Yves here. News junkies may have noticed the reports last week that the Munich Security Conference participation was increased to include more leaders of the so-called Global South than in past years. The intent was to sell then on the notion that Russia is a security threat and they should be concerned. Instead, US and NATO leaders got an earful about how they weren’t into the EU’s problems and all that money being spent on the Ukraine war, with no end in sight, could be much better spent on climate change and poverty.
This article shed more light on this perception gap.
By Krishen Mehta, a member of the Board of the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord (ACURA), and a Senior Global Justice Fellow at Yale University. Published by Globetrotter in partnership with ACURA
In October 2022, about eight months after the war in Ukraine started, the University of Cambridge in the UK harmonized surveys conducted in 137 countries about their attitudes towards the West and towards Russia and China.
The findings in the study, while not free of a margin of error, are robust enough to take seriously.
- For the 6.3 billion people who live outside of the West, 66 percent feel positively towards Russia and 70 percent feel positively towards China, and,
- Among the 66 percent who feel positively about Russia the breakdown is 75 percent in South Asia, 68 percent in Francophone Africa, and 62 percent in Southeast Asia.
- Public opinion of Russia remains positive in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, and Vietnam.
Sentiments of this nature have caused some ire, surprise, and even anger in the West. It is difficult for them to believe that two-thirds of the world’s population is not siding with the West.
What are some of the reasons or causes for this? I believe there are five reasons as explained in this brief essay.
1. The Global South does not believe that the West understands or empathizes with their problems.
India’s foreign minister, S. Jaishankar, summed it up succinctly in a recent interview: “Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems, but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems.” He is referring to the many challenges that developing countries face whether they relate to the aftermath of the pandemic, the high cost of debt service, the climate crisis that is ravaging their lives, the pain of poverty, food shortages, droughts, and high energy prices. The West has barely given lip service to the Global South on many of these problems. Yet the West is insisting that the Global South join it in sanctioning Russia.
The Covid pandemic is a perfect example—despite the Global South’s repeated pleas to share intellectual property on the vaccines, with the goal of saving lives, no Western nation was willing to do so. Africa remains to this day the most unvaccinated continent in the world. Africa had the capability to make the vaccines but without the intellectual property they could not do it.
But help did come from Russia, China, and India. Algeria launched a vaccination program in January 2021 after it received its first batch of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines. Egypt started vaccinations after it got China’s Sinopharm vaccine at about the same time. South Africa procured a million doses of AstraZeneca from the Serum Institute of India. In Argentina, Sputnik became the backbone of their vaccine program. All of this was happening while the West was using its financial resources to buy millions of doses in advance, and often destroying them when they became outdated. The message to the Global South was clear—your problems are your problems, they are not our problems.
2. History Matters: Who stood where during colonialism and after independence?
Many countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia view the war in Ukraine through a different lens than the West. Many of them see their former colonial powers regrouped as members of the Western alliance. The countries that have sanctioned Russia are either members of the European Union and NATO or the closest allies of the United States in the Asia Pacific region. By contrast, many countries in Asia, and almost all countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America have tried to remain on good terms with both Russia and the West, and to shun sanctions against Russia. Could it be because they remember their history at the receiving end of the West’s colonial policies, a trauma that they still live with but which the West has mostly forgotten.
Nelson Mandela often said that it was the Soviet Union’s support, both moral and material, that helped inspire Southern Africans to overthrow the Apartheid regime. It is because of this that Russia is still viewed in a favorable light by many African countries. And once Independence came for these countries, it was the Soviet Union that supported them even though it had limited resources itself. The Aswan Dam in Egypt which took 11 years to build, from 1960 to 1971, was designed by the Moscow based Hydro project Institute and financed in large part by the Soviet Union. The Bhilai Steel Plant in India, one of the first large infrastructure projects in a newly independent India, was set up by the USSR in 1959. Other countries also benefited from the support provided by the former Soviet Union, both political and economic, including Ghana, Mali, Sudan, Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Mozambique.
On February 18, 2023, at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the foreign minister of Uganda, Jeje Odongo, had this to say, “We were colonized and forgave those who colonized us. Now the colonizers are asking us to be enemies of Russia, who never colonized us. Is that fair? Not for us. Their enemies are their enemies. Our friends are our friends.”
Rightly or wrongly, present day Russia is seen by many countries in the Global South as an ideological successor to the former Soviet Union. These countries have a long memory that makes them view Russia in a somewhat different light. Given the history, can we blame them?
