BRICS Foreign Ministers Hold Preparatory Meetings in South Africa

Western states pressure ANC government to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin

BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting in RSA
BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting in RSA.

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Several foreign ministers of states belonging to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit visited Cape Town beginning on June 1 to hold discussions on the future plans of the economic alliance.

Much speculation occurred among the imperialist states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) over the issues related to the United States proxy war in Ukraine and the possibility of the attendance of President Vladimir Putin at the BRICS Summit in July.

South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Dr. Naledi Pandor, responded to questions from the media regarding a recent measure implemented by the African National Congress (ANC) government which provides diplomatic immunity to all heads-of-state visiting the country. She emphasized that South Africa was a sovereign state which makes its own decisions as it relates to visitors.

This imperialist generated controversy over the legal status of President Putin in countries whose governments are signatories to the Rome Statute further exposes the hypocrisy of the West, particularly the United States. Washington has never been a signatory of the Rome Statute and therefore is not subject to the edicts of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Nonetheless, the White House and State Department often evoke the ICC as a propaganda tool in their attempts to wage political and economic attacks on governments which they do not agree with on critical issues.

None of the BRICS countries have either taken sides with the U.S. or condemned the position of the Russian Federation which characterizes its involvement in Ukraine as a “special military operation.” The current phase of the war has been going on since February 24, 2022, resulting in the imposition of unprecedented draconian sanctions against Moscow by the western capitalist states in Europe and North America.

Almost all corporate and government-sponsored news stories emanating from Western Europe and North America are antagonistic towards Russia and its allies. Major networks operating from these geopolitical regions, through their coverage of the developments over the last 15 months, have falsely predicted the economic collapse of the Russian Federation due to the sanctions. The general editorial tone of the corporate and western-controlled media advances the notion that Moscow is isolated from most people and governments around the world.

Yet the BRICS states represent 3.27 billion people, some 44% of the global population. At the same time, more countries are seeking to enter the BRICS Summit as full members and as allies.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent a representative to the recent BRICS ministerial meeting in Cape Town. They have expressed an interest in joining the alliance—which since the escalating Cold War by the imperialist states against Russia and the People’s Republic of China—appears to be evolving into a political coalition against the western industrialized states.

BRICS states have called for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Eastern Europe where the NATO governments have poured well-over $115 billion to bolster the armed forces of Ukraine. In recent weeks, a much-anticipated counter-offensive by the Ukrainian military is being promoted daily in the western media in order to justify the massive spending on war when–due to inflation and the decline in real wages among workers—these resources should be going towards social spending to meet the needs of the proletariat and the oppressed peoples.

The state-owned Deutsche Welle media outlet in Germany—which is the largest economy on the European continent–recently said of the BRICS Summit:

“Since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine, the BRICS countries have only distanced themselves further from the so-called West. Neither India, Brazil, South Africa or China are taking part in sanctions against Russia. This has become increasingly clear with near-historic levels of trade between India and Russia, or in Brazil’s dependence on Russian fertilizer.

“‘Diplomatically, the war in Ukraine appears to have drawn a stark dividing line between an eastern-backed Russia and the West,’ political scientist Matthew Bishop from the University of Sheffield wrote for the Economics Observatory late last year. ‘Consequently, some European and U.S. policymakers worry that the BRICS may become less an economic club of rising powers seeking to influence global growth and development, and more a political one defined by their authoritarian nationalism.’”

Bourgeois Democracy and Imperialist War

This term utilized in the article, “authoritarian nationalism”, is designed to draw a line between the leading capitalist-imperialist states and the emerging economies. The label placed on the BRICS Summit members suggests that they are not democracies. However, these countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, all encompass deliberative and legislative bodies which debate issues and make decisions. Elections are held in all the BRICS states and simply because some of the countries have political systems which diverge from the western model does not mean that they are undemocratic and authoritarian.

In fact, the current U.S. bankrolling of the war in Eastern Europe has never been debated openly in the corporate media or within both Houses of Congress. Despite the consistent misrepresentation of the war in Ukraine within the U.S. media, recent polls indicate that support for this imperialist adventure aimed at weakening the Russian Federation has lost significant support over the last year.

A report published by Brookings grapples with the question of the decline of support for the Ukraine war in the U.S. by noting that:

“What explains such a drop? Perhaps the realization that there is no end in sight for the war at its first anniversary was sobering to some. But there is one variable that we have been measuring that could account for at least some of the drop. As we have shown in previous polls, the degree of support for Ukraine is highly correlated with the public’s evaluation of Ukraine winning or Russia losing. In the October poll, we noted stories stressing Ukrainian successes and Russian failures, which may have accounted for higher confidence in the outcome. In the newest poll, there is a marked drop in the assessment that Ukraine is winning, and Russia is losing — a drop that echoes the decline in the public’s preparedness to pay a price for supporting Ukraine: Overall, the assessment that Russia is losing fell from 48% in October to 37% in April, and the assessment that Ukraine is succeeding went from 43% in October to 26% in April. It is also notable that there were parallel drops in the assessments of both Republicans and Democrats.”

By dismissing all governments which oppose U.S. military interventions as being undemocratic, they are implicitly saying that these geopolitical regions involved in BRICS and others in the Global South are not worthy of the diplomatic consideration of Washington and its allies. Sanctions are utilized as acts of war which have in the past resulted in the deaths of millions in countries such as Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan.

BRICS represents an attempt to breakaway and even delink from the hegemonic system of western imperialism controlled by Washington and Wall Street. Considering that the status of the U.S. is at stake in this struggle, it is inevitable that military clashes between the Pentagon and other geopolitical centers will impact the reconfiguration of the international relations of production and economic power.

BRICS Foreign Ministers Closing Statement Defy Imperialist Militarism

There was agreement among the BRICS foreign ministers to continue the efforts of the organization. Dilma Rousseff, the former President of the Republic of Brazil, was appointed to lead the New Development Bank at its 8th Annual Meeting in China, a BRICS initiative, whose objective is to provide alternative financing for projects within its member-states.

The NDB has sustainable development and national infrastructure capacity as some of the main objectives of the institution. This financial entity is specifically geared towards what they say are “emerging markets”, which indicates that its thrust will be channeled towards the states of Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.

In specific reference to the security situation in Eastern Europe, number 18 in the 30 points closing document, upholds the necessity of ending the Ukraine war through diplomatic channels along with ensuring the flow of agricultural products from Russia and Ukraine to the other geopolitical regions of the world.

The language of the document reads as follows:

“The Ministers recalled their national positions concerning the situation in and around Ukraine as expressed at the appropriate fora, including the UNSC and UNGA. They noted with appreciation relevant proposals of mediation and good offices aimed at peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy. They called for the full and effective implementation of both the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the Secretariat of the United Nations on promoting Russian food products and fertilizers to the world markets and stress the importance of allowing grains and fertilizers to continue to reach those most in need.”

Therefore, if six governments representing far more people than exist in the North America and Western European regions are publicly calling for an end to the war–in reality–it is the U.S. and its imperialist allies which are becoming more isolated internationally. What is the major danger to the BRICS countries and others within the Global South is the determination by the imperialist states to maintain their hegemony despite the threat of world war. Consequently, the struggle for genuine independence and sovereignty is also a question of war and peace.

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