Sudan coup signals to collective dilemma of Asia, Africa and Latin America

By Min Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/17 18:48:41

On April 11, a military coup threw out Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who had been in power for 30 years. The next day, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman Burhan replaced First Vice President and Minister of Defense Lieutenant General Awad Ibn Auf as chairman of the transitional military council in charge of ruling the African nation. Years of public disappointment with the Bashir government, especially after the separation of South Sudan, are said to be behind the coup d'etat.

The pursuit of economic revival since its independence in 1956 has been Sudan's primary goal. However, communal and ethnic issues left over from the British colonial period as well as clash of interests among tribes impeded nation-building. 

Between 1956 and 1989, Sudan saw three military coups. When the Cold War came to an end, the geopolitical importance of African countries declined significantly. While Western powers were withdrawing from Sudan, China began to provide economic assistance. 

With China's help, Sudan became an oil exporter and acquired refining capacity. After the separation of South Sudan in 2011, racial problems were apparently resolved, but in essence, Sudan lost its main oil producing areas and the economy faced severe challenges. 

In the past eight years, the Bashir government had been grappling with a failing economy, receiving financial assistance from Gulf Arab states in an attempt to tide over the crisis. With the real exchange rate of the Sudanese pound to the US dollar consistently falling and prices soaring, the political situation in Sudan gradually became unstable. 

The coup represents the peak of disenchantment among Sudanese people and Burhan's acquisition of power doesn't necessarily mean that the country will be bailed out of development problems.

After the forced resignation of president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algeria in early April, Sudan has also seen a regime change. Mainstream Western media once again seized the opportunity to hype up the "Arab Spring" and tried to drive a wedge between Arab nations and those in Asia, Africa and Latin America, skirting the issue of poor development but highlighting the so-called Islamic issues and then proposing Western democracy as a solution. 

This not only disregards the objective needs of the Arab world, but also diverts public opinion formed by the European refugee influx since 2011.

After the end of the Cold War, academics in Europe and the US put forward "the end of history" and "clash of civilizations" theories, in an attempt to prevent Asian, African, and Latin American countries from using globalization to challenge the international order created by the West in the post-Soviet era. 

While continually distorting images of the Arab-Islamic world, Western media is also keen to create so-called concepts such as "the China threat" and the Latin American immigration theories, trying to divide Asia, Africa and Latin America. 

The strategy has been so far successful. The degree of mutual identification among Asian and African countries has gradually decreased and they have even been alienated. Arab states are associated with "terrorism" while Latin American countries are linked with "gangsters" and "drugs." 

However, development, which is the most important issue for Asian, African and Latin American countries, is intentionally neglected. 

On Tuesday, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire. On YouTube, a description of the 9/11 attacks unexpectedly appeared on the information bar, which caused an uproar in the international community. As a manufactured discourse, the "Arab spring" has failed to guide the Arab countries to stability and development. It is also likely to become an important tool for Western countries to divide the continents of Asia, Africa, and Latin America and stigmatize the Arab world.

The political situation in Venezuela, Algeria, Sudan and Libya in recent months has been unstable. Syria, Iraq and other countries are still struggling with postwar reconstruction. The coup in Sudan is just an epitome of the collective dilemma of Asia, Africa and Latin America. If people still try to transplant Western democracy, many a country may even face secessionism and social disintegration.

Compared with Europe, Asian countries once created a more lasting, localized and influential civilization through the Silk Road. In modern times, Asia, Africa and Latin America were influenced by Western civilization and gradually gained independence in the 20th century. 

Asian countries are relatively better at adapting to modernization. China, India, Malaysia and other Asian nations have their own development experience in a certain sense. 

China is about to hold a conference for dialogue among Asian civilizations in May. The important civilizations in Asia, such as Chinese, Arab-Islamic and Indian civilizations, will hold dialogues to propose a solution to the development dilemma in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The author is an assistant research fellow of the Institute of Silk Road Strategy Studies, Shanghai International Studies University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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