3. The war in Ukraine is seen by the Global South as mainly about the future of Europe rather than the future of the entire world.
The history of the Cold War has taught developing countries that getting embroiled in great power conflicts generates few benefits for them yet carries enormous risks. And they view the Ukraine proxy war as one that is more about the future of European security than the future of the entire world. Furthermore, the war is seen by the Global South as an expensive distraction from the most pressing issues that they are dealing with. These include higher fuel prices, food prices, higher debt service costs, and more inflation, all of which have become more aggravated because of the Western sanctions that have been imposed on Russia.
A recent survey published by Nature Energy states that up to 140 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty due to the higher energy prices that have come about over the past year.
Soaring energy prices not only directly impact energy bills, but they also lead to upward price pressures on all supply chains and consumer items, including food and other necessities. This hurts the developing countries even more than it hurts the West.
The West can sustain the war “as long as it takes” since they have the financial resources and the capital markets to do so. But the Global South does not have the same luxury. A war for the future of European security has the potential of devastating the security of the entire world.
The Global South is also alarmed that the West is not pursuing negotiations that could bring this war to an early end. There were missed opportunities in December 2021 when Russia proposed revised security treaties for Europe that could have prevented the war and which were rejected by the West. The peace negotiations of April 2022 in Istanbul were also rejected by the West in part to “weaken” Russia. And now the entire world is paying the price for an invasion that the Western media like to call “unprovoked” and which could have been avoided.
4. The world economy is no longer American dominated or Western led and the Global South does have other options.
Several countries in the Global South increasingly see their future tied to countries that are no longer in the Western sphere of influence. Whether this is their perception of how the power balance is shifting away from the West, or wishful thinking as part of their colonial legacy, let us look at some metrics that may be relevant.
The U.S. share of global output declined from 21 percent in 1991 to 15 percent in 2021, while China’s share rose from 4 percent to 19 percent during the same period. China is the largest trading partner for most of the world, and its GDP in purchasing power parity already exceeds that of the United States. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, India, and South Africa) had a combined GDP in 2021 of $42 trillion compared with $41 trillion in the G7. Their population of 3.2 billion is more than 4.5 times the combined population of the G7 countries, at 700 million.
The BRICS are not imposing sanctions on Russia nor supplying arms to the opposing side. While Russia is the biggest supplier of energy and foodgrains for the Global South, China remains the biggest supplier of financing and infrastructure projects to them through the Belt and Road Initiative. And now Russia and China are closer than ever before because of the war. What does it all mean for developing countries?
It means that when it comes to financing, food, energy, and infrastructure, the Global South must rely more on China and Russia more than on the West. The Global South is also seeing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization expanding, more countries wanting to join the BRICS, and many countries now trading in currencies that move them away from the dollar, the Euro, or the West. They also see a deindustrialization taking place in some countries in Europe because of higher energy costs, along with higher inflation. This makes quite apparent an economic vulnerability in the West that was not so evident before the war. With developing countries having an obligation to put the interests of their own citizens first, is it any wonder that they see their future tied more to countries that are not Western led or American dominated?
5. The “rule based international order” is lacking in credibility and is in decline.
The “rule based international order” is a concept that is seen by many countries in the Global South as one that has been conceived by the West and imposed unilaterally on other countries. Few if any non-Western countries ever signed on to this order. The South is not opposed to a rule-based order, but rather to the present content of these rules as conceived by the West.
But one must also ask, does the rule based international order apply even to the West?
For decades now, for many in the Global South, the West is seen to have had its way with the world without regard to anyone else’s views. Several countries were invaded at will, mostly without Security Council authorization. These include the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Under what “rules” were those countries attacked or devastated, and were those wars provoked or unprovoked? Julian Assange is languishing in prison, and Ed Snowden is in exile, for having the courage (or perhaps the audacity) to expose the truths behind these actions.
Sanctions imposed on over 40 countries by the West impose considerable hardship and suffering. Under what international law or “rules-based order” did the West use its economic strength to impose these sanctions? Why are the assets of Afghanistan still frozen in Western banks while the country is facing starvation and famine? Why is Venezuelan gold still held hostage in the UK while the people of Venezuela are living at subsistence levels? And if Sy Hersh’s expose is true, under what “rules-based order” did the West destroy the Nord Stream pipelines?
