Welcome to an exciting new season of the hit TV series: “Who’s Afraid of the South?” »

The suspense-filled thriller, bringing together superheroes, villainous villains and in-betweens, has been available on streaming services for some time.

But only true fans and aficionados of the genre bothered to tune in. The series was not smooth, the plots were uneven and the main roles did not always correspond to Hollywood standards.

Time changes. As a gripping new season of the series launches this week at the United Nations, the once little-known saga of geopolitical competition, confrontation and cooperation is now the only geopolitical show in town.

Everyone is watching and everyone has an opinion.

Noblesse oblige, most of the criticisms from Western critics are, as one might expect, sarcastic. There is no “so-called” Global South, they insist. It is simply a group of disparate and feuding states, with nothing to unite them, no coherent position, and no long-term future.

But I would advise a little more circumspection after years of reporting for the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review, as well as through countless trips, interviews, and almost daily frank and honest interactions with policymakers , journalists, researchers and friends in Asia. Africa and Middle East.

Forget the doomsayers: there really is no need to be grumpy, worried and fearful about the Global South and, by extension, life in a multipolar world.

Fear of the unknown, inertia and reluctance to shed old prejudices and stereotypes are understandable.

One day you think that Asia is too far away, too poor and too big to interest anyone, and that the second half of the continent is a supercharged economic powerhouse, an investment magnet and a potential “existential threat.” .

Africa, once decried as a hopeless situation, prone to famines and coups, is now everyone’s preferred “equal partner”, much coveted and courted, and still elusive.

But all these grudging acknowledgments of the “so-called” Global South also smack of envy: the West’s reluctance to relinquish the spotlight and its once unquestioned leading role as hero, do-gooder and self-identified good guy.

It’s more complicated.

The unipolar world was simple, well-organized and orderly, led by the United States, with the EU loyal and docile at its side (most of the time) and the “third world” states dutifully aligning themselves with Uncle Sam (most of the time). time).

But fortunately for the EU, there is a small circle of forward-looking people who, despite the cynicism of the majority, have always known that the world beyond Europe (and the United States) is exciting , dynamic, is growing by leaps and bounds and becoming more self-confident day by day.

Their commitment and the links forged with the countries “over there” are now bearing fruit. But there is still a lot more to do.

The critics are right: the Global South, G20, BRICS, SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and other organizations are diverse and heterogeneous, their members often compete with each other and their goals and aspirations are very different.

However, there is a bond and a common point that unites us. These connections can be subtle, invisible, nebulous and (largely) imperceptible to the Eurocentric-Western gaze. But if you know, you know.

The driving force is in part postcolonial anger, frustration and resentment – ​​a deep wound left by years of exploitation, extraction and endless broken promises on crucial issues like vaccine equity , debt relief and climate change.

This is partly due to realpolitik and this old game of “coverage” practiced by countries which have no interest in being drawn into a new Cold War or into unbridled competition between the United States and China. .

Above all, it is about protecting national (or regional) interests by avoiding any unnecessary involvement in the problems of other peoples.

The African Climate Summit in Nairobi, which set out an ambitious vision for Africa’s clean energy future, is proof that the continent is taking charge of its own destiny.

The decision by BRICS members to expand the group is driven both by a desire to counter a Western-led multilateral order and by a genuine aspiration to intensify South-South economic ties, including – one day – by questioning the outsized influence of the US dollar on the global market. Mondial economy.

Their decision not to align with the Western view of Russia’s war in Ukraine may have thrust the South into the geopolitical spotlight, but their demands for change are not new.

They have made their case at countless World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings, at climate change conferences and most recently at the France-hosted global finance summit.

His own house

Furthermore, despite their growing influence and justified criticism of Western hypocrisy and double standards, Southern leaders must put their house in order.

Too many of those speaking out against global inequality are guilty of domestic divide-and-conquer policies, through discrimination against minorities, the exclusion of women, and repression of democracy activists. and human rights defenders.

Their policies run counter to the aspirations of their young, vibrant, energetic and impatient citizens who wish to live and prosper in a more equal environment, both at home and abroad.

As part of a new season of “Who’s Afraid of the Global South?” » is launched at the UN with a much-anticipated summit to review progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, EU leaders can achieve more than just fill-in roles.

This means not only attending meetings and giving speeches, but also working to become relevant and credible in a multipolar world.


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