Sovereign equality

Treat all countries with respect

The golden age of European nations after the Renaissance led to centuries of their global domination. After World War II, this was replaced by American hegemony.

There is a modern twist to this as the West yet again tries to reimpose its values and practices in a version of neocolonialism (Europe must weigh how far to go in imposing its values on Asia: Ng, Nov 23).

As noted by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, Europe has been through great upheavals. But this has not made its nations more astute in the handling of geopolitical or social issues.

The democracy European nations practise is not demonstrably better than the strong central governance that many Asian nations institute.

On the ground, Europeans may not enjoy a higher quality of life than the better-run nations of Asia.

Even as the West expounds a policy of globalisation, good business practices and universal responsibility for every nation's actions, it practises embargoes, fails to sign globally beneficial climate declarations, exploits cheap labour, and sells to the world through online platforms but resists taxation.

Under the United Nations Charter, all members have sovereign equality. Treat all with respect without any accompanying patronising.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2021, with the headline 'Treat all countries with respect'. Subscribe