There appears to be a paradigm shift that is taking place away from a Western dominated world and into a more multipolar world. And the war in Ukraine has made more evident those differences or chasms that are part of this paradigm shift. Partly because of its own history, and partly because of the economic realities that are emerging, the Global South sees a multipolar world as a preferable outcome in which their voices are more likely to be heard.
President Kennedy ended his American University speech in 1963 with the following words: “We must do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless for its success. Confident and unafraid, we must labor on towards a strategy of peace.”
That strategy of peace was the challenge before us in 1963 and they remain a challenge for us today. And the voices for peace, including those of the Global South, need to be heard.
6. Western hypocricy about unblocking grain exports from the Black Sea to help avoid hunger and starvation in the global south. When Russia agreed to allow the grain to be exported, almost all has allegedly gone to feed livestock in Europe and to undercut European grain prices, as in Poland. Not much has gone to alleviate the supposed big concern of the west for famine in developing countries.
Not really true. Most of the grain was shipped to the Eastern Mediterranean or simply sold on the open market. No one said the Ukrainians with a busted economy had to donate it. And please do not forget the vast quantities stolen by Russia and resold for profit, along with the rape of women and teens, wholesale murder and the deliberate targeting of hospitals, schools and theatres. As to the Belt and Road project it has managed to bankrupt a good many recipients while allowing China to set up far flung bases. Wake up America.
So good to see Ukie hasbara being so lavishly slathered about this fine day. A bit of grotesque comedy always adds a special sauce, even if grossly over-seasoned and claggy as in the above example.
ROFLMAO, nazi lover you
Is Vicky Nuland in the room with you now?
It appears that you’ve confused Russian actions in eastern Ukraine with the actions of the AZOV Battalion over the last 7 years, in eastern Ukraine.
I have a few liberal friends who sound a lot like you. I do not question their sincerity, only their information. “It’s not what he don’t know; it’s what he know that ain’t so.”
“The unclear focus of the Ombudsman’s media work on the numerous details of ‘sexual crimes committed in an unnatural way’ and ‘rape of children’ in the occupied territories that could not be confirmed by evidence, only harmed Ukraine,” Mr. Frolov said in a Facebook post.
Sorry, that was not the basis of the grain deal.
Making Shit UP is a violation of written site Policies.
And Ukraine may not have formally committed to it, but it certainly carried on like the shipments were to go in large measure to poor countries:
These grains are globally traded commodities so Ukraine is a price taker. Selling so much to the EU was currying favor or bending to its owners’ dictates, not revenue maximization.
Have a nice life….elsewhere.
You are delusional.
Realistically, wheat grain would be used in livestock feed only when its price is lower than for grain fit to human consumption. I guess most of Ukrainian grain was of deficient quality.
Thank you, Yves.
Two years ago, a young civil servant of Pakistani origin was reprimanded for wearing a Palestinian wrist band. Now, civil servants and local government officials are being encouraged to wear Ukraine related symbols.
The only non Ukraine related fund raising on site is for earthquake relief and one offs only.
This explains why so many officials of immigrant background, but others, too, boycotted the minute’s silence for Ukraine.
It also explains why Catholic parishes and schools, other than in rural areas, have avoided too much involvement. The Catholic community in the United Kingdom is often of immigrant background. The community has also noted that the newcomers from the east ‘font bande a part’, possibly black sun worshippers.
That might sound like wild talk, but it is accurate.
The zelenzkykampf flags, hanging out of windows previously bearing BLM and TG+ ones, are looking rather ragged and washed out.
It’s like no-one else really cares.
Weirdest moment of last week, anti brexiters exceeding their outrage.
The irony of that group’s name is massive.
And i have long felt that the EU support is stratified by class, in both UK and elsewhere.
And mostly it boils down to how easily they can game the freedom of movement for personal benefit.
I am going to have to say that another major factor is that the Global South sees the leadership of the Collective West as certifiably insane. The west is absolutely obsessed with the Ukraine and their leadership are leading their own countries into being degraded economies for some form of “unity.” The Global South looks on as on the 1st anniversary of the invasion that western landmarks are lit up with the Ukrainian flag, they see the EU being de-industrialized, they watch as the west is actively demilitarizing itself, they hear the rants and demands that they too take part in this insanity and they figure why get tangled up in that? They receive visits from Lavrov who treats them as equals which Russia usually does with people of the Global South. And then they have to put up with the demands from Blinken, Power, Nuland or god forbid, Biden himself. And just now they have seen the Chinese offer up the groundwork for a peace proposal – only to have the US and the EU insult the Chinese for their efforts. The Collective West only doubles down and never reverses course. If I lived in a Global south country and looked at all this, I would want nothing to do with the Collective west or their institutions like the World bank and the IMF and look to the rising countries of Russia, China, India and Iran instead.
