The West Against the Rest (III)

Brazilian expert accuses the West of “arrogance” and ignorance in relationship to the Global South. The latter seeks to maintain cooperation with Russia and strives toward a world without Western domination.

BERLIN/BRASÍLIA (Own report) – “Top European politicians and opinion makers” have “not the faintest idea (...) of the views and expectations of the Non-Western world.” A Brazilian political scientist and a former advisor of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva drew this conclusion following the Western reactions to Lula’s visit to China, ranging from negative to contemptuous. Regarding the fact that, during his visit to Brazil in late January, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had called on Lula to ship munition to Ukraine, Giorgio Romano Schutte explained that Berlin also did “not make the slightest effort” to “understand and respect Brazil’s position” on the subject. The harsh criticism of the way the transatlantic West handles the Global South is based on the fact that totally different views predominate on the Ukraine war, on Russia, and on the future world order in the Non-Western world. Back in February, a survey taken by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), indicated that in that part of the world, Russia is largely considered an ally or at least a strategic cooperation partner and a multipolar world order is strived for – one without Western domination.

Diverging Positions on the War

Already in February, a survey by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) had confirmed that, in general, the positions of Western and Non-Western countries on the Ukraine war differ diametrically – not only at government policy level, but also at the level of the populations. The survey was carried out, on the one hand, in various EU countries, in Great Britain and the USA, and on the other, in Russia, China, India and Turkey. In each of the Western countries a majority had agreed with the demand, Ukraine should be able to reconquer all of its territory, even if this means a prolongation of the war and more Ukrainian casualties. In the Non-Western world, clear majorities hope for the soonest possible end to the war, even if Ukraine must cede part of its territory. The view that, for the West, support for Ukraine is primarily aimed at defending its global dominance, has met with clear approval in Turkey, in Russia and in China, even by a relative majority. In the West, the opinion that Russia will emerge from the war greatly weakened was dominant, wherein in the Non-West, Russia would emerge significantly stronger.[1]

Beyond Western Dominance

Clear differences have also emerged in alliance options and in perspectives for the future world order. In the West, more than half of the population sees Russia as an adversary, which becomes two-thirds of the population (EU) or more (UK, USA), when added to those describing that country as a rival. Outside the West, 70 percent (Turkey) or even 80 percent (China, India) view Russia as an ally, or, at least, an indispensable cooperation partner. The former was clearly predominant in India, the latter in China and Turkey.[2] A relative majority in the West see the coming international order as the return of a cold war-type bipolarity, wherein the US-led West and China will fight one another. Thus, the West must attempt to cajole countries such as India and Turkey into siding with the West. Outside the West, the majority considers that in the future a Non-Western power, such as China will dominate, or more probable, that a multipolar world order would emerge. Neither India nor Turkey showed signs of a willingness to side with the West on principle. The countries of the West will have to become accustomed to the fact that the rest of the world “will not simply do as it wishes,” predicts the ECFR.

“Balance World Geopolitics”

Recently, during his trip to China, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva showed that the Non-Western world is no longer prepared to submit to the West, by demonstratively defying US sanctions policy with a visit to Huawei – and by calling on the United States and the EU to agree to a negotiated settlement in the Ukraine war. Lula also explicitly announced that his country wants to help “balance world geopolitics.” ( reported.[3]) A few days later, Lula received Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov in Brasília. Already during his trip to China, the media contemptuously reported that Lula was saying “what China wanted to hear,” in the hopes of landing investments from Chinese companies,[4] and now, some are suggesting that Brazil is not breaking its ties to Russia, simply because it is dependent on supplies of Russian fertilizer. They warn that Lula is about “to gamble away his bonus with the West.”[5] Conversely, it was appreciated when Lula declared during his visit to Portugal, yesterday, “We condemn the violation of Ukraine’s territory and believe in an international order based on law and the respect of national sovereignty.”[6] That appeared to confirm the West’s standpoint.

Western Arrogance

With regard to the West’s assessment of Brazil’s policies, for example, as well as the policies of other Non-Western countries, non-European observers have begun to make harsh judgements. For example, Giorgio Romano Schutte, an Associate Professor of International Relations and Economy at the Universidade Federal do ABC in São Paulo, wrote about reactions to Lula’s visit to China: “top European politicians and opinion makers prove that they have no idea of the views and aspirations of the Non-Western world.” It should “surprise no one” that countries “such as Brazil, South Africa, and India” today, “are not blindly following the narratives and policies of NATO countries and their allies,” explained Schutte, a former advisor to Lula. They should not assume that “they approve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” simply because they reject the West’s war policies.[7] It is rather that the Global South’s resentment was sparked by the fact that the West does not recognize “Russia’s justified complaints and security concerns” and “arrogantly refuses to acknowledge other opinions and attempts to find a solution.” The fact that during his visit to Brazil in late January, German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz even demanded that Brazil ship munitions to Ukraine, shows that Berlin had not even “made the slightest effort” to try to “understand and respect Brazil’s position” on the matter.

The End of the Eurocentric World

Schutte also points out that the West’s hypocrisy is meeting rejection in the Global South. The Brazilian scholar recalls that neither the war against Yugoslavia in 1999 nor those against Iraq in 2003, and against Libya in 2011 had been legal under international law.[8] In Afghanistan, “trillions of US dollars had been invested” in order “to ruin that country” and yet, “in the end, to abandon it again to the Taliban.” The discriminatory treatment of refugees from Ukraine and those from other countries outside Europe speaks volumes. “The allegation that NATO countries and their allies are ‘the voice of the international community that respects the rules-based order’” is “plain and simply untrue,” writes Schutte. “Europe may adamantly insist that Russia has isolated itself. From the Global South’s perspective, it looks very different.” All this, reinforces “the consciousness in the Global South that it must cooperate even more intensively.” Schutte is convinced that “the Eurocentric world is facing its demise, the USA’s predominance is being contested. The delivery of more weaponry to Ukraine will not halt this development.”


For more information on this theme see: The West against the Rest und The West against the Rest (II).


[1], [2] Timothy Garton Ash, Ivan Krastev, Mark Leonard: United West, divided from the rest: Global public opinion one year into Russia’s war on Ukraine. 22.02.2023.

[3] See also “Balance World Geopolitics”.

[4] Tjerk Brühwiller: Lula sagt, was Peking hören will. 13.04.2023.

[5] Alexander Busch: Lula empfängt Lawrow – und brüskiert die USA und Europa. 18.04.2023.

[6] Lula kritisiert Russlands Angriff auf Ukraine. 25.04.2023.

[7], [8] Giorgio Romano Schutte: Das Ende des Westens. 18.04.2023.