Common Grounds

Our Friday News Analysis | In Search of a Nation's Soul (Part 26)

March 09, 2023


Don't Help Others "Kill, Steal, and Destroy!"

Our Friday News Analysis | In Search of a Nation's Soul (Part 26)

Watch the VIDEO HERE


Suppose Ukraine defeats the Russian Federation, and Ukraine reoccupies the Donbas Region.


               How will the ‘white’ Ukrainians treat its ‘black’ Ukrainians, that is, Ukrainians of Aryan descent versus the Russian-speaking Ukrainians of Slavic (Russian) ancestry?


               Eighty-two (82) percent of the Russian population considers the Donbas as part of Mother Russia and will do everything possible to protect its Russian citizens.


               Professor Alexandr Dugin portends that the Russian soul will usher in a multipolar world.


The Hague, 10 March 2023 | If you know of any story that is decisive, tell the world. We're still searching.


Watch the short interview. Watch Video HERE!


Russian philosopher, Alexandre Dugin, suggests that the West has lost its moral compass. The West is no longer the sole King on the Hill. The balance of power must be shared between the West, China, India, Africa, the Muslim World, South America, and the Russian Federation. Multipolarity will help bring the world closer together. Russia rejects sole Western hegemony. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.




Editor’s Note | Instead of wasting treasure and human resources to win and lose, imagine a hungry child with an empty bowl with no food. Let’s figure out how to fill that bowl with sustenance and teach the hungry to fish.




Biden Challenged by Softening Public Support for Arming Ukraine


               Proponents of more aid fear that growing taxpayer fatigue toward shipping tens of billions of dollars [$150+ billion to date for a country with an annual GDP of less than $100 billion] move overseas could undercut the war effort. [notwithstanding the fear of nuclear war].


               Public support for Ukraine aid has fallen from 60 percent last May to 48 percent now, according to surveys by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

               According to the Pew Research Center, the share of Americans who think the United States has given too much to Ukraine has grown from 7 percent a year ago to 26 percent last month.

               And even supporters make clear their commitment is not without bounds. While 50 percent of those surveyed by Fox News said American support should continue for "as long as it takes to win," 46 percent said the time frame should be limited.

Read more: 'Biden Challenged by Softening Public Support for Arming Ukraine,' by Peter Baker, New York Times, 01 March 2023.



What is the Side of the Story that is Not Yet Decisive? By Abraham A. van Kempen featuring: 'OPED: Five Reasons Why Much of the Global South isn't Automatically Supporting the West in Ukraine.' By Krishen MehtaEurasia Review News, and Analysis, 24 February 2023.


Five (5) Reasons Why Much of the Global South Isn't Automatically Supporting the West in Ukraine

By Krishen Mehta

In October 2022, about eight months after the war in Ukraine started, the University of Cambridge in the UK harmonized surveys conducted in 137 countries about their attitudes toward the West and towards Russia and China.


The findings in the study, while not free of a margin of error, are robust enough to take seriously.


These are:

  • Of the 6.3 billion people [79 percent of all humankind] residing outside the parameters of the ‘West,’ 66 percent feel positive towards Russia, 70 percent feel positive towards China, and,
  • Among the 66 percent who feel optimistic about Russia, the breakdown is as follows: 75 percent in South Asia, 68 percent in Francophone Africa, and 62 percent in Southeast Asia.
  • Public opinion of Russia remains positive in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

Sentiments of this nature have caused some ire, surprise, and even anger in the West. It is difficult for them to believe that two-thirds of the world's population is not siding with the West.


What are some of the reasons or causes for this? I believe there are five reasons, as explained in this brief essay.


1. The Global South does not believe that the West understands or empathizes with their problems.


India's foreign minister, S. Jaishankar, summed it up succinctly in a recent interview:

               "Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe's problems are the world's problems, but the world's problems are not Europe's problems."

He refers to the many challenges that developing countries face, whether they relate to the aftermath of the pandemic, the high cost of debt service, the climate crisis ravaging their lives, the pain of poverty, food shortages, notwithstanding droughts and high energy prices.

The West has barely given lip service to the Global South on many of these problems. Yet the West insists that the Global South joins it in sanctioning Russia.


The Covid pandemic is a perfect example—despite the Global South's repeated pleas to share intellectual property on the vaccines to save lives, no Western nation was willing to do so. Africa remains to this day, the most unvaccinated continent in the world. Africa could make the vaccines, but without the intellectual property, they could not do it.


But help did come from Russia, China, and India. Algeria launched a vaccination program in January 2021 after it received its first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccines. Egypt started vaccinations after it got China's Sinopharm vaccine at about the same time. South Africa procured a million doses of AstraZeneca from the Serum Institute of India. In Argentina, Sputnik became the backbone of their vaccine program. All this happened while the West used its financial resources to buy millions of doses in advance, often destroying them when they became outdated. The message to the Global South was clear—your problems are your problems. They are not our problems.