I’m Just going to add that the US in’t capable of sticking to an agreement.
When countries in the global south see how the US sells arms to other countries only to hold back spare parts and ammo when those countries don’t “behave” as the US wants, they understand that the US is a little kid who wants to take his bat and ball and go home if he doesn’t get to bat first. Why would they believe what the US says?
Iran, bankrupt and murderous under the fascist mullahs, is a “rising country”???
Unlikely as it may seem, indeed it is. Information from our media is less accurate that you hope.
I could not imagine that because of grasping some technologies, some “gifted by Obama” but reverse engineering requires many good brains, Iran is a militarily important partner for Russia. One under-appreciated issue in the West is that folks at “gas stations” can be mechanically inclined and more capable that they think.
The other issue is that actual fascists and those labelled “fascist” (Canadian truckers, Iranian clergy) are mostly very different. Ditto for “murderous”, e.g. hardly ever applied to allies in Latin America in their death squad years.
As a matter of fact, it is. It is a regional power which has developed its own indigenous production, has enormous energy reserves, strong science education, and a very favorable demographics. The US sanctions and the war in Iraq only made the mullahs stronger. Traditional US Gulf allies are making overtures to it, it has strong ties with Russia and China, and US aircraft carriers in the Gulf only exist at its forbearance.
That they have managed to keep those Shah era F-14s going should be indicator enough that they are no idiots.
According to the statistics, in Iran law enforcement kills ~36 people per 10 million citizen. In USA the number is ~33 per 10 million.
At least Iran has the excuse it’s run by fascist mullahs.
Hey, let’s not forget that Iran’s incarceration rate is lower than the lowest state’s incarceration rate too:
“If we imagine every state as an independent nation…every state appears extreme. 24 states would have the highest incarceration rate in the world — higher even than the United States. Massachusetts, the state with the lowest incarceration rate in the nation, would rank 17th in the world with an incarceration rate higher than Iran, Colombia, and all the founding NATO nations.”
From here (worth looking at the whole thing)
Your ignorance of Iran is understandable. You see Iran from the perspective of a group of fraudsters who have officially obtained money from Western taxpayers for a false struggle for democracy in Iran from your governments and show you false pictures of Iran. In fact, fighting with the Islamic Republic of Iran is considered a profitable and effortless business that your idiot statesmen pay for with enthusiasm.
Iran may be “bankrupt and murderous” and “fascist,” but, by several orders of magnitude, it is less so than the US (if you consider people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, etc., as human beings, and if you have any sense of the US national and international indebtedness). Be that as it may, labels don’t help, facts do. The article by Krishen Mehta is extremely helpful as it is fact-based.
“The Covid pandemic is a perfect example—despite the Global South’s repeated pleas to share intellectual property on the vaccines, with the goal of saving lives, no Western nation was willing to do so. Africa remains to this day the most unvaccinated continent in the world. Africa had the capability to make the vaccines but without the intellectual property they could not do it…”
No, the experimental shots aren’t the perfect example. The hype is relentless.
The jury is still out.
The Global South needs to start treating the West like the asset stripping, debt ridden dependents that they are.
“There appears to be a paradigm shift that is taking place away from a Western dominated world and into a more multipolar world…”
But the world needs to remember: neoliberalism doesn’t do multipolar. It’s essentially a form of globalist monoculture.
A corporatist monoculture.
It remains to be seen how multipolar the world can be apart from the global corporatist monoculture.
The news reports of the Global South complaints at the Munich Security Conference included lack of vaccine access. I neglected to include that in my overview, so this is not the author imposing blue narrative interpretations. Due to the hour I do not have time to look it up, but I am pretty sure some of the accounts included direct quotes on this matter.
I don’t want to make light of their complaint and the pandemic offered a time to highlight the issue. Agreed.
The Global South complaints cover a long period of time without access to sufficient amounts of drugs with proven, helpful track records.
At the time, with the original variants, they were told we have these great vaccines and you can’t have access to them.
