A Nobel Peace Prize Winner Sees Perils in the West ’s Focus on Ukraine War

ARTICLE – Juan Manuel Santos, a former president of Colombia, said the Ukraine war was “sucking all the energy” away from fighting other challenges, including climate change.

MUNICH — A Nobel Peace Prize winner from South America has warned that the West’s heavy focus on Russia’sinvasion of Ukraine risks alienating much of the rest of the world, which is dealing with the consequences of high erenergy and food prices stemming from the war.
“Ukraine is sucking all the energy, when there are more than 100 conflicts currently in the world,” said Juan Manuel Santos, the former president of Colombia. “There is a dissonance here” with the global south, he said. “And if this war prolongs itself, the risk of finding less and less support for it is very real.”

Mr. Santos spoke to The New York Times over the weekend on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, where leaders from the United States and other Western nations. He said that he told Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, during a visit to Kyiv in August “that you have to do more outside Europe to find and maintain support in Latin America and Africa,” given the economic costs of the war to the world’spoor.

Mr. Santos said that there is general recognition that Russia is the aggressor in Ukraine. “But realities change theperceptions of people,” he went on. “They’re concerned about the price of oil and lack of food. And when you say that,well, ‘Brazil can invade Colombia,’ they laugh, because it’s a hypothetical. They want their food.”

Other leaders in Munich also expressed worries about perceptions of the war in the global South, but Mr. Santos was considerably blunter about the extent of the problem.


Read the article written by Steven Erlanger on The New York Times.