Is Putin Triumphant? The Global Landscape Is Shifting In His Favour

Credits: Handout via Reuters

One month after the invasion, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, declared that this was not at all about Ukraine but rather the global system. “The unipolar world is unstoppably fading into history… A planet with several poles is developing.” In other words, a message that resonates in nations that have long been wary of American dominance is that the US is no longer the world’s policeman. The core alliance of the West may still be strong, but it has not succeeded in persuading many of the nations that refused to choose a side. During the past ten years, Moscow’s diplomatic efforts to forge alliances and shape a narrative have been successful, as reported by The Spectator.

Ukraine’s testament

In March last year, 25 African states out of 54 abstained or didn’t vote in a UN motion condemning the invasion, despite huge pressure from western powers.

Their refusal to side clearly with Ukraine was a testament to Russia’s ongoing diplomatic efforts in the developing world.

It had been ‘appropriate’ last year, she said, but to repeat it now ‘would make me appear quite simplistic and infantile’.

Then there are the North African countries, which have helped Russia offset the economic effect of western sanctions.

They don’t want equal cooperation, they want to rob us.’

UN Resolution 

As India’s former ambassador to Russia, Venkatesh Varma, put it last week: ‘We have not accepted the western framing of the conflict.

In fact there are very few takers for it in the Global South.’

But still India, along with China and South Africa, abstained from another UN resolution last week demanding Russia withdraw from Ukraine.

Of 193 members, 141 voted in favour and 32 abstained.

The idea that it’s America and its allies who are the sources of global disruption and instability holds sway.

The setbacks in Afghanistan and the idea that the Ukrainian war happened because of Nato’s expansion have fuelled a narrative, and even sympathy, for the idea that Putin is simply standing up to the West (which explains why North Korea has shipped artillery shells and Iran has provided kamikaze drones).

Racial discrimination

Putin’s Russia even audaciously claims the high ground on racial discrimination.

Russia thus neatly taps into western guilt at its colonial past, while pitching itself as the leading voice for what Lavrov calls ‘the international majority’. ‘

Over the long centuries of colonialism, diktat and hegemony,’ Putin said last week, the West ‘got used to being allowed everything, got used to spitting on the whole world.’

At the same time, the Russian President appeals to the world’s social conservatism.

Such talk goes down well among the planet’s more devout populations, which tend to regard LGBTQ debates as evidence of western depravity and decadence.

Its cultural propaganda is backed up by realpolitik and trade, with oil, gas, metals and crops used as diplomatic enticements to play Russia’s game.


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Source: The Spectator


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