Using hindsight to say the vaccines are not effective does not change the perception that was created at that time.
I would say that neocon ideology doesn’t do multi-polar. It seems to be a fundamentally solipsist worldview, until it crashes with reality.
Neoliberalism has always been quite flexible where global profits are concerned. Maybe too “flexible.”
Now we used “rules based order” to mean rules as defined by the hegemon, USA.
Western corporatists have always accomodated themselves to China’s and Russia’s systems.
“Western corporatists have always accomodated themselves to China’s and Russia’s systems…”
If that was the case, the West’s hair wouldn’t be on fire at the thought of Russia / China acting in their own interests.
I also see more assimilation on the part of Russia and China. It’s symbolized in more moden times with the suit and tie.
But being more accepting of variations of dress is one of the occasional, cutural-lite accommodations.
The overall challenging of the primacy of corporate interests remains taboo.
I read this (esp #5)…and i read the Chinese thing about American hegemony and its Perils…
and it comports with just about everything i’ve learned about my country since i started getting curious about various and sundry contradictions…beginning when i was in 5th grade and the Carter and Reagan debates were played on a newfangled VCR in math class.
the more i have learned, the worse it is.
i formed my opinion, that We are the Evil Empire, more than 30 years ago…and have seen nothing to change that opinion.
the rub is, one cannot say this in public in the USA….lest insane amounts of opprobrium and rabid tossing of ostraka ensue…or worse(i was strangled once, after answering the question,”what do you think of W?”, with “he should be brought before the Hague in chains…”).
near as i can tell, most Americans are totally unaware of the history of “our” behaviour around the world for the last 100 years….and even those who are somewhat aware….let alone those who otherwise hate “our” government….are all too easily brought back into the flag draped, frothing fold …by rhetoric, mostly….much of it stupidly easy to see right through, given the ability to remember things one day to the next…
the further contradictions indicated by this state of affairs is even more pointed….first amendment and free thought and free inquiry be damned…and free press? speaking truth to power?
but remember…”…’We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out….”
In the ‘magic kingdom’ of the 1950’s..SoCal
While on ‘main street’… it was kool to don the ‘Mickey mouse ears’…and no, they were not designed for youthful listening…(the 1952, Allais Paradox, decision theory…the rationality of the agent as person…was new.
A little further down that same Main Street was the Tommorrow-Land exhibit, that odd building with 4 opposing wings…with plenty of air between them and the earth. One had to be there…standing just four feet tall, and looking up.
And increasingly it seems like DC still think it is living in that “magic era” of the 50s…
Oddly enough, I was in the UK when W was governing (and commiting his various war crimes). The Brits were very sympathetic when they asked me what I thought of him. I said I was very, very sorry and apologized to everyone in the world for U.S. voters.
They also thought my American accent was cute…a switch on Brits coming to the U.S.
This is an excellent summation of the state of global politics. It’s in this context that we should judge the Chinese peace framework and Putin’s cautiously legalistic approach to both the war and acceptance of the four oblasts into Russia. For that matter this is the context in which to examine the Sino-Russian statement of 2021 and the request for formalizing European security from the Russian side.
China’s peace “plan” starts with the issue of territorial integrity which appears to work against Russia until we consider the international law case Russia built in recognizing the LDNR, defending it and accepting the four oblasts into Russia. But of course the peace framework was going to be rejected out of hand, that was known before it was issued. Likely the rejection was the point because it shows China and Russia trying to do things the way almost everyone thinks is the right way to do things. And that serves to highlight western hypocrisy and belligerence.
Slowly, slowly until all at once the movement is to isolate and undermine the US. For myriad reasons US leadership keeps walking right into the traps laid down. The rest of the world watches, not learning so much as being provided clear examples of what it already knew.
The most egregious mistake of the US is the way it dismisses these formal proposals. If Russia or China are untrustworthy and will break agreements, the right way to manage them is to get them to sign agreements which they’ll break to exemplify that they’re untrustworthy. If they even consent to the agreements in reality. Russia and China are doing it to the US and the US keeps being the party unwilling to consent to agreements or even consider them.
It seems to me that beginning with Putin at Munich in ’07, there has been a multipolar effort to deal with the U. S. as if to conduct an intervention Thinking of that time, it’s easy to see why sensible people around the globe might think the U. S. was losing it. Things proceeded along those lines until the beginning of the SMO. By then, all hope of a successful intervention was gone. It was time to begin to make the case for commitment.
