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Don’t abandon democracy elsewhere to save it in Ukraine

By Pankaj Mishra

27 Feb 2023 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

Western countries should not legitimize authoritarian rulers in an effort to win new allies in the fight to contain Russia; this would repeat a Cold War-era mistake, argues Bloomberg's Pankaj Mishra.

A year after Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, many observers in the West are finally waking up to the reality that most of the world doesn't view the war the way they do. Western sanctions, undermined by noncooperative Asian, African and Latin American countries, have not only failed to deter Russia from devastating Ukraine. They have helped Vladimir Putin pose as an anti-imperialist and present Russians to people in the Global South as fellow historical victims of the West.

A new report by the European Council on Foreign Relations warns Western leaders that they should abandon their high-flown rhetoric - "don't make it all about democracy" - and instead seek to build a new world order in partnership with India, Turkey, Brazil, and other emerging powers. Western leaders should treat these countries as "new sovereign subjects of world history."

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