Global Crises to Challenge Delusional Western Ambitions

3 min read

Conflicts throughout the globe have increased for the past few years and this tendency will likely continue in the near future as well. The Russian invasion against Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, the armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and so on, we could continue with the conflicts intensified lately which challenged the global ambitions of the West. The rapidly changing global order will certainly test Western foreign policies in the different regions and will most probably also show their mistakes and failures.

While it is obvious that Russia was the country launching a full-scale invasion against Ukraine in 2022, there are also many who raised the responsibility of the West when discussing how the situation in Ukraine escalated, especially when taking into account the events leading to the Euromaidan in late 2013. When the Russian invasion started in February 2022 the whole Western world stayed united behind Ukraine first politically and then also in military sense by pouring massive aid for Ukraine to defend itself. However, almost two years after the start of the war, the enthusiasm in Western countries seems to be decreased for the past few months. It is not just due to the failed Ukrainian counteroffensive (which is now already admitted by the highest military leadership of Ukraine as well) but also because countries far away from the frontline face different social and economic problems and challenges rather than focusing constantly on Ukraine. Moreover, the events in Israel have bitterly showed Ukrainians that their story can be straight away changed on the newspapers’ covers (and probably in the politicians’ briefs) if another theatre of war emerges.

The increasing war-fatigue in Western countries, and also the fact that the West – or let’s say the US – could not even explicitly state what its end goal in Ukraine is an example of perplexity when it comes to global affairs. The military support to Ukraine is another example (the issue of not sending tanks and jets to Ukraine then after all yes) that the West simply cannot decide how to deal with a conflict not even mentioning how to end it. The Western thinking on Ukraine is also somewhat misleading. While the NATO and EU standpoint has been clear and united ever since the beginning it is also a fact that the West is left alone with its opinion. Since February 2022 the West has been unable to convince a single country outside of it to join in to actively support Ukraine (Morocco is the only exception and they have their own reasons too). Like it or not, the West is alone in its Ukraine’s policy. The big and growing concern now is how long Western capitals will support Ukraine when the overall will of the society is decreasing. Western capitals will soon have to choose between their obscure global ambitions and the will of the people – especially when it will come to elections.

When China is on the rise and the global supremacy of the West is shaken many countries become sceptic about the West’s ambitions. Take India, South Africa, Brazil or even the NATO member Türkiye. They are not just sceptic about the West’s global role but they also see an opportunity in the change of the global order. In the meantime the West is actually on its own in the rivalry with Russia.

In the Middle East it was the NATO troop withdrawal which further destructed the West’s leading role in global issues. The withdrawal was not just a mistake but a strategic failure. And sadly, the biggest concern was not just the way they left the country but rather what they left there (a playground for the Taliban). It is not surprising therefore that the majority of Americans don’t want to be involved in other wars far from the US. Now that the battlefield in Ukraine seems to be a stalemate they might have similar concerns as polls show.

The Sahel region is another area of failed foreign policy ambitions of the West. Only since 2020 there have been at least six coups d’états in West Africa. While French forces were withdrawn from Mali, Russian private military companies could increase their presence in several countries in the Sahel. It is unclear at the moment what is the West’s plan in the seriously destabilized region, but it is surely not just Russia but also China which also have ambitions to improve their influence and step in.

Destabilising regions in different corners of the world have unmercifully showed the misguided ambitions of the West when it comes to its global role. The sobering reality in 2023 is that neither the US nor the collective West are able to form the global order based on their own interests and values. Without honestly facing their own limits the West will be unable to set out real ambitions. The West should finally find some straight answers to the question what are their vital interests and which one are certainly not. Ambitions should be adjusted to real interests otherwise what the West is doing now is delusional for itself and a powerless provocation for the outside world.

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