Things are going better than expected.
If western leaders cannot comprehend this point of view, they really need to get out more. Get out, that is, of the blinkers that restrict the world to only what they choose to see. Biden, for example, has been a creature of the DC Bubble and Echo Chamber his entire adult life. Q.E.D.
I think point 5 is being kind to the West, particularly America even though Europe usually follows in lockstep. How many elections has the US denied because they didn’t like the results. How many times can we declare a “real” President or other officer to be the only leader we will deal with? Hell, how often can we be the moving force behind a coup before the citizens and the people they chose to look after their interests get that America doesn’t give a damn about what is best the people of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Cuba….Peru…Venezuela? Fill in the blanks. In one of the latest, our CIA asset Ambassador didn’t even keep their planning meetings covert. Our military leadership doesn’t even phrase their contention that arms in Latin America be sent to Ukraine as a suggestion, they made it an order. Something that ignores that they have no say or jurisdiction in the area. And when a country did try using the rule of law our courts ignore it and, as they do with the unimportant citizens of the US, give the oligarch the win despite the very clear facts that would call for the opposite.
With great respect to Calvin and Hobbes, with the US Rule of Law and International Order are possibly the biggest examples ever of Calvinball. The West is shocked that these lesser countries have 1) recognized that, and 2) either aren’t frightened enough or no longer see any point in going along.
(On a side note, this failure will not be because our leadership are idiots and wouldn’t no a winning foreign policy if it jumped up and bit them in the face, no it will be because they weren’t allowed full control in time…ignoring of course the disasters of the last thirty years they were behind.)
There are two groups of foreign policy types in the West: orientalists and Borrell types. Scholz plea to India is an offer to let India buy subs in exchange for giving up the cheap energy being supplied by Russia. The plan is Modi will be impressed by Scholz going “mighty white of you” and not projects worth trillions in the long run.
Biden is asking South America to hand over weapons as if he wasn’t part of the Libyan escapades. It’s not lost on anyone Gaddafi disarmed and was knocked over at the first opportunity. Biden can’t conceive of people as smart as he is, and he’s already a moron.
Thing is that that kind of bargaining with India has worked in the past.
One example i found while looking into the Natural Gas plight of Pakistan was that Iran had long been trying to get a pipeline built, but that they wanted to include India in the plan. But every time India shows interest, in wanders USA with a counter-proposal.
End result is that even Pakistan is right next door to a massive NG source, they rely on LNG tankers to keep the nation going. Tankers that were diverted last year because Europe outbid them.
As for South America, i suspect most left leaning leaders there are very conscious of the cold war era and the School of Americas. With Chile being the poster boy.
Good observations, one should add that both Indians and Pakistanis regret “that kind of bargaining has worked in the past.” These “bargains” do not look good in retrospect.
When the issues do not touch local (as opposed to global) animosities, people of The South are rather cool headed and cynical. And while bargains of yesteryears were disappointing, what West proposes now is much worse if you calculate in financial equivalents of oil barrels or tons of fertilizer, and qualitative utility: discounted oil and assured fertilizers vs submarines? Once India shifted the balanced of its position, the dam broke: the West cannot sanction all of the South.
Cleaning up after a water leak and final repairs of the damage. Had to take a break and catch up. This line made my day:
“Biden can’t conceive of people as smart as he is, and he’s already a moron.”
Sharp edge, but to the point.
Thank you, NTG!
Anyway, they don’t hate us for who we are. They do not trust us because of what we do. Over, over, and over. Simple, really.
“…the US has undertaken almost 400 [unprovoked] military interventions since 1776, with half of these operations undertaken between 1950 and 2019. Over 25% of them have occurred in the post-Cold War period.”
Introducing the Military Intervention Project: A New Dataset on US Military Interventions, 1776–2019
1. Having our resources plundered and then those doing the plundering turning around and mocking us for our poverty and lack of sophistication might have something to do with it.
2. The window of opportunity for countries in the global south to start the trek towards reclaiming their sovereignty is open, and many aren’t asking questions before jumping through it. For the imperial yoke of tyranny to be broken, opportunities have to be acted on immediately.
3. The hypocrisy of the west and the fact that they aren’t even pretending to be the apex practitioners of the “values” they espouse has triggered the gag reflex in those who’ve had these faux values rammed down their throats. These values are used as aircover to attack and destroy other countries, spreading western values one bomb, one economic sanction at a time. The bill for this is now coming due.
