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Archive for April 17th, 2010

Empire Rising

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.
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