War in Ukraine: Revenge of the South

Three Rafale fighters of the Indian Air Force will fly over Paris, following the Patrouille de France. Two hundred and fifty Indian soldiers will then parade on the Champs-Elysées, alongside the French troops. On Friday 14 July, Emmanuel Macron will reserve full honors for the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Despite his authoritarian drift, the latter has never been so courted on the international scene. After visits to Washington at the end of June, then to Paris, Modi will receive in New Delhi in September the leaders of the twenty main economies of the world – including Russia – during the G20 meeting which India is presiding this year. He will have already attended the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit in Johannesburg in August. Advocate of “multi-alignment”, the Indian prime minister is eager to speak to the American president, Joe Biden, as well as to the Russian head of state, Vladimir Putin. He has established himself among the key personalities of the southern hemisphere, this new “continent” that the war in Ukraine has brought to light.

Since the first hours of the Russian aggression, on February 24, 2022, a critical mass of countries has demonstrated their willingness to keep their distance, or equidistance, from the two warring parties, Moscow and Kiev, as well as from the latter’s western allies. Three days later, to the United Nations Security CouncilWhile Washington and Paris have called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on Ukraine, the UAE has refrained from supporting the initiative despite military agreements binding it to the United States and France. On March 2, 2022, during this General Assembly, thirty-five countries – including China, India and seventeen African countries, including Algeria and South Africa – also played the abstention card, refusing to demand that Russia “immediately cease using force against Ukraine”. Since then, signs of distrust have accumulated which bear witness to the affirmation of the southern hemisphere.

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This new constellation of states, home to more than half of the world’s population, has an ancient name. In 1969, an American anti-Vietnam War activist, Carl Oglesby, denounced this conflict as the culmination of “the domination of the North over the South of the world”. With these terms he designated the geopolitical entities that the French demographer and economist Alfred Sauvy had baptized ” Third World “ in reference to the “third estate” of the Ancien Régime, on the eve of the French Revolution, in 1789. These developing countries, concentrated in the southern hemisphere, were then trying to distance themselves from the two blocs in the midst of the Cold War: a to the east the countries of the Warsaw Pact grouped around the Soviet Union, to the west those of the Atlantic Alliance, under the American flag.

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