Developing International Implications of the Ukraine War ­– by Robert Eales

Internationally, Western and allied nations consistently operate to aggressively support the defence of Ukraine in the name of promoting and protecting the sacred concept of sovereignty critical to the stable functioning of the Liberal International Order (LIO). Conversely, many countries within the Global South, a dividing international geopolitical term that groups former Cold War-era non-aligned – and often historically colonial – states, primarily advocate for diverging diplomatic approaches, variably shifting invasion blames to multiple parties and thereby indirectly legitimising Russian aggression. Such ill-defined and incoherent grandiose diplomatic plans, as proposed by Global South countries and other non-traditional international actors, are predominantly focussed on countering the United States’ and West’s geopolitical dominance, rather than suggesting good-faith attempts to aid Ukraine’s defence or restore regional stability.[1]

An example of this somewhat-nefarious phenomenon is Brazil’s recent call for Ukraine to compromise with Russia and accept partial defeat in the form of territorial concessions in order to end the conflict, and for an international clique of pre-selected Global South actors, primarily of BRICS – a lose counter-Western international organisation composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – origin, to oversee the peace process.[2] Such a coalition explicitly excludes Western nations in a status-driven posturing attempt to advance Brazilian and BRICS nations’ own geopolitical relevancies at the expense of Ukraine and the LIO.[3]

This divisionary trend will continue to define future geopolitics as the Cold War-era non-aligned movement returns to the international mainstream. As seen via Sweden and Finland’s recent decisive moves to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the organisation and broader Western community are presently experiencing a uniting period of galvanisation and unity, drawing an end to the past two decades’ identity crisis, while parts of the rest of the world arguably drift into more fractured circumstances.[4] Furthermore, due to the flawed nature of United Nations inaction at the start of the invasion, mainly due to the Russian role in the Security Council, the institution’s reputation and broader legitimacy have been irreparably harmed, negatively reflecting upon the rules-based LIO.[5]

Concluding the revived Cold War theme: European and Western nations, as well as other close international observers, have become, and will continue to be, significantly warier of economic and resource dependency with potentially-hostile adversarial powers. Instead, conscious policy shifts will prioritise immediate national security concerns over traditionally-established economic-oriented globalisation goals. This sweeping trend is currently unfolding in the form of deliberate future-oriented decoupling agendas pursued between the US and China, and between EU nations and Russia.[6]

[1] Krickovic, Andrej, and Richard Sakwa. “War in Ukraine: The Clash of Norms and Ontologies.” Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 22, no. 2 (2022).

[2] “Will Brazil’s Plan for Peace Talks on Ukraine Take Root?” The Dialogue. Accessed April 10, 2023.

[3] Prange, Astrid. “A New World Order? BRICS Nations Offer Alternative to West – DW – 04/10/2023.” Deutsche Welle, April 10, 2023.

[4] Forsberg, Tuomas. “Finland and Sweden’s Road to NATO.” Current History 122, no. 842 (2023): 89-94.

[5] Sayapin, Sergey. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: a test for international law.” Nature Human Behaviour 6, no. 6 (2022): 768-770.

[6] Garcia-Herrero, Alicia. “Slowbalisation in the Context of US-China Decoupling.” Intereconomics 57, no. 6 (2022): 352-358.

Robert Eales is a Global and International Studies (BGInS) undergraduate student, Carleton University