“The Global South Defies the West in Ukraine” by Alain Gresh (Le Monde Diplomatique)

Neutral country? Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabia, October 2019

Mikhail Svetlov Getty

Mes The war in Ukraine is, as U.S. President Joe Biden has called it, a global “battle between democracy and authoritarianism,” and almost all Western commentators and politicians share the same view. Yes? No, says American journalist Robert D. Kaplan. After all, Ukraine itself has been his case for years, a basket of weak, corrupt and institutionally underdeveloped democracies. Reporters Without Borders ranked him 97th out of 180 in its 2021 World Press Freedom Index. “This fight is for something broader and more fundamental: the right of people around the world to determine their future and to be free from naked attack,” Kaplan continued. (1)And he explicitly points out that many dictatorships are allies of the United States.

As the wartime stance hardens, dissent about Ukraine is rarely heard in the affluent north. But in the South, the so-called “rest of the world,” to which most of humanity belongs, people see the conflict quite differently. World Health Organization President Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus lamented that the world does not value the lives of blacks and whites, or the lives of Yemenis and Tiglayans as much as Ukrainians. (2)He drew the same conclusion during the Covid-19 crisis.

This is one of the reasons why many countries, especially in Africa, have abstained from UN resolutions on Ukraine. Not just dictatorships, but South Africa, Armenia, Mexico, Senegal, Brazil and India as well. (3)A small number of non-Western countries have adopted sanctions against Russia.

as Trita Parsi (Four)The Washington-based Quincy Institute’s executive vice president, responsible national technology think tank, said after the Doha Forum, a meeting of more than 2,000 international politicians, journalists and intellectuals, that 3 Later in the month, he noted that countries in the South were “generally sympathetic.” Concerned about the plight of the Ukrainian people, it sees Russia as an aggressor. But the West has demanded a costly sacrifice by severing economic ties with Russia in order to maintain a “rules-based order,” provoking an allergic reaction. The order is not rule-based. Instead, it allowed the United States to violate international law.

Why Saudi Arabia Supports ‘Neutrality’

The stance of Saudi Arabia, a major US ally, not joining the campaign against Russia and instead calling for bilateral negotiations is symbolic. A series of factors have contributed to its “neutrality”. In 2020, she said the launch of OPEC+ and Russia’s participation in negotiations on oil production quotas has resulted in fruitful cooperation between Russia and the Kingdom, with Russia calling the relationship “strategic.” even consider (Five) — definitely overly optimistic. Observers say Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin his Prince Salman attended an arms fair in Moscow in August 2021 and signed a military cooperation agreement that complements the country’s longstanding cooperation with Russia on civilian nuclear development. I pointed out that

Today we are witnessing the beginning of the transition to multipolar systems.The positions of some countries in this war do not seek to defend the principles of liberty and democracy, but rather to the interests of preserving the existing world order.

Al Riyadh

More broadly, Russia has become a key interlocutor in all regional crises and the only force that maintains an ongoing relationship with all participants. the Houthis and the United Arab Emirates (UAE); Turkey and Kurdish groups;

At the same time, relations between Riyadh and Washington have stalled. The dominant view of Saudi Arabia is its abandonment of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, its disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and its willingness to negotiate an Iranian nuclear deal without regard to reservations by regional allies. And even when their friend Donald Trump was still president, he faced Houthi drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities. The silence. And things have only gotten worse since the election of Joe Biden, who threatened to treat Saudi Arabia as a pariah after the October 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. ). Biden has also criticized the Saudi role in the war in Yemen.

These US positions resulted in no policy shift from the Democratic administration, other than Biden’s refusal to have direct contact with MBS. This hit me hard in Riyadh. When President Biden finally tried to contact his MBS, specifically asking the kingdom to increase oil production to offset the embargo on Russia, MBS refused to take his call. Rejected. wall street journal (6)Riyadh wonders why he took support for granted when he was last contacted.

