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Chatham House Debates How West Can Restore Imperial ‘Rules-Based Order’

Baroness Ashton: “the former colonies are not listening to us anymore.” Credit: European Defense Agency

The British Monarchy is worried. On Feb. 2, its lead foreign affairs think tank, Chatham House, published no less than five articles debating what to do about the reality that the West has lost control of the majority of the world.

“Stop Taking the Global South for Granted,” Baroness Catherine Ashton, former EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, warned in a 2,000-plus word piece on this topic. Her premise: the former colonies are not listening to us anymore. They consider themselves independent and are looking for a global order which recognizes that. We better do something.

She, like several of the authors, views the refusal of the developing countries to back the West’s war on Russia after its February 2022 special military operation into Ukraine as the tipping point for the demise of their colonial system.

“This warns us that we must rethink relationships that the West has largely taken for granted and to set a new course for engagement…. [T]he West must understand [that] for many, the reliance on a colonial past based on aid and trade is insufficient to meet the demands of developing countries…. Historical links between European countries and parts of Africa, South America and Asia have largely unraveled as independent nations no longer defer to those who once colonized them.”

New Global Alliances Leave the West Behind,” former Canadian diplomat Arif Lalani laments in his contribution to the debate. He insists that “Western dominance of global power is undeniable,” but he does recognize that most nations no longer agree: “The West took for granted that the Euro-Atlantic advantage was self-evident—people wanted to be like us…. That premise no longer holds true.”

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