MOSCOW, 19 april 2022, RUSSTRAT Institute.
In the previous materials of RUSSTRAT, even before Russia launched a special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine, it was pointed out that we are witnessing a historical moment – a change in the current world order. However, the events that took place after February 24 indicate that even more serious civilisational changes are taking place in the world.
To begin with, it should be said that a change in the world order has been brewing for a long time, and the countries of the West no longer have the economic and military power that they had after the collapse of the USSR. Many people are tired of the West’s dictates, but only Russia has dared to challenge them.
This trend can be traced back to the statement of Turkish President Recep Erdogan in October 2021, in the Angolan parliament, where he said that the fate of humanity should not be “left to the mercy of a handful” of countries that won the Second World War. In his opinion, the immutability of the global security architecture is unthinkable against the background of how the world is changing and diplomacy, trade, and international relations are radically changing. Erdogan pointed out that “the world is bigger than five”, meaning the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
In Russia’s actions, many countries already see a chance to change the current “Western” paradigm of development and seize the opportunity to determine their future independently, or at least determine it on an equal basis with others.
When the UN General Assembly voted on March 2 on a resolution demanding that Russia stop the special operation in Ukraine and withdraw its troops, 141 states voted “for”, and 5 “against”: Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea. 35 countries abstained, including China, India, Cuba, Central Asia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, South Africa and others, which in total accounts for 65% of the world’s population.
Although China at the diplomatic level adheres to a neutral assessment of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, however, the situation on the fronts is presented in the media with sympathy for the Russian side, and the majority of the Chinese population shares Russia’s position.
Even in India, which is a member of the QUAD alliance (Australia, India, USA, Japan), a survey conducted by the British sociological company YouGov showed that 40% of Indians approve of Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Sociologists from the Economist Intelligence Unit estimate that about 32% of the world’s population living in 28 countries share Russia’s position on Ukraine. In addition to China and India, a significant number of residents support Russia’s actions in countries such as Pakistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Syria.
According to Indian publications, in many countries of the Middle East, Western concerns about Ukrainian sovereignty are considered hypocritical against the background of the war in Iraq and the NATO bombing of Libya in 2011. When the Iraqi representative to the UN abstained from voting on a resolution condemning the Russian foreign policy, he referred to the “historical context”. Many residents of Iraq, having anti-American sentiments, do not feel sorry for Ukraine at all, seeing it as a puppet of the United States, with which Russia is fighting.
Muslims from different countries support this indirect war between Russia and the United States, seeing it as a fight against the anti-Islamic world and, not least, due to the fact that Muslims are fighting in the Russian army. Even in Indonesia, they are closely following the success of Chechen units, which glorify the Muslim Almighty in every video.
Saudi television recently showed a parody of US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, which mocked the incapacity of the American president. This episode would not have been worth the attention if the central Australian news channel Sky News had not rebroadcast this parody to its audience in Southeast Asia. Now this video has about 4.5 million views.
The Wall Street Journal, in its article “Anti-Russia Alliance Is Missing a Big Bloc: The Developing World”, quotes former US Ambassador to Panama John Feeley in light of anti-Russian actions: “One of the consequences is that the Biden administration once again recognises that our real friends, our real fellow travellers, are in Europe and North Asia”.
Weak efforts by Western countries to finance the fight against climate change in third world countries, as well as the uneven distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, led to the strengthening of the “non-aligned movement”, the so-called association of states that adhered to neutrality during the Cold War.
“Over the past two years, I have observed a fundamental trend at the UN, which is that many countries in the global south are increasingly coordinating their actions by criticising the West,” says Richard Gowan of the International Crisis Group.
The biased obsession of Western countries with the current conflict in Ukraine, which does not directly affect most countries of the world, is becoming obvious to everyone. Against this background, the significance of conflicts and human rights violations in other countries is clearly downplayed.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, speaking at the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva, said: “I am not sure that the world really takes an equal interest in the lives of blacks and whites, as I said last week. Yes, of course, all this attention to Ukraine is very important, as these events affect the whole world, but even a small part of such attention is not paid to Tigray, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and other places.”
Pope Francis noted that all doors are open to Ukrainian refugees, and refugees from Africa and Asia are discriminated against and are not allowed to enter the EU. “In dividing migrants and refugees into class A and class B – we are racists. This is bad. The refugee problem is a problem that Jesus also suffered from. His family also migrated and fled to Egypt to avoid death,” the Pope said.