The Saudi media is also critical of the United States.As an influential Saudi daily Al Riyadh “The old world order that emerged after World War II was bipolar. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it became unipolar. The position of some countries in the war is not about defending the principles of freedom and democracy, but about their interest in preserving the existing world order,” he added. (7).

“America’s Last Chance for Hegemony”

A similar position is widely shared in the Middle East, based on two sets of arguments. First, Russia is not the only one to blame for this war, a conflict between great powers for world hegemony, and it is not respect for international law that is at stake, and therefore it is the Arab world. means that it has nothing to do witheditorial Al Alam, The Egyptian government’s unofficial daily, another U.S. ally, describes a “broader conflict between the United States and the West on the one hand, and those who reject global hegemony on the other.” The United States is trying to realign the world order after realizing that in its current form it is failing to achieve its interests, but rather strengthening China at its own expense. The United States fears an imminent end to world domination and recognizes that the current conflict in Ukraine is its last chance to maintain this position. (8).

Another argument in the Arab media is that the West has double standards. democracy and freedom? War crime? People’s right to self-determination? Having bombed Serbia and Libya and invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, is the US best qualified to abide by international law? U.S. military crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq have been widely documented but never prosecuted. The destruction goes far beyond the current tragedy.

Should Vladimir Putin be sued in the International Criminal Court? Washington has yet to ratify the law.In one article, in 2003 economist Post-George W. Bush post-Invasion of Iraq cover, under the headline “Challenging Peace,” a recent cover showing Putin’s profile, a tank for brains, and the headline “Where Will He Stop?” (9).

Palestine has been fully occupied for decades (while Ukraine has only been partially occupied for a few weeks), and there are still open wounds in the Middle East. It does not inspire solidarity among Western governments who continue to give Israel latitude. Mohammad Kreishan writes: “The chants chanted at the demonstrations, the years and decades of the angry Palestinian people asking for help, being bombed in Gaza, living under invasion, murder, assassination and land threats. It is worth remembering the Declaration: Seizures and demolition of houses in the West Bank, which all international resolutions consider to be occupied territories.” (Ten).

President Zelensky’s appeal to the Knesset drew parallels between his country’s situation and that of Israel, which is “threatened to destruction,” infuriating many. But he did not get the expected support from Tel Aviv, still close to Moscow. (11)And finally, the discriminatory treatment given to white European refugees from Ukraine and to white refugees from the “rest of the world” – people of brown, black and mixed race – is suffering throughout the Middle East and South. It causes bitterness.

It can be argued that this is nothing new. Arab opinion and media have always been anti-Western. The pejoratively termed “Arab town” by European and North American governments carries little weight. After all, in the First Gulf War (1990-91), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Syria were drawn into the war with the United States against the will of their peoples. But in the case of Ukraine, these countries, even longtime US allies, are moving away from Washington — not just Saudi Arabia. UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on February 28, days after the Russian invasion, welcoming close ties between the two countries. did. Egypt also did not respond to his G7 ambassador’s non-diplomatic injunction to condemn Russia’s aggression. Even in Morocco, another of her loyal US allies, he conveniently missed the vote on Ukraine at the UN General Assembly on March 2.

At the same time, with tens of thousands of troops stationed in the Gulf, bases in Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE, and constant patrols of the 5th Fleet, the US remains a major player in the region and dangerous to ignore. maybe. or even antagonize it. In particular, unlike the Non-Aligned Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, when various Arab states, and more broadly the South, allied themselves with the socialists, the camp—but out of perceived self-interest. In Palmerston’s words, in the post-Cold War era, states no longer have permanent friends and sponsors, but fluctuating, deadlocked, time-limited allies. Will Russia’s setbacks and the sanctions imposed on them lead some of them to reconsider their indulgences in Moscow?

A multipolar world in chaos as old ideological divisions fade and Washington’s promise of a “new international order” created after the First Gulf War (1990-91) is abandoned in the sands of Iraq. appearing. It offers “the rest of the world” more room to maneuver. does not constitute a roadmap to “The Global South Defies the West in Ukraine” by Alain Gresh (Le Monde Diplomatique)

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