4. The incompetence and hubris that is endemic in the political class in the west means these people are stuck in a creative rut, they have no solutions to offer to the problems confronting the world, they instead dig in and preach ever louder from their bully pulpits to cover over their deficiencies.
The global south is tired of the west being an omnipresent meddling party in its affairs.
Amen. I agree with all you’ve written. I will only add one point: the continuing unwillingness of the West to acknowledge the Global South’s possession of an agency is hardly helping the West’s case.
I was reading through these and many of these apply also to large swaths of Americans, too: many people in the flyover country and inner cities/barrios would have much the same thing about our “leaders.”
Excellent post + comments.
It seems Tony Blair is worried by former colonies daring to have their own opinion: https://english.almayadeen.net/news/politics/tony-blair-says-west-should-open-new-front-against-russia-in
For dog’s sake, the West deserves to lose its influence given its past behavior.
> Africa had the capability to make the vaccines but without the intellectual property they could not do it.
This is the most absurd part of the modern world.
We have the capacity to solve so many problems, except for the leeches in logistics and patents.
It’s equal parts cruelty and absurdity.
The fact that apparently no Western leader has realized that the West has now lost forever the Global South is an indictment of the abject stupidity and short-sighted greed of our leaders. Considering the huge amount of soft power the West, specially the US, had just a few years ago, this is quite an astounding achievement.
If you listen to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell Fontelles, he does seem to know EU has lost the “jungle” and that the “jungle” is coming to destroy his beautiful EU “garden” if we’re not vigilant and destroy them first.
The Turanian hordes are coming, the hordes are coming!
LOL. Did you know that, according to a certain branch of the 19th century “racial sciences”, Russians are not Slavs but Turanian Finno-Mongols? The hordes are coming!
What is lost here is that America has become an oligarchy steered by the insatiable greed of a rapacious few.
Over the past few months I have driven 1600 miles of I-5 and US-101 along the corridor of the former Pacific Coast Highway. Everywhere I travel I have seen the bidonvilles and tent cities of the hundreds of thousands of Americans “unemployed,”“unhoused,” and “addicted” by globalization and the privatization and looting of the American commons.
I am firmly convinced that the way that American workers have rolled-over and accepted their re-classification as unworthy “deplorables” is one of the drivers of the arrogance of our self-anointed American oligarchs toward the rest of the world.
This is one of the things that astonishes me about America — the degree to which it discards its own people on its capacious ash-heaps while wasting so much time, effort and material on useless foreign adventures.
Do they think the world is blind to their hypocrisy of America’s (mis)leadership?
Here, here…I live in your driving range, yes I can attest to this. Rural, yes, 42N, 123 W; the newest camp just pitched army wall tents, complete with wood fired stoves. Remind me, in 2020 the Almeda Fire burned about 2k homes, my town. The fire scar is the newest place of expansion. Sad but true.
FYI, for Yves and others – in case you have not seen, please check the interview by S. Jaishankar, with Smita Prakash of ANI. There is a podcast available on Youtube.
Many interesting points there, including about his father and the Nehru-Gandhi family.
One item should be of interest — he alleges UK and US interference in Indian election of 2024 has started.
“I don’t know if the election season has started in India, Delhi or not, but, for sure it has started in London, New York.”
So, not sure how effective any US pressure on India to change position with respect to Russia will be. Also, I think “foreign interference in elections” could be turned against US, UK, etc.
This seems to put on display the extreme solipsism of the EU/US mindset. As this wonderful article explains, this was revealed by the pandemic response. An “aha” moment came to me when this fundamental indifference toward the Global South was connected to the history of colonialism. The EU just doesn’t “see” them at all. To use the terminology of Martin Buber, the EU has always had a one-sided “I-It” relationship with the Global South, not mutual “I-Thou”.
IMHO, the fundamental autonomy, humanity and “other mindedness” of the Global South are invisible to the EU/US, because all it can see is its resources. In one aspect of philosophy this is called the problem of other minds. In essence, it is a problem of epistemology: how do I know (or how can I justify the belief) that other beings exist who have thoughts, feelings and other mental attributes? And, one might add, fundamental rights that must be taken into account?
