International Relations

The Origins and Importance of the Global South

The refusal of several important African, Asian, and Latin American countries to stand with NATO in the Ukraine crisis has pushed the phrase “Global South” to the fore once more.

What exactly is the Global South?

  • The phrase “Global South” refers to countries that are frequently referred to as “developing,” “less developed,” or “underdeveloped.”
  • It includes countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America that have higher levels of poverty, income inequality, and severe living circumstances than the “Global North.”

Historical Context

  • The phrase “Global South” was coined in 1969 by political activist Carl Oglesby, who contended that the Vietnam War represented a history of northern “dominance over the global south.”
  • Transition from Third World: Prior to the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, these countries were referred to collectively as the “Third World.”
  • Momentum and Context: The term acquired traction when the Cold War ended and the non-aligned movement rose to prominence.

Characteristics of the Global South

  • Lower-income Countries: The Global South consists mostly of lower-income countries in Africa, Asia, and South America.
  • Geopolitical Background: These countries have a history of imperialism and colonial control.
  • Many of these countries are in the process of industrialisation and have been designated as newly industrialised.
  • Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Mexico are prominent countries in the Global South due to their massive populations and economies.

Need for Classification Criticism of Previous Terms

  • The East/West duality, as well as the classification of countries as developed or developing, have been criticised for maintaining stereotypes and favouring Western ideals.
  • Cold War Context: Cold War alliances were related with the First, Second, and Third World classes.
  • Classification that is Broad and Inclusive: The phrase ‘Global South’ gives a larger classification based on a shared history of colonisation and similar socioeconomic indices.

The Global South is in the midst of the Ukrainian War

  • Cooperation between South and North: South-South cooperation has evolved as countries such as India and China challenge the current global order led by the United States.
  • The Rise of Asian Countries The North is called into question: The rise of Asian countries brings the idealisation of the North into question.
  • Classification Criticism: The Global South classification has been attacked for its broadness, resource accumulation interests, and marginalisation of Africa.The Global South’s Importance

India’s Role

  • India aspires to get the countries of the Global South together to take action.
  • Ability for advancement: Collaboration within the Global South has the ability to unlock substantial potential for advancement, such as technical and idea exchanges, the sharing of manufacturing best practises, and more.
  • Common problems: Energy security, justice, and the transition to a more sustainable energy system are common problems for the Global South, which India seeks to highlight.

Consolidation Challenges Debate over Climate Reparations

  • The ongoing debate over climate reparations has sparked controversy, with some arguing that given their expanding industrialization and historical carbon emissions, China and India should participate.
  • The Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War: The continuing Russia-Ukraine conflict has harmed LDCs, prompting them to align more closely with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • The United States’ dominance: Despite the shift to a multipolar world, the United States continues to dominate international politics, providing difficulties to the Global South’s consolidation.
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