More discomfort awaits the West in 2024 if it doesn’t adapt to new reality
Published: Jan 01, 2024 10:02 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

What kind of experience did 2023 bring to Western countries? According to mainstream Western media, the most apt term to encapsulate the Western sentiment is "uncomfortable."

An article from the BBC suggests that the past 12 months have seen a number of setbacks for the US, Europe and other major democracies on the international politics stage. Although none has been disastrous for now, they point to a shifting balance of power away from the US-dominated, Western values that have held sway for years, the article claimed. The mentioned setbacks include regional conflicts such as the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Challenges posed by countries perceived as adversarial by the US and the West, such as China, Iran, and North Korea, were also highlighted. 

The Ukraine crisis has continued on, and the Israel-Palestine conflict has reignited, while the responses from the international community don't align with the preferences of the US and its Western allies. All of this has made them feel "uncomfortable." 

When it comes to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, despite receiving support from the West, Ukraine has faced difficulties and failed to progress as expected in its conflict with Russia. This has led to Western fatigue and frustration. Due to partisan divisions in the US, providing aid to Ukraine has become problematic. In contrast, Russia has managed to stabilize its frontlines and handle the prolonged war effectively, Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. He noted that sanctions against Russia, with only around 30 countries participating in condemning Russia's actions, have failed to significantly impact the Russian economy, instead, Russia has demonstrated remarkable resilience, contrary to Western expectations.

In the case of the Israel-Palestine conflict, most developing countries held positions inconsistent with those of the US. Many countries expressed disappointment and regret over the US veto of the Gaza-related drafts demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, distancing themselves from the US pro-Israel stance. 

The BBC states that Arab ministers believe there are double standards in Western approaches to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Israel-Palestine conflict, accusing the Western governments of hypocrisy. This reflects a growing opposition from Global South and developing countries against the values advocated by the US and the West in various events, and the Western influence is diminishing, said Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies.

Issues such as the Ukraine crisis and the Israel-Palestine conflict increasingly demonstrate that the West, particularly Europe and the US, can no longer bring positive values to the world. More and more countries and their people in the Global South have become aware of this and refuse to accept Western double standards.

Today, an increasing number of developing countries are expressing clear opposition to irresponsible actions by the US and Europe. The major demand of these countries is to have a peaceful and stable international environment for national development. However, Western countries, the US in particular, are acting as the world's largest disruptor of peace and creator of conflicts. In the cases of the Ukraine crisis and the Israel-Palestine conflict, the US not only fuels the flames but also opposes proposals for peace talks raised by other countries. In pursuit of its selfish interests, the US has caused suffering to the people of Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, hindering the resolution of other urgent global issues. In such circumstances, more and more developing countries are becoming courageous enough to say no to the US and the West.

In 2024, the influence and dominance of the West, whether in the Russia-Ukraine conflict or the Israel-Palestine conflict, will continue to decline. If 2023 did not unfold according to their expectations, 2024 is likely to deviate even further. This will bring more discomfort for them. Washington now has to adapt to a new reality: Global South countries are becoming more mature and gaining more decision-making autonomy. US politicians, who are used to dictating terms to countries worldwide and expecting developments to revolve around US interests, must reflect on and adapt to this new change. Otherwise, when the media summarizes 2024, it may not be as simple as just feeling uncomfortable; the experience might be more agonizing.