2. History Matters: Who stood where during colonialism and after Independence?


Many countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia view the war in Ukraine through a different lens than the West. Many see their former colonial powers regrouped as members of the Western alliance. The countries that have sanctioned Russia are either members of the European Union and NATO or the closest allies of the United States in the Asia Pacific region. By contrast, many countries in Asia and almost all countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America have tried to remain on good terms with Russia and the West and shun sanctions against Russia. Could it be because they remember their history at the receiving end of the West's colonial policies, a trauma that they still live with but one that is forgotten by the West?


Nelson Mandela often said that it was the Soviet Union's support, both moral and material, that helped inspire Southern Africans to overthrow the Apartheid regime. Because of this, Russia is still viewed in a favorable light by many African countries. And once Independence came for these countries, it was the Soviet Union that supported them even though it had limited resources. The Aswan Dam in Egypt, which took 11 years to build from 1960 to 1971, was designed by the Moscow-based Hydro project Institute and financed mainly by the Soviet Union. The Bhilai Steel Plant in India, one of the first large infrastructure projects in a newly independent India, was set up by the USSR in 1959. Other countries also benefited from the support provided by the former Soviet Union, both political and economic, including Ghana, Mali, Sudan, Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Mozambique.


On February 18, 2023, at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the foreign minister of Uganda, Jeje Odongo, had this to say,

               "We were colonized and forgave those who occupied us.

               Now the colonizers are asking us to be enemies of Russia, who never colonized us.

               Is that fair? Not for us! Their enemies are their enemies. Our friends are our friends."


Rightly or wrongly, present-day Russia is seen by many countries in the Global South as an ideological successor to the former Soviet Union. These countries have a long memory that makes them view Russia in a somewhat different light. Given the history, can we blame them?


3. The Global South sees the war in Ukraine as mainly about the future of Europe, not the future of the entire world.


The history of the Cold War has taught developing countries that getting embroiled in mega-power conflicts generates few benefits for them yet carries enormous risks. And they view the Ukraine proxy war as more about the future of European security than the future of the world. Furthermore, the Global South sees the war as an expensive distraction from their most pressing issues. These include higher fuel prices, food prices, higher debt service costs, and more inflation, all of which have become more aggravated because of the Western sanctions imposed on Russia.


A recent survey published by Nature Energy states that up to 140 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty due to the higher energy prices that have come about over the past year.


Soaring energy prices directly impact energy bills and lead to upward price pressures on all supply chains and consumer items, including food and other necessities. This hurts the developing countries even more than it hurts the West.


The West can sustain the war "as long as it takes" since they have the financial resources and the capital markets to do so. But the Global South does not have the same luxury. War for the future of European security can potentially devastate the entire world's security.


The Global South is also alarmed that the West is not pursuing negotiations that could end this war early. There were missed opportunities in December 2021 when Russia proposed revised security treaties for Europe that could have prevented the war that the West rejected. The peace negotiations of April 2022 in Istanbul were also partly dismissed by the West to 'weaken' Russia. Now the world is paying the price for an invasion that the Western media call "unprovoked." It could have been avoided.


4. The world economy is no longer American-dominated or Western-led, and the Global South does have other options.


Several countries in the Global South increasingly see their future tied to nations no longer in the Western sphere of influence. Whether this is their perception of how the power balance is shifting away from the West, or wishful thinking as part of their colonial legacy, let us look at some metrics that may be relevant.


The US share of global output declined from 21 percent in 1991 to 15 percent in 2021, while China's share rose from 4 percent to 19 percent during the same period. China is the world's largest trading partner, and its GDP in purchasing power parity already exceeds that of the United States. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, India, and South Africa) had a combined GDP in 2021 of $42 trillion compared with $41 trillion in the G7. Their population of 3.2 billion is more than 4.5 times the combined population of the G7 countries, at 700 million.


The BRICS are not imposing sanctions on Russia nor supplying arms to the opposing side. While Russia is the biggest supplier of energy and food grains for the Global South, China remains the biggest supplier of financing and infrastructure projects to them through the Belt and Road Initiative. And now Russia and China are closer than ever because of the war. What does it all mean for developing countries?


It means the Global South must rely more on China and Russia than the West regarding financing, food, energy, and infrastructure. The Global South is also seeing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization expanding, more countries wanting to join the BRICS, and many countries now trading in currencies that move them away from the dollar, the Euro, or the West. They also see deindustrialization in some European countries because of higher energy costs and inflation. This makes quite apparent an economic vulnerability in the West that was not so evident before the war. With developing countries having an obligation to put the interests of their citizens first, is it any wonder that they see their future tied more to countries that are not Western-led or American dominated?


5. The "rule-based international order" lacks credibility and is in decline.


The "rule-based international order" is a concept that is seen by many countries in the Global South as one that has been conceived by the West and imposed unilaterally on other countries. Few, if any, non-Western countries ever signed on to this order. The South is not opposed to a rule-based world order but question, if not reject, the present content of these rules as conceived by the West.


But one must also ask, does the rule-based international order apply even to the West?


