Posted by Charles II on April 17, 2010
The tragically-misguided response of the United States to Honduras is a clear sign of a declining empire, sowing long-term enmities for short-term economic and tactical gains. But a new order is rising. In fact, they held a meeting. Beatriz Bissio, IPS News:
In the space of one day, Thursday Apr. 15, two meetings destined to have broad repercussions were held in Brasilia: the summits of the leaders of the IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) groups.
The futuristic design of the Brazilian capital, which just turned 50, was the symbolic setting for the two conferences aimed at modeling a different future, with an emphasis on the defence of multilateralism and the need for reforms in the United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
The fact that Brazil hosted the BRIC and IBSA gatherings confirms the influence of Brazil’s foreign policy and diplomacy and this country’s vocation to push debates on issues that were wiped off the international agenda by the neoliberal storm.
Some questions that have reemerged on the agenda are development with social justice, South-South cooperation, and the steady weakening of the dollar as a reference currency in trade transactions among emerging powers.
The coordination effort can also be interpreted as a determination to safeguard national interests and seek a new role in the formulation of proposals for overcoming the global financial and economic crisis that broke out in 2008.
IBSA and BRIC “are two important manifestations of a new order that is taking shape,” said Williams Gonçalves, a professor of international relations at the Rio de Janeiro State University and author of several books on the question.
Brazil has advantages in becoming the next rising world power. India and China are natural rivals. While India is truly a continental power, China has had periods of expansionism and is accordingly distrusted by nations like Japan and Vietnam (Japan, of course, had its own little experiment with expansionism). Russia is another of China’s natural rivals. But the only real rival of Brazil is the United States. And if the influence of the United States is declining, Brazil is the most likely of the emerging nations to fill the vacuum.
This is not to endorse this development. No earthly empire is benevolent. Terna Gyuse, IPS News:
“A part of the idea behind IBSA is to push for reform, but the reform is not about empowering smaller countries,” says Shawn Hattingh, a researcher at the International Labour Research Information Group in Cape Town.
“It’s about IBSA members getting greater voting rights (within the IMF and World Bank). It’s basically a power play within the existing system.” In Hattingh’s view, neither IBSA nor BRIC represent anything new for the majority of people living in the South.
China, he says, is locked in a dependent relationship with its major trading partner, the U.S., that limits its desire to press for deep changes. ..
[Candido] But would a global economy dominated by the newly emerging powers be worse?
Grzybowski says “maybe, maybe not.” China’s approach “is better than sending armies, as imperialists have done in the last five centuries,” for instance in Africa, recalling several stages of colonialism in that continent, and the damage caused by British, French and Portuguese forces.
The difference with China, he says, is that it tries to negotiate.
“(China) doesn’t send an army, but it is a new imperialist,” he said, comparing China to another rising power in the BRIC group, Brazil. In South America, “Brazilian companies are buying everything they can lay their hands on.”
So, how are they proceeding? Fabiana Frayssinet, IPS News:
Members of the business communities of Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa wasted no time in stating loudly and clearly what they were there for, ahead of the speeches their presidents will deliver at summit meetings this week.
Energy, information technology, infrastructure, food and agribusiness are the sectors that some 400 commercial delegates identified as priorities in terms of business opportunities.
These points of interest were defined at a meeting Wednesday of business leaders from the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) groups, in which economic statistics mattered more than country initials.
According to documents distributed at the IBSA-BRIC Business Forum in Brasilia, nearly 50 percent of global economic growth between 2000 and 2008 took place in the BRIC nations, and by 2014 this share is expected to reach 61 percent.
Nearly half the world’s population lives in the BRIC countries, which occupy more than one-quarter of the planet’s land area and produce 15 percent of global GDP.
Together, our countries have tremendous strength, said India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, in the upbeat tone shared by all participants.
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