more reflective of the world. Yet only half its number has joined the international sanctions imposed on fellow member Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Senior officials from the smaller group of wealthy nations have been traveling the world to make the case for a tougher economic net around Russia. They’ve been surprised by the lack of sign-on from G-20 states, even if those countries aren’t going out of their way to help Moscow circumvent the penalties.

It’s an uncomfortable reality confronting Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his extended tour of Southeast Asia and Africa: Much of the world isn’t ready to follow US and European efforts to isolate President Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

That makes agreement on global initiatives such as a cap on Russian oil prices as proposed by the G-7 even more challenging, while emboldening Putin and his key supporter, Chinese President Xi Jinping, in pursuing their respective global agendas.