US and the West's claims of representing the 'global community' yell out their hegemonic mentality
Published: Jul 01, 2022 01:33 AM
Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/Global Times

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues, the US and the West have imposed successive rounds of sanctions on Russia, and taken advantage of public opinion to make it "the will of the majority" of the world. But in fact, the West is just a part of the international community, which it should recognize as the sum of all the sovereign nations who participate equally in the discussion and governance of international affairs. The US and the West do not represent the international community. 

The narrative of the US and the West does not equal world opinion. Under the banner of the "international community," the US and the West have made up a set of narratives in the Ukraine crisis, packaging their own demands as "international opinion."

For example, the US and the West say that Russia's military action against Ukraine "has shaken the foundations of international order," but the global community generally believes that the US-led NATO's adherence to cold war thinking and continued eastward expansions are the threat to the international order and the reason for the intensification of the Ukraine crisis. The US concocted the "democracies vs autocracies" narrative, which has long pushed countries with different systems, including some of the US allies, to the opposite side. It does not even represent its own allies. 

The position of the US and the West is not that of the international community. Instead of reviewing its own faults and responsibilities regarding NATO expansion and European security issues, the US has dragged its allies into "group fights," confusing right and wrong.

But the US has no way to represent the West or the world. Many allies are increasingly at odds with the US over the perception of the "Russia threat" and arms assistance to Ukraine, which has weakened US mobilization capabilities. The US-proposed different solutions to the Ukraine crisis have all focused on how to perpetuate the crisis, which clearly contradicts the international community's call for a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the conflict as soon as possible. 

There is no "united camp" of the world against Russia. International sanctions should be strictly in accordance with the UN Charter, authorized by the UN Security Council, with clear objectives, provisions for periodic review, and conditions for lifting them. But the US has consistently imposed sanctions under its domestic law, executive orders, and even customary law, including the sanctions against Russia after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

However, only about 30 allies have followed US sanctions against Russia, while most countries oppose unilateral sanctions and advocate a negotiated solution. Some countries, considered Washington's partners, such as India and Israel, did not side with the US and the West to provide weapons to Ukraine or impose sanctions on Russia. 

A wide range of countries from Asia, Africa, and Latin America are generally making their own choices independently. For many nations, Russia is one of the world's largest exporters of oil, gas, wheat, and fertilizers, as well as a strategic partner, security guarantor and source of weapons. Most countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America maintain strong economic and political ties with both the East and the West. For them, non-alignment and not taking sides help keep the diplomatic door open and better protect their interests. 

Developing countries are too familiar with the history of Western interventions, invasions, staged coups, and "color revolutions." Many of them have long seen through the West's misdeeds and do not believe that it is doing justice for Ukraine, and thus have not joined the "anti-Russia camp." Some countries, seeing the way the West freely seizes Russian dollar assets, become more aggressive in seeking to establish alternative payment mechanisms that can bypass US and Western manipulation.  

The US and the West's claim to be the "international community" is essentially a reflection of the hegemonic mentality and the mindset of Western centrism. In the view of some US and Western politicians, the Western world is the center of the global community for which they set the rules, and in the name of which they can engage in coercive diplomacy. They have constantly clashed with the interests of the rest of the world because of their sense of superiority, making it difficult for them to find a path to peaceful coexistence with others. 

The history and reality of the 21st century prove that the era of US dominance is far gone. In this new era, justice and rules are not defined by the US and the West, which need to dialogue with the international community on an equal footing. 

The author is director and associate research fellow with Department for American Studies, China Institute of International Studies. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn