09/03/2013 09:20 am ET Updated Nov 03, 2013

Will Obama Wield the Big Stick at the G20?

Never in the history of the G20 has the opportunity for true leadership presented itself as it does for President Obama at the upcoming Summit in St Petersburg. And never has the stage been so perfectly set for any leader's approval ratings to go through the roof, and justifiably so. To accomplish this, Obama needs only ask each of the countries in attendance to write a check for a hundred million bucks. This is the equivalent of what the US spends in about 30 minutes and would handily cover the 2 billion dollars the UNHCR is trying to raise.

Of infinitely lesser consequence is the stand-off between Obama and Putin since the August 21 chemical weapon attack in Damascus, because no matter which side of the argument you are on; the larger humanitarian issue is that of the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. In addition to providing food and potable water for these people, it would put an immediate stop to the legal sex trafficking that is going on, as wealthy men from the Arab countries troll the refugee camps; purchasing daughters and sisters as pleasure women in exchange for the price of bread to feed the family that sells them.

The world also needs to consider, except in the abstract, the fact that the government of Jordan could fall as an unintended consequence of having nearly a million refugees a few miles from Amman. Jordan faced a 21 billion dollar deficit before this crisis and cannot financially sustain this.

The lack of leadership in the world is staggering when one considers how swiftly the suffering, on such a massive scale, could be ended if just one leader stepped up on what is the most immediate crisis in the world; and one that is a win-win for everyone, no matter which side of the issue you are on. To that end, there is no reason President Putin could not display the power necessary to accomplish this, because it is leadership, more than money, that is needed here. What is the point of the 20 wealthiest countries meeting, if not to solve the biggest and most critical crisis especially when it can be solved? What is the point of having the power to lead if one fails to do so? History is waiting, and Mr. Obama, it is time for your close-up.