The following speech was given by H.E. Donald Ramotar (Guyana), Former President of Guyana during Panel 1 “The Strategic Situation After the Historic BRICS Summit” at the international Schiller Institute Conference “Let us Join Hands with the Global Majority To Create a New Chapter in World History!”
“Prospects and Challenges post BRICS Summit”
The just concluded BRICS Conference in South Africa will certainly go down as an historic event. This is so because it could very well be the beginning of the end of Neo-colonialism and the advent of a new era of economic liberation. This is something that Patriotic and Nationalist leaders of the Global South had longed for.
This was something that many countries and progressive leaders had been pondering for a long time. We have suffered for so long by the massive manipulation of International institutions, such as the World Bank and the IMF which became instruments of oppression used by the US. Even the United Nations was known to be mis-used on several occasions e.g. in the murder of Patrice Lumumba and more recently the invasion of Iraq and Libya.
However the issue that made them necessary was the use of the US dollar as the pre-eminent currency to carry out international trade. This gave the US authorities enormous power and influence in the global economy.
This United States used its position in the international economy to impose its positions on other countries.
If it did not like the policy of any state it was quick to impose sanctions on those states.
The longest sanctions have been imposed on Cuba. This has created great hardships on the people of that island. The main objective of the sanctions is to ensure that Cuba’s socialist system does not succeed.
Over the years this became a powerful weapon in the hands of the U.S. Today the people of Venezuela and Nicaragua are laboring under heavy sanctions. Iraq were heavily sanctioned during the time of Saddam Hussein and its cost them dearly. More than ½ million children did became of those sanctions. US secretary of State Madeleine Albright said then that it was worth killing all those children among others.
They have seized billions of dollars from Iran, Afghanistan and many other states.
Indeed, they weaponized the dollar using it to raid and rob other states and even individuals.
They felt so sure about their ability to destroy and/or inflict heavy damage on countries that they placed that in their planning to destroy Russia.
So, when they pushed Ukraine to provoke Russia into a conflict they were not only depending on their military might but also on their sanctions.
Recall President Biden’s boast about imposing that mother of all sanctions on Russia. They felt that Russia could not withstand such comprehensive sanctions which included the stealing of Russia money that were held in U.S Banks.
Russia’s response showed that the sanctions could be defeated. In my view the demand by Russia to be paid in Rubles for its oil and other commodities was most responsible for exposing the sanctions and making it ineffective.
Russia began trading with other countries using their respective currencies. The system is working. Moreover, it offers all nations a greater degree of economic freedom.
Other countries, including allies of the U.S have recognized this and have appreciated the wisdom of this. Added to the greater independence is the recognition that the U.S can seize any countries savings that are held in U.S banks.
Trading in their own currencies and eventually creating a new currency for foreign trade among BRICS and states is demonstrating a strong viability.
This movement has great possibilities and is likely to spread even wider.
Other systems are coming into existence that will facilitate this for want of a better word, independence movement. This includes finding alternatives to the SWIFT system and other in Banking arrangements. The BRICS Bank has the possibility of offering a new kind of relations among all nations. This is particularly attractive to the Global South.
While recognizing the potential that the BRICS arrangements offer, we must not allow ourselves to fall into false sense of security. we must see this as a struggle and the possibilities are so great that they are worth fighting for.
Let us not believe that it would be smooth sailing. If we agree that this would be a struggle then we must examine the vulnerabilities of the BRICS and anticipate that the US and its NATO allies would strive to take advantage of anything to frustrate and defeat this movement.
We must be aware that unity with in the group even on limited objective is most important. Without doubt the NATO group would use any vulnerability it could find.
In the first place I see that India would be a target to work on. This is so because of the border issue which exist between China and India. It was rather disappointing that at the same time when announcements were being made of the glorious possibilities of BRICS we saw that tensions have grown between those these two countries.
Mother major issue is the situation in the South China Sea. The U.S is ensuring that the countries are getting together to discuss the matter. Even a country like Vietnam is straddling its positions between China and the U.S.
The U.S is seeking out of any country with any issue with China and Russia and offering its supports to them. We see them at this moment working with Armenia one of Russia’s allies, because of the tensions with Turkmenia.
In Latin America we can expect massive overt and covert actions by the U.S to bring about regime change in many countries.
Recall that Mexico expressed strong support for BRICS initiative at an earlier period. It should be noted that did not materialized.
Argentina has great internal problems. The US has strong influence in the military of most countries of the region. They have strong links within the countries including the political parties. The government of Argentina is in a very weak position. You can bet your bottom dollar that the US is going to activate its contacts to bring about regime change.
The situation is a bit better in Brazil; however, we must not forget that Lula’s victory was very slim. Here too we have to expect US involvement to remove Lula.
These are some of the areas that could be exploited to stem the tide that the BRICS summit in South Africa has created.
Our first task is to minimize the issues in and among BRICS nations.
Whatever influence we have we should first direct it towards removing things that could be used to stymie BRICS advancement.
In my opinion the border issues are the most dangerous of all. We should encourage discussions among the BRICS states to assist in settling the contentions issues among the group members.
If we can succeed in removing those impediments then we will be contributing to the unity of the movement which is so essential for success.
Thank you for your attention!