Foreign Affairs – May/June 2023 issue:
In Defense of the Fence Sitters
What the West Gets Wrong About Hedging
As countries in the global South refuse to take a side in the war in Ukraine, many in the West are struggling to understand why. Some speculate that these countries have opted for neutrality out of economic interest. Others see ideological alignments with Moscow and Beijing behind their unwillingness to take a stand—or even a lack of morals. But the behavior of large developing countries can be explained by something much simpler: the desire to avoid being trampled in a brawl among China, Russia, and the United States.
The Upside of Rivalry
India’s Great-Power Opportunity
For China, Russia, and the West, the last year has been one of fear and conflict. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, of people. It has prompted the United States and Europe to rearm and has pushed Moscow and Washington back into Cold War–style competition.