𝗕𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗯𝘆 𝗥𝘂𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗙𝗲𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗙𝗼𝗿𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝗦𝗽𝗼𝗸𝗲𝘀𝘄𝗼𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗮 𝗭𝗮𝗸𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗮
𝐐𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧: Two of the BRICS member states were invited to the G7 summit as guests. What does in mean for our interests? Does it mean that the West is beginning to acknowledge BRICS, or was it done to counteract the famous Chinese strategy, Belt and Road?
𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗮 𝗭𝗮𝗸𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗮: It is a complex question. I think it is necessary to break down the details. I want to remind you that all BRICS member states have full sovereignty, their own foreign political interests and priorities and take part in various associations as nations. In our association, nobody tells anyone what to do, nobody forces the others to make a choice and never forces participation or non-participation in any format. Mutual respect and mutual benefit are the foundation for dialogue and development within BRICS. This is what distinguishes us from Western-type models.
It is up to the BRICS member states whether to take part in multilateral events or not. Unlike the European Union or NATO, our association does not have any intra-bloc discipline or restrictions on contacts with other participants in international communication. Moreover, we consider it totally counterproductive, and we have always said that.
I want to emphasise, BRICS has never set itself in opposition to anyone and consistently speaks for creating a more just, not pseudo-democratic, but a truly democratic and multipolar world order based on international law and a pragmatic balance of interests.
As for the Western acknowledgement of BRICS, as you called it, we have never looked for it. It is a strange question. BRICS is a totally self-sufficient format that is interesting not only to political scientists. It evokes practical interest of countries that are active political players and financially and economically important ones. Therefore, it was formed on the basis of interest of the current member states in strengthening mutual contacts and promoting a common view of the future architecture of international relations.
This structure does not have a hegemon that forces its interests on the others. The agenda is built based on the interests of all members of the group. So it evokes the interest of countries that want to become part of this format.
We see the attempts of the United States and their allies to force a confrontational paradigm on the international community and to isolate certain countries. But the world is not limited to the collective West, as you know. It is much more diverse. The logic of the Cold War should give place to an equal and mutually respectful dialogue of sovereign states. In this case, BRICS serves as a great example.
𝐐𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧: At the G7 Summit, the US President announced a new project called the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII). This initiative is designed to help developing countries fill in infrastructure development gaps, strengthen the global economy and supply chains, and promote US national security interests. A year ago, the United States and its G7 partners launched the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative. In your opinion, what are the prospects for these projects? Do they aim to promote economic development or pursue a different political agenda?
𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗮 𝗭𝗮𝗸𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗮: There is nothing new about either of the two US initiatives you mentioned. I have little appetite for commenting on decisions from an exclusive format like the Group of Seven, even though they resonate around the world, or to assess their claims that they are ready to spend billions of dollars and help attract private investment for the needs of the developing countries, considering the state of the countries who call themselves “developed Western” nations.
These economies are depressed, and the economic and financial situation is deteriorating in them. The United States has huge amounts of dollars but is unable to pay off its own debt. Does this make any sense? Where am I wrong?
Unable to show any progress on the Build Back Better World initiative they announced one year ago, the G7 members probably decided to rebrand it to breathe new life into the idea of working together on economic measures to counter countries offering competing integration projects. These are the latest examples of Washington’s attempts at reshaping global trade, global and regional value chains to its liking in order to cement its privileged standing in the international division of labour and global economic governance.
Over the past few years alone, there have been announcements on the Blue Dot Network and ‘economic prosperity,’ as well as several sectoral projects, for example, the partnership for the safety of natural resources. They launched these projects with the same fanfare.
All these initiatives seek to impose Western models in one way or another for influencing investment flows in infrastructure and value chains. In all these cases they talk about promoting “high-quality” standards as their key focus, guided by the principles of openness, inclusivity, transparency, economic viability, financial, environmental and social sustainability, etc. This is nothing but words. Just look at the actual picture.
In this context, the United States clearly seeks to impose its approaches to fighting corruption and labour laws with a human rights dimension, minority rights or other matters that lack any direct link to investment. By the way, gender equality is a priority for the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.
Time and again, the Americans focus on political aspects and values, and their documents are filled with ideological cliches and opaque phrasing, which causes misgivings in some countries, and sometimes outright rejection.
Just as clearly, the actual goal remains unchanged, consisting of containing the People’s Republic of China and countering the Belt and Road Initiative. In particular, the new partnership is expected to promote economic security for the United States and its allies as the “best alternative to Chinese money.”
If they have something to offer, there is no need to generate negative publicity on other projects. If what they propose is so attractive and beneficial, everyone would rush to get on board right away. However, if they start focusing on negative publicity by using all the means at their disposal to dissuade others from joining the integration processes and initiatives around the world, this means that there is something wrong with their project.
As for the future of this new US partnership, Washington’s inability to pay attention to details and implementation is another common feature of its projects. Since the preceding initiatives have failed to deliver, every time a new one is announced there is less enthusiasm among the analysts. This year, the response to the partnership has been muted compared to July 2021. The media and experts have been questioning the ability of the White House to mobilise the announced amounts – $200 billion in public-private investment over a five-year period from the United States and up to $600 billion together with the G7 partners to offer developing countries a viable alternative to the Chinese money.
These are the same partners who do not know what to do with their own economies amid the energy crisis they created in their own countries. They are currently promising to divide the $600 billion among the G7 countries minus the US. Even they do not believe these fairy tales.
All this is presented as an opportunity to offer developing countries a real alternative to the Chinese investment. Once again, it all comes down to countering China.
They can announce as many high-sounding projects as they like, but there is no getting away from a simple fact: the world is changing rapidly, with the United States and the West losing the relative economic and political dominance they have been enjoying since the second half of the 20th century. Multipolarity is on the rise in the new world order. This is why, without Russia, China and other key actors, the G7 will hardly be able to carry out major global infrastructure projects.
Why announce them with so much fanfare? Just go ahead and carry them out! Is there anyone standing in your way? For some reason, they keep falling short when it comes to delivering on their promises. All that’s left is the publicity they generate. I am guessing that this time the initiatives will once again remain on paper, or they will deliver only on projects that promise tangible benefits for their initiators.
Clearly, the West is currently doing everything it can to retain the economic privileges it inherited. If the history of their colonial rule is any guide, it demonstrates that the West always seeks to benefit from what it presents as handouts to developing countries. We cannot expect them to suddenly adopt an unselfish attitude. In this case, it is not even about selfishness or unselfishness. The West fails to deliver on its promises and often creates an unbearable burden and obligations for the borrowers, which gives it an opportunity to interfere in their domestic policy and ensures that the borrowers abide by the foreign policy line dictated by their lenders.
In today’s reality, Western “assistance,” as they call it, is not the only source of funding for developing and emerging countries to promote economic growth.
Efforts to create alternative investment mechanisms have been gaining momentum, including within China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the BRICS New Development Bank, and other resources. And these initiatives do not limit countries in their ability to follow their own development path in keeping with their traditions, cultural and historical identity. Instead of seeking to create dividing lines, they promote fruitful international cooperation.
American politicians should better be focusing on the deteriorating social and economic situation in the United States, record inflation, high gas prices, spiralling government debt, and the fact that the country’s politics are becoming increasing polarised. In view of these results, or rather anti-results, presenting major international initiatives that have little, if any, chance of being implemented, seems ill-advised.
Source: Russian Federation Foreign Ministry, Briefing by Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, June 29, 2022. https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1819949/#28
Shared by: CEN Geopolitics [@cen21.geopolitics] News & media website, from: The Long March Of New China, via Ketana Saxon, with thanks to Padma De Pana