People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 17

April  24, 2011


BRICS Must Strengthen Multi-Polarity


PRIME minister Manmohan Singh, has returned from the Chinese city of Sanya after attending the first successful summit meeting of the BRICS Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The formalisation of the BRICS is welcome as it has the potential for emerging as a countervailing force at the global level to challenge the efforts by US imperialism to impose uni-polarity in world relations. The natural global tendency towards multi-polarity that emerged in the post-Cold War situation is sought to be negated by US imperialism in its pursuit of uni-polarity. However, the immediate impetus to hold this Summit seems to be different from this geo-political objective. More on this later.


Through these columns we have been arguing for some time now that India must take the lead in combining the two processes of multi-lateral relations, we are party to. On the one hand, the regular meetings of the foreign ministers of India, China and Russia and on the other hand the summit meetings of IBSA India, Brazil and South Africa, must be combined to create the BRICS.


This remains important in the present world situation. The resistance to democratise the United Nations mainly by the US is increasingly demonstrating the fact that this global body does not reflect the 21st century realities. These realities are radically different from the immediate post-Second World War situation in the Cold War bi-polarity. The BRICS could be an affective forum that can also catalyse a democratic re-structuring of the United Nations.


Further, the BRICS can play an important role in resisting the attempts to hijack global negotiations on important issues like climate change and the Doha round of negotiations under the WTO to strengthen US hegemony. Already the role played by the BASIC Brazil, South Africa, India and China at the Copenhagen Summit on climate change has to a large extent thwarted US designs on this score.


The efforts to prise open the markets of the developing countries to the highly subsidised exports of agricultural and dairy products from the developed countries have further intensified in the aftermath of the current severe global recession. In the interests of their own economies and more importantly the livelihood of millions that live off agriculture in the developing world, it is imperative that such efforts be resisted. The BRICS can play an important role in mounting such resistance in the on going Doha round of negotiations on agriculture and NAMA (Non-Agricultural goods Market Access).


Brazil, Russia, India and China as current members of the Security Council have abstained from the vote imposing a no-fly zone over Libya, which is interpreted by US imperialism and NATO as a licence for military intervention. The BRIC should however have gone a step forward in opposing it. However, such coordinated political positioning can emerge in the future as a check to imperialist hegemonic designs.


While these objectives define tasks for the future for the BRICS, its first summit, however appears to have taken place under the pervasive compulsion of the developed countries that need the cooperation of the emerging economies (read markets) to overcome the present severe global recession. The acronym BRIC was in fact coined by Jim O'Neil of the Goldman Sachs as a way to generate interest in the developing markets among the clients of the investment banks. Global finance in its relentless pursuit of newer markets spares no potential arena to sustain its profits. Notice the pervasive interest in micro-finance, clothed as a messiah for the unorganised poor in the developing and backward countries, but in true sense, a vastly expanding market for global finance to squeeze super profits from the most deprived sections of the world's population. This BRICS Summit may therefore have been hastened to meet the needs of the developed world in the present crisis, like the G-7 was expanded to G-20 in order to co-opt the emerging economies of the developing world into the efforts to overcome the current global crisis.


These are, in fact the contradictions of our times. While, imperialism seeks to use the emerging economies as its surest way out of the current crisis, the BRICS nevertheless has the potential to emerge as a global political initiative that can move the world towards a genuine multi-polarity opposed to US imperialism's designs of uni-polarity. The BRICS must, thus, strengthen its relations with other geo-political formations such as the Shanghai cooperation and the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America (ALBA) to achieve this objective.


(April 19, 2011)