In the UN, Russia has been condemned for its war in Ukraine by an overwhelming majority of nations. Despite this, very few countries outside NATO+ are joining the sanctions against Russia. How come that the Global South is unwilling to support the sanctions? And will it be possible for the US to twist the arms of these unwilling countries to get them to align?
Thorbjørn Waagstein, Economist, PhD, since 1999 working as international Development Consultant in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Whether there will be a technological and trade decoupling between China and NATO+ is not up for discussion any longer – it is already ongoing. What we still don’t know, is how far it will go, and how fast. A vicious political circle may imply that it will go very far, and very fast, at least if the US is to decide. Whether China will be able to prosper despite this technology war, is anybody’s guess. My guess is that it will.
Many countries build up reserves of gold and foreign exchange to hedge against sudden adverse events. As the currencies such as the US dollar and the Euro are not linked to any physical asset (as e.g., gold), their value is based on trust (called fiat money). However, the increasing politicization of the international financial system is eroding this trust. This may have far-reaching repercussions as some countries are now looking for alternatives.
It looks as if sanctions haven’t had the expected disastrous consequences for Russia compared to say Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, at least in the short term. But what about the longer perspective? Will the Russian economy implode or stagnate? Or will it be able to survive and perhaps even prosper? History tells us that both scenarios are possible and that the outcome to a high degree depends on how well the situation is managed and the legitimacy of the political leadership.
For sincere journalists in the West, Ukraine presents a dilemma. There is no doubt where the sympathy lies. The war in Ukraine is seen as the good guys against the bad guys and public opinion is strongly against Russia. What then to do with news putting the good guys in a bad light, for example Ukraine losing in the battlefield, their armed forces bombing a nuclear plant in Russian controlled territory, their use of residential areas for shelling the Russians and so on? Ignore them, deny them or tell the facts as they are?
Sometimes you wish you were wrong. In an article on this website around two months before Russia invaded Ukraine, I predicted that war was the most likely outcome, as US and NATO had clearly stated they didn’t accept Russia’s “red line”: the demand that NATO stop its eastward expansion. I asked whether NATO believed the Russians were bluffing, or whether they had decided to throw Ukraine under the bus. Unfortunately, it seems the decision was to sacrifice Ukraine.