No, Africa has not rejected the West

Spiked! is a magazine I like, and Joel Kotkin is an ace writer.

But in his observance about what's going on in Africa for Spiked magazine, he got the framing of one fact a tad off-kilter:

The Western democracies appear united in their support for Ukraine, but they may also be losing the bigger, more consequential battle for the loyalties of the developing world. Virtually no developing country – including democracies like India, Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa – has chosen to take steps opposing Russia’s aggression (in fact, South Africa may have joined Iran in sending weapons to Moscow). This is a stark reflection of the West’s waning influence.

The West is losing not because the developing world wants to genuflect to Vladimir Putin, or to his liege lord, Xi Jinping. Instead, we are seeing a growing disconnect between Western ‘values’, including on critical issues like food and energy production, and the needs of developing countries, many of which have struggled since the pandemic.

All true. What's more, greenie hokum is identified as a principal culprit:

It’s not that Africans are indifferent to their environment. It is simply that, as Nigerian vice-president Yemi Osinbajo has noted: ‘No country in the world has been able to industrialise using renewable energy.’ Banning fossil fuels just means that developing countries will struggle to follow in the footsteps of the developed world, notably those in East Asia.

Fundamentally, the green movement represents the worldview of rich-nation elites who now feel able to pivot towards expensive alternatives. In contrast, India, the most important and potentially powerful developing country after China, has made no secret that it plans to develop coal and other fossil fuels as part of its drive to industrialise.

The West expects the rest of the world to implement green-energy requirements through various mechanisms and channels such as development aid, financial support, bilateral and multilateral agreements, and investments tied to ESG (environmental, social and governance) requirements. However, what is ignored by these rich nations is that climate change is not considered a pressing issue by Africans. According to polling conducted by Afrobarometer, a pan-African research network, the most pressing issues facing Africa are unemployment, health and education.

In other words, as Kotkin and his co-author, Bheki Mahlobo, observe, these countries need growth.

They don't need greenie virtue-signaling. They don't need lectures, and they certainly don't need development aid. It's growth or beat it.

That's where a lot of us here in the West would question this detail of the thesis. 

Is greenie energy really what most of us in the West want? The greenie idea, propagated by billionaires in their private jets and globalist bureaucrats at their multilateral conferences, may be coming from the West, but they're a wealthy elite subset of the West, along with their allies in universities, among suburban women, and among ignorant young people. They're all enamored of these nonsensical ideas, some of which, ironically, originate from third-world intellectuals who hate the West. These characters who blame and hate the West for their own failures can be found by the dozens in the writings of V.S. Naipaul, who couldn't stand these leftists either. For years, they've been saying that the West is an exploiter, the West must stop growing, the West must pay reparations, the West must go green to restore paradise, and other Rousseauvian drivel.

The rest of us in the West loathe these ideas as much as the Africans do, and we are the West, too -- the part of the West that like the West, that embodies the West, that holds the West as a desirable ideal. We may not have significant power now, but that may change. President Trump embodied this no-apologies love for the West, and these voters embraced it. The West was built on economic growth, and most of us in that camp would like to keep the growth coming because it works, and something that ain't broke shouldn't be fixed. Those who promote greenism either take economic growth for granted or don't know where growth comes from. Like Joe Biden, they think we can shrivel our way to prosperity through virtue-signaling green.

Africans see right through that from living on the sharp end, and seeing how nightmares like Sri Lanka's collapse happened under the globalist thumb, and it's no surprise that they say 'no.' 

Kotkin and Mahlobo see a connection between the greenie agenda foisted onto the developing world by Western elites, and the developing world's willingness to oppose the entire West, which has merit:

These factors have underpinned the developing world’s reluctance to embrace the Ukrainian cause. As the West puffs up its collective chest, China, an emerging financial as well as trade giant, has become Africa’s largest trading partner as well as its leading creditor. Russia has strengthened its trade relations with African countries through energy partnerships (including on nuclear power), military cooperation and technology transfers.

But the growing divergence between the developing world and the rich West also extends beyond just economics. Many ideals that have recently taken hold in the Western world will likely lead Africa, India and other developing countries to seek other partners. This includes such things as the rise of wokeness and an increasingly disdainful view of traditional values.

They are spot on as to the origins of the problem, too:

In a recent survey of cultural attitudes, it turns out that Protestant Europe is the most secular and ‘modern’ part of the world, followed by Catholic Europe and the English-speaking world. The West functions economically as an ‘empire’, but seems to detest its own culture and heritage. This has made it harder to defend those Western values which really are worth propagating – such as democracy, free speech, racial equality and sexual freedom. On the other end, the most traditionalist countries are located in Africa, the Islamic world and even Orthodox Europe, reflecting Russia’s imprint. In much of the world, Western liberal values seem sadly out of place. In some places they are outright resented, such as in countries like Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania, among others, where homosexuality is outlawed.

But what they call the West may not be the West, at least not all of it.

If Western elites hate the West, well, then they aren't the West in any true sense. They are just globalist creeps. Africans are rejecting that bunch, but in their embrace of growth, they are actually embracing the West.

The MAGA movement succeeded and may still succeed in the U.S. based on its love for the West. Once its power is secured, there's a high likelihood that Africa will embrace the West, as it did when President Trump was president, too. Trump was all about making America great again, but the message resounded throughout the developing world from it that it was their job to make their countries great again, too. Trump never had a problem with other countries for embracing authentic, non-Sorosian, non-greenie Western values -- he often praised them. When he took America on its pro-growth path, accompanied by zero apologies for embracing Western values, he truly embraced the West, and the rest of the world came with him.

The same will happen naturally should Trump become president again. It's not Western values that the developing world, including Africa, is rejecting, it's just the deviant Soros version of Western values. Those distorted West-hating values are as loathed here as they are in Africa.

Image: Hush Hush, via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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