CAMBRIDGE – South Korea has an historic opportunity when it chairs the G-20 meeting in Seoul on November 11-12, for this will be the first time that a non-G-7 country has hosted the G-20 since the larger body supplanted the G-7 as the steering committee of the world economy. But there is a danger that the G-20 will now prove too unwieldy.
South Korea justifiably views its role as host as another opportunity to mark its arrival on the world stage. But it should make more of its opportunity than this, and instead exercise substantive leadership. Otherwise, its turn at the G-20’s helm risks resembling the chaotic Czech presidency of the European Union in 2009, which confirmed some larger EU members’ belief that it is a mistake to let smaller countries do the driving.