This has been bugging me for a while now, because no one in the Avatar universe seems to be blaming Suyin for this. As Tenzin says, Suyin is the perfect person for the job of fixing the Earth Kingdom. She has the military strength, she has the resources, and she has the technology. The entire city of Zaofu is basically remaining prosperous and well-off while everyone else in the entire kingdom is starving and living in fear because of bandits. And this isn’t surprising because Zaofu is literally the definition of a gated community. The giant metal domes and the elite security team alone ensure that it remains so.
Suyin says she doesn’t want to help restore order because she doesn’t want to “impose her ideals on an entire nation”. That does not make any sense–is it impossible to provide economic and military aid in getting rid of the bandits without “imposing your ideals”? Her other concern is that they would be seen as conquerors–but to a people recently pushed into chaos and disorder, would it really matter? She wasn’t going to conquer them and anyway she would be bringing help, which would obviously have been welcomed. Suyin has also said she didn’t want to grab power for herself in helping the Earth Kingdom–which also makes no sense! There is already a successor to the Earth Queen lined up; she would actively have to take control like Kuvira did in order to assume this power. Suyin’s objections to helping the Earth Kingdom citizens make no sense! The Earth Kingdom was in dire need of assistance and Suyin turned aside for no reason. Suyin is also really the only person the Earth Kingdom could turn to–the other nations have their own business to attend to and frankly the Air Nation is too small to successfully carry out the job.
This brings us to Kuvira’s resentment of Suyin’s refusal to help. Kuvira obviously feels very passionately about this problem–she speaks out of turn to try and convince Suyin to change her mind, and you can hear it in her voice when she’s arguing that she really cares. She’s proud of Zaofu and its accomplishments. Kuvira must really look up to Suyin; she even styles her hair similarly to Suyin at this point–they’ve both got the wavy front tendril thing going. But this is a huge tipping point for Kuvira–she was raised and trained to become one of the best fighters in the world–and to do what? Practice some fancy dance choreography and close the domes to the outside world every night? Maybe fighting against Zaheer gave her a chance to see what she could really do. And obviously others in Zaofu felt the same way because they readily joined her cause. When Suyin says Kuvira “turned Baatar against her” I doubt it really was a “turning against” as much of an “awakening”. Baatar is the oldest of Suyin’s kids and probably saw the same things Kuvira and the rest of the guard did.
That’s why in Operation Beifong when Opal was so confused about why Kuvira would tear down the domes (although we all know why now) it should have been obvious! The domes of Zaofu were the symbol of the city being closed off to others–how it was an isolated sphere of progress and prosperity where the rest of the Earth Kingdom was barely surviving. Of course she would have torn them down–they are a symbol of everything Kuvira works against. Suyin was totally in the wrong and Kuvira had every moral right in this situation. The other world leaders should have condemned Suyin’s move and applauded Kuvira’s initiative here in the beginning, but no one seems to be holding Suyin in the wrong for this decision. She’s too busy blaming Kuvira for her betrayal than recognizing her initial failure to act.