For many, the West bulldozes its weight upon the Global South while disregarding their voices and concerns. Several countries were invaded at will, often without the Security Council's authorization. These include the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Under what "rules" were those countries attacked or devastated, and were those wars provoked or unprovoked? Julian Assange is languishing in prison, and Ed Snowden is in exile for having the courage (or perhaps the audacity) to expose the truths behind these actions.


Sanctions imposed on over 40 countries by the West impose considerable hardship and suffering. Under what international law or "rules-based order" did the West use its economic strength to impose these sanctions? Why are the assets of Afghanistan still frozen in Western banks while the country is facing starvation and famine? Why is Venezuelan gold still held hostage in the UK while the people of Venezuela live at subsistence levels? And if Sy Hersh's expose is accurate, under what rules-based order did the West destroy the Nord Stream pipelines?


There appears to be a paradigm shift that is taking place away from a Western-dominated world and into a more multipolar world. And the war in Ukraine has made more evident those differences or chasms that are part of this paradigm shift. Partly because of its history and the emerging economic realities, the Global South sees a multipolar world as a preferable outcome in which their voices are more likely to be heard.


President Kennedy ended his American University speech in 1963 with the following words: "We must do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe, and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless for its success. Confident and unafraid, we must work towards a peace strategy."


That peace strategy was before us in 1963, and they remain a challenge for us today. And the voices for peace, including those of the Global South, need to be heard.


This article is distributed by Globetrotter in partnership with ACURA.


Krishen Mehta is a member of the Board of the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord (ACURA) member and a Senior Global Justice Fellow at Yale University.



Read More: 'Judy Asks: Is Russia's War on Ukraine a Global War?' by Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Europe, 02 March 2023.

               Russia's preemptive strike (invasion) has global repercussions, yet non-Western countries remain reluctant to take sides. 1) Economic interests, 2) perceived Western double standards, and 3) Moscow’s narratives play a role.


It’s Happening in America.


               Two intelligent and eloquently speaking students questioned the speaker with respect and dignity.


               She ignored and refused to answer the questions.


               The two students were escorted out of the lecture hall.


Take a listen! Take a good look!




Alfred de Zayas, Professor of Law, Geneva School of Diplomacy, is quoted as saying:


               “It is surrealistic that the West wants a Rules-based World Order and that the war in Ukraine is about re-establishing that Order. The US and NATO pretend to be battling Russia from a moral high ground. The mainstream media tends to support this untenable narrative.


               Objectively speaking, the West does not occupy any moral high ground vis-à-vis Russia—the West's record of imperialism and colonialism in the 19th and 20th centuries, the West's more recent aggressions against the people of Indo-China, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq were more severe and more murderous than the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Western actions have entailed war crimes and crimes against humanity committed with total impunity, thereby creating a ‘precedent of permissibility,’ which is now being followed by Russia and others.


               The problem is that we in the United States, most BRITs in England, and Germans in Germany, actually believe our propaganda. It is not a matter of hypocrisy but one of faith. Since grammar school, we have been brainwashed into believing that we are the good guys by definition and have a mission to bring democracy and human rights to the rest of the world. This may sound disingenuous to a Chinese, an Indian, or an African, but the brainwashing of the American and European populations has been phenomenally successful.”


And finally, News from the Front:


On 08 March 2023, The New York reports: “Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said Ukraine lost more than 11,000 troops in February.”


As the fight for Bakhmut appears to be entering a decisive phase, both sides are trying to justify their staggering losses in a city of limited strategic value by presenting them as benefiting their cause. Each makes essentially the same claim: that the fighting there is worth the horrific cost because it is wearing down the enemy.


Analysis: Some experts said that if Ukraine can eliminate Russia’s prisoner soldiers in Bakhmut, it will not have to face waves of attacks from those soldiers elsewhere.


Intelligence report: Information reviewed by US officials suggests that a pro-Ukrainian group attacked the Nord Stream pipelines last year, a step toward determining responsibility for sabotage that has confounded investigators on both sides of the Atlantic for months.


Read more: ‘The longest battle of the war in Ukraine,’ by Natasha Frost, New York Times Morning Briefings, 8 March 2023


Breaking News! This just came in:

Washington, DC | The Pentagon is blocking the Biden administration from sharing evidence with the International Criminal Court in The Hague gathered by American intelligence agencies about Russian atrocities in Ukraine, according to current and former officials briefed on the matter.

American military leaders oppose helping the court investigate Russians because they fear setting a precedent that might help pave the way for it to prosecute Americans.

Read more: ‘Pentagon Blocks Sharing Evidence of Possible Russian War Crimes With The Hague Court,’ by Charlie Savage, New York Times, 8 March 2023.



Editor's Note |

Will this nightmare ever end? For some, NEVER!

Please consider joining the Building the Bridge Foundation, The Hague,
in urging the United States and the European Union to stop abusing the people of Ukraine
to serve as cannon fodder and human shields.

A Minsk-3 will stop the bloodshed.


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The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of the Building the Bridge Foundation, The Hague.




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