Trend of call to withdraw troops demonstrates ebbing of Western empire, flow of multipolarism
Published: Jan 26, 2024 05:06 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

Illustration: Chen Xia/Global Times

In many countries, a growing trend to push for the withdrawal of stationed foreign troops from their territories can be observed in recent years. For instance, the South Asian island nation of the Maldives is ordering Indian troops out of its territory. This appears to be the beginning of an accelerating trend toward the primacy of national sovereignty, but for many other countries, it also demonstrates the ebb of the Western empire.

In recent years, and most particularly last year, the global balance of power has begun to shift away from US-led global hegemony and decisively toward multipolarism. Perhaps one recent development symbolizes the ebb of Western hegemony, involving one of the most visible aspects of modern US and European imperialism, the presence of Western troops occupying nations around the globe.

A Reuters report on Thursday said that Washington and Baghdad are set to initiate talks on the end of a US-led international military coalition in Iraq, citing sources. Earlier this month, following yet more US military attacks within Iraq, the Iraqi government finally announced its determination to fully expel US forces who have been occupying Iraq since 2003. While the US claims that its military presence in Iraq and elsewhere around the globe is key to "stability," Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said that the US-led coalition's raison d'etre ended in 2017 with the territorial defeat of the Islamic State.

It should be remembered that US forces invaded Iraq in 2003, predicated on a lie involving "weapons of mass destruction" the US knew Iraq did not possess. The resulting war and occupation led to the death of over a million Iraqis. The US presence in Iraq has been used as a springboard to confront neighboring Syria more easily. Today, despite major diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East, the US military presence there still threatens to spark a conflict that could push the entire region into devastating war. 
Last year, French troops were forced out of Niger following a military coup removing a Western-backed client regime from power. The current trend of calling for the withdrawal of foreign troops is not unlike the rapid decolonization that followed the collapse of European imperialism after the World Wars. Let's not forget that despite the rapid growth of independence movements and the driving out of European and American troops, there were also stubborn wars the US and Europe fought in an attempt to reassert themselves in these regions, including in Vietnam. That war lasted until the 1970s and left millions dead. 

In many ways, the trends we see today are just the continuation of this process of decolonization that started many decades ago, left unfinished in some places and even rolled back by Western attempts to reassert its primacy in the places.

China is one of the success stories. China, in particular, had suffered immensely under Western imperialism. Its story of rebuilding itself, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and rising to the global stage as a major power, provides an important example for others to follow, proving that it is possible to escape the orbit of Western hegemony. 

The removal of foreign troops is only the first of many steps required to reestablish true sovereignty. Protection against other forms of foreign interference is also required. This can be achieved through securing a nation's information and political space against foreign-funded media platforms and foreign-funded opposition parties, by reforming laws to restrict foreign interference through the use of "nongovernmental organizations," leaving no space for foreign "soft power" to misdirect the public. It also requires economic independence from the coercive trade deals and financial networks the West has imposed, and still imposes, on the world. 

While the developments we are seeing today are promising - foreign troops linked to decades, if not generations, of Western imperialism are expected to gradually pull out of occupied territory around the globe, only by seeing this process all the way through to its full conclusion can these newly sovereign nations ensure their own peace and stability well into the future, and as truly sovereign nations, collectively serve as a solid foundation for a truly multipolar world. And only then can the chapter of Western imperialism truly and finally be closed. 

The author is a geopolitical analyst and former soldier of US Marine Corps. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn