2011.10.12 , Valdaiclub
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Russia’s Ambassador to India Vadim Lukov described the BRICS as a “wave of the future.” This formula deserves to be included in Russia’s official position as well as those of the other BRICS countries.
But for this new wave to cleanse and improve the world instead of just dissipating as it hits the shore or fragmenting as it crashes against the rocks, we must always keep in mind the dichotomy propelling the group forward: BRICS is a global alliance of regional powers. Unfortunately, analysts conventionally regard the world as a collection of regions rather than as a whole. Even China’s global influence is not keeping pace with its growing analytical potential. As for Russia, whatever globalist thinking can be found is rudimentary and left over from the Soviet era.
The BRICS must learn to appreciate their global role, to turn into an active global force – not only responding to issues as they arise but architects of the new world order.
The global financial system’s exhausted potential is one of the key issues of our time. A premeditated change in that system would harm its main beneficiaries who also define its condition.
Therefore, the BRICS’ potential to make a difference as part of international organizations is limited to minor improvements. Any major steps will always be blocked because they risk cutting dominant countries’ incomes.
This means the focus must be shifted to building our own financial institutions, albeit with limited authority at this stage. Life itself is prodding us in this decision: for example, no longer using the U.S. dollar in international transactions requires that we hedge our currency risks. It is time we started preparing to create a different reserve currency to replace the dollar.
But, while addressing specific issues we should not overlook the strategic goal of moving from a speculative to a production based economy with global reach.
It is also important to restore international law, currently obscured by the smoldering ruins of Libya. Although breached by NATO’s previous aggressive campaigns against Yugoslavia and Iraq, it survived as long as there remained someone to defend it. In Libya, no one came forward, and eventually what little remained of it was no more.
And the most disastrous consequence is that, without international law, the only way a state can defend itself from bomb attacks of the “international community” is by building nuclear weapons.
If we rely on civilized principles rather than a primitive survival instinct, we must be able to settle conflicts between the BRICS nations through group efforts rather than with the help of outsiders like the United States or Papua New Guinea. International law should be restored as a force within global politics. This is what makes the outcome of the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ September 2011 meeting on Libya and Syria so important.
Our alliance is rooted in the nature and interests of our respective societies, in their similar positions and concerns, as well as in the global threats that face us all.
The key event of the past decade was multinational corporations’ breaking free of national governments’ control, along with that vast group of people involved in their operation. Although it was assumed that they acted in U.S. interests, they have spun off and developed into a global management class that is opposed to state per se. Our keen awareness of the value contained in our sovereignty helps us effectively resist their influence.
There is a new global threat out there, because, in addition to home-bred hackers, governments and global organizations are now active on the web. U.S. Cyber Command is now headed by a general who combines extraordinary intellect with an unhealthy inclination to risk-taking. This suggests we should keep a cooperative lookout on the Internet.
To perform its natural global functions, the BRICS forum should opt to develop into an organization.
The focus groups currently discussing the various different industries or issues should grow into standing committees capable of reaching decisions that are binding for all members.
We need a mechanism to plan and approve our expansion path in such a way that it does not pose problems for the other BRICS members, at once benefitting the group and the specific nation involved.
BRICS is growing out of bilateral contacts, and it is time we started exploiting this synergy by moving to multilateral relations.
Mikhail Delyagin, Doctor of Economics, Director of the Globalization Institute.