Widening trust gap key reason to our inability to make global decisions
Published: May 04, 2022 03:39 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

There are reasons why some countries, especially some large developing countries, haven't joined the US and the EU in sanctioning Russia. For example, India, Indonesia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil, and of course China.

The West has portrayed their unprecedented sanctions against Russia as a democratic struggle against totalitarianism and has identified Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a brutal disruption of the existing international and European order.

But for many colonial and semi-colonial countries that became independent after World War II, they oppose any encroachment by any power on the sovereignty of another country, at the same time are reluctant to explicitly side with the US and the West on the issue of sanctions because they do not fully subscribe to the existing US- and Western-dominated order, or they lack basic trust in it.

Needless to say, it was the post-war order that made the independence of these countries possible, and the independence of these countries became a fundamental force driving the establishment of the new order, and gradually became the important players of the order.

However, this order did not help solve the problems of border demarcation and determination of the status of minorities within these countries after their independence.

Since the big powers that led the establishment of this order defined their "spheres of influence" mainly according to their own interests and maintained this order in line with those interests, it made this order unfair from the beginning.

This inequity is accentuated by the deepening national identity of emerging countries in the process of globalization.

In Europe, even though the process of integration has begun, the ethnic problems left over from World War II, especially the living together of minorities in regional countries, continue to provoke conflicts and divisions. The European Union and its predecessor, the European Community, failed to deal with these issues effectively due to the constraints of their own interests.

An example is the split that occurred in the former Yugoslavia region, even as a new state, Kosovo, became independent after a brutal bombing spree due to the military intervention by the US and NATO.

The ongoing civil war in Ukraine since 2014, which led to the abortion of the two Minsk agreements (reached in 2015 by Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France), proves that this country is simply unable to address the issue of peaceful coexistence of minorities on the basis of ensuring national unity.

If these events are seen as a product of the post-war order and European integration, it is not difficult to understand the real reason of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine today.

More non-European countries see this order in the context of the US invasion of Iraq. That war, which was marked by a clash of civilizations and indiscriminate bombing aimed at regime change, severely undermined trust in the US, the main dominant player in the post-war order.

From another perspective, countries outside the West, especially those formerly colonial or semi-colonial countries that became independent after World War II, almost invariably fell into the structural contradictions created by this order.

The order on which they have risen has in turn made them to become subordinate to the US and the West, to be dominated by them, and even, as a result, unable to find a development path that suits their practice, which also includes a peaceful path for solving the problems of coexistence with ethnic minorities.

At present, the world faces major challenges to peaceful development, and some issues urgently need global cooperation to find solutions, but what we see is that the trust in the existing international order, including many orders such as politics, trade and finance, has been severely weakened, especially the South's trust in the North has declined sharply, and such a widening trust gap is the key reason to our inability to make global decisions.

The author is a senior editor with People's Daily, and currently a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. dinggang@globaltimes.com.cn. Follow him on Twitter @dinggangchina