All this duplicity is so obvious that even the “Washington Post” published an article on a similar topic: “NATO was founded to protect ‘civilised’ people. That means White.”
In four points of argument, the author writes that NATO was created out of fear of the spread of communism, which, in their understanding, threatened the freedom of white Europeans. The NATO alliance defended and even financed European colonialism, and the Slavs were long considered “not fully white”.
The author points out how the Western media emphasised that the invasion of Ukraine is especially terrible because it is not Iraq or Afghanistan, but a European, civilised state. He believes that in this way the media showed that only belonging to one race determines whether a person deserves well-being, protection, freedom and humanism.
The article states that “Western Civilization” is a term that postulates liberal ideals as a unique heritage of white people. In 1949, a senator motivated the creation of NATO, explaining: “There is no member of the Senate who does not have ancestors from Europe. This is our time not to let down civilisation. Three hundred million people … they believe in the great general principles that the race has developed and inherited from generation to generation.”
Looking at what is happening with Russia today, non-Western countries project the situation on themselves. The similarity of widespread Russophobia, which is supported in the West at the state level, with anti-Semitism is difficult not to notice. However, the situation has gone much further: the West already denies the existence of Russian culture, excludes Russian classics of literature from the curriculum, prohibits performances of Russian artists, renames paintings. The West is trying to publicly erase Russia from the past and future of human civilisation.
However, in doing so, the West undermines its own values, which it has projected into the world in recent centuries. The rule of inviolability of private property, the principles of legality, tolerance, freedom of speech and equal access to information are destroyed so demonstratively that it is impossible not to notice it even for those who are outside the framework of “Western Civilisation”.
In one of the materials of RUSSTRAT from December 2021, it was indicated that the West had reached a conceptual impasse, including for economic reasons, its “green transition” project is not feasible. Now it is obvious that the concept of “Western Civilisation” as a civilisation of constant progress is at a terminal stage, as politicians publicly explain to the population that now life will be worse than before.
Against this background, the countries of the East see that the West has lost any moral right to set standards and priorities for basic human values. The cultural characteristics of nations must be taken into account, democracy can be illiberal, and the principles of building an economy do not necessarily have to be linked only to the “free market”.
Let me remind you that during the speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Davos Forum in 2021, he said: “The social and value crisis is already turning into negative demographic consequences, because of which humanity risks losing entire civilisational and cultural continents. Our common responsibility today is to avoid such a dark dystopian perspective, and to ensure that development follows a different, positive, harmonious and creative trajectory.”
But then Vladimir Putin was not heard in the West, and now the possible huge wave of refugees from Africa that will arise due to food shortages in the world threatens not only to blur the cultural identity of Europe, but to wash it away.
The economic, human, and most importantly, spiritual and moral potential of the Eastern countries is beginning to surpass the Western one. And so it is the East that will determine the future of humanity. Maybe some people don’t believe it now, but I will give just one characteristic episode of today.
On March 3, 2022, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia gave an interview to “The Atlantic”. Commenting on the US intelligence report, where he is accused of murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the prince said: “I feel that the Human Rights Act has not been applied to me. Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” This article states that every person accused of committing a crime has the right to be presumed innocent until his guilt is legally established through a public trial, in which he is provided with all opportunities for defence.
Thus, Mohammed bin Salman directly accused the West, represented by the United States, of not respecting basic human rights. When asked by a journalist that maybe American President Joe Biden misunderstands him, the prince replied: “I just don’t care.” Also during the interview, Mohammed bin Salman stated: “Where is the potential in the world today? It’s in Saudi Arabia. And if you don’t accept it, I believe that other people in the East will be very happy.”
Until a couple of years ago, such responses from the Prince of Saudi Arabia could not have been imagined, but now it is a reality. The world has already changed, and will continue to change, and all those who hold on to the concept of “Western Civilisation” are already stuck in the past.
Now Russia is at the forefront of this civilisational struggle. Once again, as at the beginning of the 20th century, it is fighting for its own path of development, which will open the way for others. Once again, Russia, like the USSR, which fought against colonialism, offers to get rid of the international dictatorship of Washington. And Russia cannot lose in this fight, since there is no turning back.