Even the most casual observer of foreign affairs now knows that Western allies like Israel are allowed to violate the humanitarian dimension of that bloc’s so-called “rules-based order” with impunity while those of its rivals like Russia who are only accused of doing so risk facing their wrath in response.
The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that “Rush by west to back Israel erodes developing countries’ support for Ukraine”, which cited diplomats and officials who drew attention to how their bloc’s double standards towards these two conflicts discredited it in the Global South. They accurately assessed that this hypocritical stance cost their side whatever gains it made over the past 20 months in winning some hearts and minds among the Global Majority in the developing world.
Even the most casual observer of foreign affairs now knows that Western allies like Israel are allowed to violate the humanitarian dimension of that bloc’s so-called “rules-based order” with impunity while those of its rivals like Russia who are only accused of doing so risk facing their wrath in response. Unlike the West’s reaction to Russia’s special operation, not a single policymaker is talking about imposing sanctions against Israel or arming Hamas to fight a proxy war against it in Gaza.
This bloc’s double standards are attributable to its strategists concluding that their side has more to gain in the geopolitical sense by supporting Israel and Ukraine even at the expense of discrediting themselves. Despite some serious disagreements with Netanyahu, the West still considers Israel to be their “unsinkable aircraft carrier” in West Asia that must always be supported at all costs, while Ukraine is considered to be their nationwide platform for containing and then Balkanizing Russia.
These tangible interests take precedence in their policymaking calculations over the optics and rhetoric connected to the “rules-based order”, the concept of which is nothing more than a means for manipulating popular perceptions about the righteousness of their aforesaid geopolitical causes. The “rules” are only arbitrarily enforced whenever strategists believe that it’s to the West’s benefit to do so while the blind eye that they turn towards their allies’ violations are always explained away in some way.
In this example, Russia’s special operation is portrayed as an unprecedented violation of European borders in the post-World War II period that’s caused more civilian suffering than any continental conflict since then. It’s also presented as unprovoked by downplaying Russia’s legitimate security interests. By contrast, the integrity of Palestine’s borders is ignored on the basis that Israel’s legitimate security interests justify its violation, and this same reasoning is also used to whitewash civilian casualties.
To be clear, there are some very significant differences between these two examples, but the preceding oversimplification of their commonalities is intended to demonstrate how casual observers of foreign affairs in the Global South see them and thus explain why they don’t trust the West’s rhetoric anymore. The double standards on display are simply too pronounced for them to ignore, and in many of these same people’s minds, they extend credence to Russia’s consistent criticisms of Western hypocrisy.
The end effect is that the West’s reputation continues eroding despite the outreaches that some of their officials have made to the Global South over the last 20 months, which is attributable to this bloc’s strategists prioritizing their side’s geopolitical interests over their soft power ones. Unlike Russia’s balanced approach towards Israel and Hamas, the West decided to support the former at the latter’s expense, which exposed the fallacy of its “rules-based order” concept and lost it the Global South’s trust.
Source: the author’s blog