‘The West against the Rest’

Developing countries in orange, least developed in red, make up the Global South. Countries in blue make up the Global North. (U.N. map, April 2023)

Recently, the European Union’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, made a surprising admission in a blog post on the official website of the EU’s diplomatic service.

Borrell confessed, “If the current global geopolitical tensions continue to evolve in the direction of ‘the West against the Rest,’ Europe’s future is at risk to be bleak. The era of Western dominance has indeed definitively ended. While this has been theoretically understood, we have not always drawn all practical conclusions from this new reality.” (www.eeas.europa.eu, Feb. 25)

Borrell’s statement is a desperate plea to the EU and Western imperialism to reach out and develop better relationships with countries in the “Global South.” For months, Borrell has been making warnings and predictions of a global clash between leaders of imperialist countries and people in developing and oppressed countries.

His honest assessment that, “The era of Western dominance has indeed definitively ended,” is a bold disclosure. Such a statement from any EU official, especially a high-ranking member, is unprecedented.

Who is Josep Borrell?

In addition to being Europe’s top diplomat, Borrell is a long-standing member of the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE).  Despite its name, the PSOE publicly abandoned Marxism in 1979, and it is hostile towards actual existing socialist countries. While it once had strong connections to the militant General Union of Workers (UGT), the two parties broke ties in the 1980s. The UGT is justifiably critical of PSOE’s neoliberal turn.

Prior to his current position, Borrell served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Spanish government. He also served as the President of the European Parliament in the early 2000s.

Borrell is a strong proponent of the U.S.- and NATO-led proxy war against Russia.  He has consistently called for an exorbitant amount of spending of “military aid” to Ukraine over the last two years. Borrell is fearful of the growing alliance between Russia and the People’s Republic of China, and he is especially terrified at the thought of the world’s population trusting the governments of Russia and China over those of the U.S. and Western Europe.

Western imperialism in a panic

Borrell’s post reflects the reality imperialist leaders are having to face. The ongoing proxy war against Russia, along with the continuous genocide in Gaza and anti-colonial struggles against Western powers, are harming the image of the U.S. and European ruling classes. 

As the U.S. and the EU are losing some of the power they had always been accustomed to, BRICS — the intergovernmental organization that consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates — has been expanding as an alternative to Western dominance. BRICS offers trade options through currencies other than the U.S. dollar.

While not inherently anti-capitalist, BRICS does represent a global challenge to Western imperialism that has not existed since the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern European bloc socialist states in 1991. Much of the world associates the U.S. with imperialism and the EU with settler-colonialism, and views BRICS as a hopeful replacement that is more pro-human and pro-environment. 

At the same time, China’s Belt and Road initiative is providing developing countries with a viable alternative to dependence on the Western dominated International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Western imperialists are responsible for the downfall of their own “dominance.”  For centuries, U.S. and European officials have deliberately pitted themselves against people residing in the Global South. For example, when there are votes within the United Nations, the U.S. and Europe tend to vote one way, while most of the world typically vote a different way. As left-wing journalist Ben Norton recently highlighted, “At the United Nations, the U.S. and Europe often vote together, while the vast majority of member states, which are located in the Global South, vote against them.”  (geopoliticaleconomy.com, Feb. 26)

Working and oppressed people around the world are fed up with Western powers and their imperialist policies. Even within the U.S., young people and families within oppressed communities are challenging the decaying political system. The recent “uncommitted” votes against Joe Biden in Michigan, led by the state’s Palestinian community, is another indication of how Western dominance is diminishing.

Imperialist policies, such as the proxy war against Russia and the continuous genocide in Gaza, are backfiring against the very war profiteers responsible for the ongoing atrocities. Marxists and revolutionary socialists welcome the decline of Western dominance, as it translates into a loss for the U.S., Canadian and European capitalist class. Any demise of Western imperialism is a victory for the world’s working class and oppressed populations.  

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