As the Global South turns away from the West, the West should curtail its financial support and trade preferences for the Global South

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1) Sylvie Kauffmann (Editorialist au Monde), “« Entre l’Occident en recul et le Sud qui s’affirme, l’heure du rééquilibrage est venue. Ça va vite et c’est brutal »; Le retrait français du Niger, deux ans après le départ des Américains d’Afghanistan, reflète un repli occidental non seulement militaire mais aussi politique et diplomatique, que la guerre en Ukraine a exacerbé, observe dans sa chronique Sylvie Kauffmann, éditorialiste au « Monde ».Le zmonde, le 27 Septembre 2023 (06h00, modifié à 14h50);

2) Sylvie Kauffmann, “”Between the receding West and the asserting South, the time for rebalancing has come. It’s going fast and it’s brutal: The French withdrawal from Niger, two years after the departure of the Americans from Afghanistan, reflects a Western withdrawal not only military but also political and diplomatic, which the war in Ukraine has exacerbated, observes in her column Sylvie Kauffmann, editorialist at “Le Monde”. Le Monde, September 27, 2023 (updated at 2:50 pm);


Sylvie Kaufmann notes some of the recent developments that reveal the extent the countries of the so-called Global South have been turning away from the West.

She mentions the recent BRICS summit in Johannesburg, the G-20 in New Delhi, and the General Assembly meeting in New York.

She cites the withdrawal of French troops from Niger as evidence of the retreat of the West in strategic and diplomatic terms.

Absent from her analysis, however, is any recognition of the benevolent motivations of the West, e.g., in providing French troops to Niger to help the country counter the Islamic jihadists who threaten the country, as they do across the Sahel region in Africa.

To be sure, avoiding a takeover of African countries by Islamic jihadists is in the interest of the West. But it is also in the interests of the inhabitants of African countries, particularly the millions who aspire to live in freedom under democratic regimes. Those interests have been represented by ECOWAS and its efforts to restore democracy in Niger.

The real battle in the world today is between democracy and freedom, on the one hand, and authoritarianism, on the other.

The fact that the Western countries, particularly the United Stares, have failed to articulate the values that are at stake in the Ukraine war, and have failed to penalize the countries of the Global South which have refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the war crimes it has been committing there, is partly to blame for the refusal of countries in the Global South to defend the values enshrined in international law and the United Nations Charter.

The fundamental norms of the U.N. Charter and internation law prohibiting the international use of force, the recognition of territorial gains achieved through military conquest, prohibiting war crimes, and establishing the protection of international human rights are not merely creations of the West.

Though their origins may trace back to Europe and an age when the dominant powers in the world were European, and the experience of World War II in europe, but also in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and since 1945 and particularly decolonization, these norms and institutions have been supported by the overwhelming majority of countries in the world today. For over 50 yrars they have been full participants in the development of the treaties and conventions, such as the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, which constitute the international system of government governance or regulation which exists today.

All countries–at least until Russia’s rogue state invasions of Ukraine in 2014 and 2022, have repeatedly reaffirmed their commitment to international law and the United Nations Charter.

So how should the West react to countries in the Global South who now fail to support tbese international values and norms to which they give lip service, but do not support through actions by condemning Russian aggression and war crimes, and by joining international sanctions regimes?

Sadly, today there appear to be no leaders of the caliber of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill among the major powers, though Volodymyr Zelensky does recall Churchill’s great qualities of leadership.

How should the West respond to the fence-sitting countries of tbe Global South?

Western countries need to remind the citizens of countries in the Global South that their taxpayers contribute enormous sums of money for the benefit of their citizens, essentially though not always out of benevolent motivations.

If the fence-sitting coubtries of the Global South do not want to act to uphold the U.N. Charter-based international order. there is no reason that the countries of the West should continue to grant trade preferences, international debt relief, and foreign assistance to such countries.

If Western countries were to act on this proposition, we might see a rapid increase in support for the U.N. Charter and international law, and the international sanctions regimes prohibiting trade with Russia.

The fence-sitting countries of the Global South need to kearn that they can’t have it both ways.

They need to learn that they cannot at the same time receive all the benefits of belonging to a community of states based on international law and the U.N. Charter-based international order, and fail to actively defend and support that order by failing to condemn Russia and to join the international sanctions regimes prohibiting trade with Russia.

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About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.

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