The West’s fight is not the world’s fight

As Biden’s recent appearance at UNGA showed, the real global threat is the West’s belligerent mishandling of the war between Ukraine and Russia. This is their war, not ours.

Photo: U.S. President Joe Biden Wednesday addressed the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly and spoke on a range of issues, among them Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the threats of using nuclear weapons.

24 September 2022 |  Alex Lo | South China Morning Post

US President Joe Biden has condemned Russia as a threat to the world in his latest speech at the United Nations. Actually, Russia’s war in Ukraine is a threat to Europe and the United States-led Western alliance.

But the war is only a threat to the world because of the West’s mishandling of the crisis. Led by Washington, Western leaders insist that the struggle is between good and evil.

Therefore, there can be no compromise; only an unequivocal victory over Vladimir Putin will deter future tyranny. Anything short of that is appeasement with a modern-day Hitler, another Munich all over again.

Well, every leader of a major Western country has spoken to that effect. “If nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences,” Biden told the UN, the rules-based world order would crumble. “We will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression.”

But who are “we”? If by that, he means countries in the West and a handful of Asian allies, his claim may be justified. They represent only about 10 per cent of humanity, even if their political and media discourses dominate the global agenda, for better or worse – too often much worse, as in the case of Ukraine.

Even so, rising everyday costs mean many of their own citizens are having second thoughts.

Countries representing 90 per cent of humanity justifiably do not consider the war their fight, its continuation only resulting in economic fallouts that undermine people’s livelihoods and standards of living, if they live in higher-income countries, and joblessness, starvation and disease if they are unlucky enough to live in poor ones.

The West’s self-righteousness is worse than self-serving. It’s a sick joke to claim all right-thinking countries must stand with the West in the great fight against evil Russia.

Quite a few of those countries are themselves mired in war, civil war or otherwise long-standing but low-intensity conflicts. Unlike the 24/7 coverage of Ukraine and outpourings of help and sympathy for Ukrainian refugees, other victims with darker skins are mostly forgotten or ignored.

They don’t stand with the West; it’s absurd to claim Russia threatens them when their lives are already upended and threatened.

There can only be a negotiated settlement. Continuing the war will economically destroy Russia and physically wipe out Ukraine, and likely spill over into the rest of Europe. A cornered Putin and Russia will really be a threat to the world.

Alex Lo has been a Post columnist since 2012, covering major issues affecting Hong Kong and the rest of China. A journalist for 25 years, he has worked for various publications in Hong Kong and Toronto as a news reporter and editor. He has also lectured in journalism at the University of Hong Kong.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.