Defensive West Smears Samarkand Summit

No Western reporting on the summit focused on an emerging world order that is leaving the U.S. on the outside looking in, writes Joe Lauria.

China’s President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018. (Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

At its peril, the West continues to dismiss a movement of most of the world seeking to break free of U.S. global domination which has dramatically accelerated since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

While Western media pushes the line that the whole world is standing with Ukraine and against Russia, the reality is quite different. In fact most of the world has not joined in the Western sanctions against Moscow. The result has been the emergence of an economic, financial and commercial system that is increasingly able to exist without the West.

The Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO)’s summit in the Uzbek capital of Samarkand last Thursday and Friday was a world historical event for the forces creating this separate world representing the majority of humanity. 

Major economic deals were concluded and Beijing and Moscow further strengthened their budding alliance. In what should be a worrying sign for Washington, many of its Middle East allies, which have also rejected U.S. pressure to sanction Russia, have applied to join the SCO.

How the West Covered It 

For years the West rejected overtures from Russia and China to collaborate in a multipolar world. But that would mean giving up its dominant position, maintained from overtly colonial days. Instead the U.S.-led West pushes for total domination.

So rather than acknowledge that its attempt to destroy Russia’s economy and bring down its government has instead led to economic chaos in the West and a threat to its global position, Western leaders are doubling down. 

By sanctioning Russian energy and other vital exports, and by shutting out its financial system, the West thought Russia would collapse. Instead Moscow has found markets in the world’s most populous nations so that its currency, its industry and its banking system have survived. 

The Western response to this growing challenge to its hegemony was reflected in the way Western media covered the Samarkand summit.  On top of the dismissive tone of its reporting came distortion of facts that misled its Western audiences to the significance of what Samarkand means to the future.

The Daily Telegraph began its report, headlined, “Isolated Putin left at Beijing’s mercy as his disastrous war backfires,” with an account about how Putin was humiliated because he was left waiting for the president of Kyrgyzstan.  With the headline, “Putin and Xi plot a new world order to challenge America’s might,” The Times of London took the same line, writing of “Russia’s dependence on China since its disastrous war in Ukraine.”

CNN’s report sowed seeds of doubt about the SCO’s unity, writing about the summit from Hong Kong that the “Ukraine war risks exposing regional divisions.” The New York Times report filed from Washington and Beijing, sought to portray the “limits” of “cooperation” between Russia and China.

None of these reports focused on an emerging world order that is leaving the U.S. on the outside looking in.

Western media instead seized on a few words uttered to try to frame  India and China as criticizing Russia’s war in Ukraine. They completely took out of context Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words that “today’s era is not of war.” CNN reported: 

“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to have directly rebuffed Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, telling Russian President Vladimir Putin that now is not the time for war.

In what was the latest in a series of setbacks for the Russian leader, Modi told him of the need to ‘move onto a path of peace’ and reminded him of the importance of ‘democracy, diplomacy and dialogue.'”

After Putin told Modi during their public comments that Ukraine refuses to negotiate, Modi said, according to the English translation on India’s Foreign Ministry website,

“I know that today’s era is not of war and we have spoken to you many times on the phone that democracy, diplomacy and dialogue are such things that touch the world. Today we will get a chance to discuss how we can move forward on the path of peace in the coming days.” 

It is clear that Modi was criticizing Ukraine for not negotiating, rather than criticizing Russia for the war. [Putin’s remarks in English interpretation]:

 

Chinese ‘Concerns’

The Western media also blew out of proportion a single word — “concern” — uttered by Putin regarding Chinese President Xi Jinping. The New York Times reported: “President Vladimir V. Putin acknowledged on Thursday that China had ‘questions and concerns’ about Russia’s war in Ukraine, a notable, if cryptic, admission that Moscow lacks the full backing of its biggest, most powerful partner on the world stage.”

The Chinese government-owned Global Times newspaper wrote in response: “Analysts said that Putin’s words about China’s balanced stance on the Ukraine crisis are objective, as China has always held the attitude of multiple concerns and understanding, and hopes to resolve conflicts peacefully.”

Blame

The West has itself mostly to blame. It pushed Russia for years to the point where Moscow finally had enough and responded with war. The West’s economic war pushed Russia to new markets in the East.

It may well be too late for the West to correct its course and accept earlier Russian and Chinese offers (if they are put back on the table) to create a more stable world. Western countries have instead chosen to denigrate more than half the population of the world. 

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and numerous other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe  

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8 comments for “Defensive West Smears Samarkand Summit

  1. Lois Gagnon
    September 22, 2022 at 17:26

    Washington is an impenetrable bubble of delusion convinced of its invincibility. What a rude awakening awaits its inhabitants and those whom it has unfortunately managed to indoctrinate. It’s a hard rain’s gonna fall.

  2. Nathan Mulcahy
    September 22, 2022 at 10:26

    Two related slogans that come to mind: “the west is lost”, and “go woke go broke”.

    BTW, who forces westerners to consume the BS that their legacy media spew? Nobody.

  3. Peter Loeb
    September 22, 2022 at 09:18

    An excellent article. For the record, the fact that Modi was blaming Ukraine is not sustained
    by the quote. It would have been indiscreet and undiplomatic for a nation to take a side in the blame
    game. (It is perfectly in order for Russia to do so and it should be noted that in his address from the
    Kremlin, Putin put much of the blame on NATO nations supporting Ukraine.)

    See John Kirakou’s article published separately.

  4. rosemerry
    September 22, 2022 at 01:35

    Thank you sincerely ,Joe. I avoid the MSM as much as I can (I am Australian and live in Macron’s France) and am only saved from doom by the sites not yet expunged by the orders of Ursula von der Leyen, leader of the “democratic” EU as being Russian propaganda. To see, instead of facts, the ramblings of Biden at the UNGA, which the USA of course is too high handed to respect as it has its own “rules -based order”, adds to the complete blanket of ignorance being imposed voluntarily by the allegedly free and fair media so many in the West rely on.

  5. Jeff Harrison
    September 21, 2022 at 23:42

    Couldn’t agree more, Joe. “The West” is in the process of sinking their own boat. Of course, it was Will Rogers who said “When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging”. The establishment in DC appear to have not caught on.

    • WillD
      September 22, 2022 at 01:55

      They seem to think that by digging deeper they’ll eventually come out on top. Perhaps they childishly think they’ll dig right through the planet to the other side. I prefer to think that they are in fact, subconsciously, digging their own graves.

  6. Cratylus
    September 21, 2022 at 18:53

    Another great post.
    The West is indeed trying to ignore it or put it down.
    And much of the mainstream peace movement in the West seems incapable of seeing this.
    Russia and China are joining with the Global South in its struggle to break free of the West.
    It is worth asking people who cannot stop the Russia bashing or Putin bashing, Which side are you on? Are you with the Caucasian neocolonial powers or the Global South?

    • michael888
      September 22, 2022 at 06:08

      There’s a mainstream peace movement in the West?

      That disappeared when Bush left office, and was taken over by the Russiagate conspiracy theory (which not surprisingly dove-tails nicely with the machinations involved in “bleeding out Russia.”)

      The US Puppet State of Ukraine (along with Honduras and Egypt) overthrew democratically elected governments (in Ukraine’s case elections that were monitored by the UN) and shelled fellow citizens (ethnic Russian Ukrainians, they call them “cockroaches” that must be exterminated by Biden’s UkroNAZIs) killing at least 14,000 in the Donbas, the vast majority the “cockroaches”. Where was the peace movement the last eight years? The people involved seem more like well paid lobbyists than people determined to hold Power accountable.

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