How the West Can Break out of Its Isolation
The overriding issue in the world today is whether the United States and Europe can be brought into the growing dynamic in favor of a new paradigm in international relations, together with a financial system oriented to real economic development and the general welfare. That dynamic is being spurred by the so-called Western powers themselves in their desperate efforts to impose their “rules-based order”, as they sink into economic decline and brute militarization.
In the tremendously dangerous conflict between NATO and Russia, and by extension China, more and more countries, including those in the Global South that are traditionally dependent on West, refuse to go along. The unprecedented sanctions against all things Russian have not only backfired on the nations imposing them, but are plunging poorer countries further into hunger and energy shortages – while having no effect on the military escalation they were purportedly meant to prevent in Ukraine.
India’s Foreign Minister, for one, castigated European leaders for attempting to force his great nation into submission, pointing out that Europe’s problems are not the world’s problems. The Chairman of the African Union, for another, braved Europe’s strong-arming by going to meet Vladimir Putin in Sochi, to negotiate for Africa the question of grain imports. Even the Summit of the Americas, hosted this year by the Biden Administration, nearly had to be cancelled due to the furor created by Washington’s unacceptable diktats (see below for further reports.) In Asia, outside of Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, no country is participating in the sanctions against Russia.
This reality led the Speaker of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, to point out on June 11, that the nations that oppose the sanctions are now reaching the point of surpassing the economic output and power of the G7. He chose a group of eight such countries, whose combined GDP (measured in purchasing power parity) is 24.4% larger than that of the G7. The eight he named are Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Iran, and Turkey.
In Europe and the United States as well, social unrest is building, albeit slowly. The populations have had enough of being told that Russia is responsible for the soaring prices of food and energy, when everyone knows the problem began many years ago. They are increasingly tired of hearing that media censorship needs to be imposed in order to counter subversive Russian propaganda and cyberattacks. They are more than skeptical that taking fewer showers will help defend freedom and Western values in Europe. And they can’t help but wonder where all the money is coming from to finance the unlimited quantities of weapons and military equipement sent to Ukraine, when no one knows where they actually end up — provided they are not immediately destroyed in the conflict.
The question now how is to organize that discontent into a force demanding a clear break with the neoliberal policy and win-win cooperation with Russia, China and the Global South. These issues will all be taken up at the Schiller Institute conference on June 18-19.