The sabotage of Nordstream II is another example of extreme solipsism, in my view. It is a dangerous mindset of neocon ideology, i.e. “my way or the highway” because “I am” and “you are not.” Whereas, arguably, neoliberalism historically seemed open to accomodation to (and understanding of) fundamentally different autocratic capitalisms and nationalisms like Russia’s and China’s, if only provisionally, in the name of profit. But at least profit was a motive for world peace. Henry Kissinger and Willy Brandt in the ’70’s promoted “Ostpolitik” because mutual economic dependency were considered a path to peace.
I can understand how the EU could be so blind, given its colonialist history. But both major US Parties seem to have become blinded as well. That leaves the question of how the roots of this blindness could be connected to US history. Of course the US has a long history of use of African people (slaves) for profit (both North and South). So maybe neocon ideology has its roots in this history. Perhaps the history of US righteous manifest destiny, which has Biblical roots. We can see this kind of thinking in modern day Israel as well. Israel cannot “see” the Palestinians at all, it would seem, except to the extent that they are in the way.
I suspect a history other than American Manifest Destiny or Christian Fundamentalism is in play. At the risk of being accused of anti-semitism (which I categorically condemn) I must note that neocon foreign policy was formulated by refugees from Central Europe and their descendants, whose world-view was substantially formed by the traumas of the Bolshevik terror, the Holocaust, and the Soviet occupation of Mitteleuropa.
I find that neocons have taken the concept of “Never Again” and twisted it into the all-American adage of “The best defense is a good offense” — fundamentally failing to understand that the victims of these tragedies had little choice in the matter; only the perpetrators could exercise free will.
The neocons have ignored the lesson I take from the suffering widely inflicted during the 20th century: A truly unselfish person must have the strength of character to choose never to be a perpetrator — even if one’s own death is the consequence. Unfortunately, selfishness is the core principle of American Reaganite/Clintonite neoliberalism — which reveals itself as nothing less than a justification for bullying and greed.
Good points. This would imply that the neocon mindset, rooted in the traumas of central Europe in the last century, is not an organic expression of the US historical experience. If so, our aggressive policy toward Russia and China would seem to have little deep resonance in this country. We’ll send defensive arms to Ukraine and Taiwan but not troops or offensive weapons. The neocons want the U.S. to cast prudence aside and go for broke. The U.S. has not been traumatized enough by direct experience of war to think that way. This makes the level of long term commitment needed to “win” in Ukraine and Taiwan politically difficult if not impossible, just as it was in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam.
An interesting perspective:
The Pervasive Power of the Settler Mindset
More than simple racism or discrimination, the destructive premise at the core of the American settler narrative is that freedom is built upon violent elimination.
Thanks for that link. Yes, the settler mindset could explain a lot about how this country has arrived at this point. If so, it’s a mindset that may be universal around the globe. All present peoples occupy the space they happen to live in because they’ve displaced (coercively and probably violently) earlier occupiers of that space, in an epochal regress.
In Southern Oregon, where I live, the nearby public University starts every public event with an acknowledgement that the area’s Native American tribes were the Shasta, Klamath,
Modoc, Yurok and Hupa tribes, forcibly removed after the Rogue River War of 1855-56. We’re all where we are because of a theft. It cannot be reversed. Perhaps we are still seeking expansion via theft, because that’s what we do and have always done? We just can’t help ourselves?
Or is it an expansionary compulsion of late capitalism? The thing is, we can’t seek space (Liebensraum) where the present occupiers have nukes (Russia, China) so we are wasting our time lusting after them, it would seem. This is why so many other countries want their own nukes. It’s the only way to guarantee the sanctity of their borders.
The US/EU/NATO is obviously rebuilding the colonial world where they can intervene anywhere because “human rights”, “WMD” or whatever, cause untold chaos and face no consequences at all.
I doubt endless propaganda in the NYT, FT, CNN etc will convince the global south about the piety of the West.
It is the west that has neo CONned all the institutions to its benefit. That is why there is little respect for these .
The west is heading towards a sort of mad woke totalitarianism where there is no scope for anything except the establishment line, which it is also trying to foist on the developing countries, via OGAs and their mini-me versions like the Open Society taking over media, academia and judiciary.
What if, for example, the 90% of 66% could not locate the borders of Russia and Ukraine and borders of their village and country on the map? What are they opining about? :)
The challenge might be that we ceased to have instruments of communication.
In addition most of us (over 90%) are having deficit of alert and deficit of attention due the fact we are biologically limited in terms of processing and retention and at the same time we have continuing floods of information.
Will this have promising future? Yes, for some of you.