The effusive rhetoric on display in recent high-level meetings between Russian and Chinese officials masks a significant vulnerability in their strategic partnership: Although both sides champion the creation of a multipolar world order, their actual cooperation on the ground lags far behind, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.
Despite recent economic troubles, Chinese President Xi Jinping still has ambitions to present China as an alternative model of development for the rest of the world through its Global Development Initiative. Though the GDI’s focus is scaled down from the BRI’s emphasis on huge infrastructure projects, its conceptual aims are broader.
Several recent articles have questioned the validity of the concept of the “Global South” and even call for the retirement of the term altogether. But instead of dismissing the term, it’s important to clarify what the Global South is and is not, and to demonstrate the shortcomings of the most widely used arguments against the concept.