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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 April 2024

Two wars: Editorial on the West’s stance amid hostilities in Gaza and Ukraine

The West’s blood-stained hypocrisy helps Moscow cloud its own atrocities in Ukraine and exposes the hollowness of the rules-based order that the US claims to champion but is guilty of defiling

The Editorial Board Published 01.03.24, 08:35 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

As Israel’s devastating war in Gaza rolls on, unleashing death and starvation on a besieged population, its impact on the world is spreading. The Red Sea remains out of bounds for most ships amid attacks by Yemen’s Houthi groups on vessels in protest against the conflict, increasing transportation costs and keeping inflation high globally. The broader Middle East is in churn, with prospects of normalisation between major Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia and Israel now appearing distant. And, increasingly, the situation in Gaza is influencing how much of the world views the West’s narrative on the planet’s other major war, in Ukraine. Last week, as Russia’s war on Ukraine completed two years, the United States of America and the European Union unveiled fresh sanctions against Moscow and even companies from other nations — including one from India — ostensibly for working with the Kremlin’s war machine. Yet even as Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine continues, the unwillingness of the US and EU to meaningfully use their immense influence over Israel to make it stop its horrific killings in Gaza undermines their efforts to galvanise the Global South against Moscow.

The US government claims, through calculated leaks, to be unhappy with Benjamin Netanyahu’s pursuit of the war, which has killed nearly 30,000 people, more than half of them women and children. Yet, Israel’s biggest weapons supplier, the US, wants the Congress to send still more money and arms to its warring ally. At the United Nations, the US continues to use its veto to block calls for a ceasefire — even as it is increasingly isolated in the Security Council. Amid the carnage in Gaza, US State Department spokespersons are humiliated daily by journalists and their probing questions, exposing the wide gulf between Washington’s avowed support for human rights and international law on the one hand and its steadfast defence of a country violating those values around the clock for more than four months now on the other. There is a line of thought that argues that the US’s inertia is also adversely affecting the West’s ability to engage proactively to end the hostilities in Ukraine. Against this backdrop, it is difficult for Western politicians and the Ukrainian government to argue that the rest of the world should fall behind them in taking on Russia. The West’s blood-stained hypocrisy helps Moscow cloud its own atrocities in Ukraine and exposes the hollowness of the rules-based order that the US claims to champion but is guilty of defiling.

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