West Wrong to Assume World Has United Ukraine Stance

Western nations are indeed aligned, but this is not a 'global consensus,' writes Edward Luce
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2022 7:25 PM CDT
West Is Wrong to Assume World's Backing on Ukraine
A woman cleans the staircase of broken glass at an apartment building damaged by bombing in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

(Newser) – Edward Luce thinks what Russia is doing in Ukraine is "barbaric" and the West's united condemnation is laudable. But in an essay at the Financial Times, Luce warns that the West is, again, "mistaking its own unity for a global consensus." Consider the recent UN vote in which 141 of 193 condemned Russia's actions. That sounds overwhelming, but "the 35 that abstained account for almost half the world’s population," writes Luce. "That includes China, India, Vietnam, Iraq and South Africa. If you add those that voted with Russia, it comes to more than half." What's more, some big nations that seem to be on the anti-Russia side of the ledger are, in fact, "hedging their bets." In this camp, Luce puts Saudi Arabia, which along with the United Arab Emirates, snubbed President Biden on a request to ramp up oil production.

Much of the world is waiting to see how the war plays out, because "everybody loves a winner," writes Luce. "The bigger abstainers, such as India, which has quadrupled its oil imports from Russia at a discount compared to this time last year, would adjust their stance, which is causing anguish in Washington." The West is claiming the moral high ground, but others don't see it that way, or they see the West's stance as hypocritical given military actions in Iraq and elsewhere. So, yes, the West's "response to Putin’s barbarism has been admirable," concludes Luce. "But it is inevitably selective. The more Western governments grasp how large parts of the world see them, the better able they will be to practice effective diplomacy." (Read the full essay.)

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