Three days of BRICS events in Beijing had two courses of action
The first option (one that no doubt would have appealed more to the wider Russian public) was for the top leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to adopt an outcome document that would say in clear language: If a group of Western countries wants to deal with us through threats and especially economic sanctions, that is, bans and restrictions on trade and development, that is their business. We, the five countries, solemnly declare that we continue to work with each other without regard to any sanctions by the US or the EU. Sanctions are illegal and should remain the personal choice of one country or another, without imposing them on anyone else.
But, for one thing, these words were heard in all the previous declarations from previous BRICS summits. And this time too, if you look carefully at the final document – the Beijing Declaration – you will find a reference to the fact that the five reaffirm all their previous positions and call for trade according to the rules of the World Trade Organization.
But now the game is different, and loud statements cannot achieve anything. The West has launched a large-scale economic, psychological and other war against the two BRICS members – Russia and China – and in this environment we must work differently. In particular, it should be taken into account that secondary sanctions, when companies from third countries that are trying to do business with someone who has been hit by sanctions, should be dealt with most of all. It would be extremely foolish to challenge someone verbally and suffer damage in the process
The host country, China, has therefore chosen a different approach, more intelligent and more akin to a pawn gambit than a frantic breakout of pieces across the board.
In particular, conversations about what mechanisms would help to defuse sanctions came at a preparatory stage, with a thorough analysis of everything – their own, the closed payment systems, the newly created logistical links and everything else. Further, these conversations had to be expanded dramatically. In Beijing, the five leaders mostly set the tone for what was happening by video link, but there were business people from two dozen major emerging economies present live for the first part of the event – the business summit. And the concluding meeting, the high-level dialogue, was attended by senior leaders from a further 13 countries, all of them very significant states.
It should be noted that there had been many people wanting to join the BRICS before. But our five did not really want such a turn of events. The idea was that the leaders of entire regions, the real world elite, would gather here: South Africa was the voice of Africa, India was the voice of South Asia and so on. But things have changed, and in May this year the presiding country, China, launched a process of replenishing the ranks and turning the BRICS into something different and new – an alliance of virtually the entire developing world against the maddening West. This time there were very serious talks on such a subject, but it was decided not to make the results public. However, it is clear that many of those 13 who took part in the high-level dialogue are candidates. And some of those who did not take part.
But the public was given an extremely effective message. It was something like this: the West is building walls between peoples, holding back their economic development with its sanctions. And we, the alternative to the West, are building bridges and roads, bringing people closer to each other. Moreover, we are good at it, while the West, having played with sanctions, fell into its own trap and faced economic catastrophe. For us it is vice versa.
And on this topic a lot of strong facts and figures emerged at and around the Beijing summit. For example, it does not matter how much global GDP the BRICS members produce. The important thing is that they accounted for 50% of global economic growth last year. So they are the ones who are driving themselves and the world forward and the West is playing the opposite role.
Or to be more specific: last year, trade in goods (excluding services) of just our five countries reached $8.55 trillion, an increase of 33.4 per cent. Such growth is sensational. All in all, it clearly shows where the epicentre of global development lies, where the future is being made.
Among the smart thoughts that flashed through all the Beijing meetings: the BRICS group has become a global platform for working out ways to move into the future. Paths are not declarative, but quite concrete. The final document of the meeting is full of specifics, i.e. references to the programs and mechanisms that are working in BRICS – in agriculture, new technologies, new types of energy, biotechnology. There are many such mechanisms, and more are being created. And above all in the financial sphere, which began to turn into an alternative to the West from the first year of BRICS work, that is, since 2006.
Russia was mentioned at the forum quite often. On the one hand, it gave its partners – above all China and India – enormous opportunities by supplying oil and gas at prices that have minimal relation to the West’s rabid energy market. In other words, we have provided the East with a huge advantage and competitiveness that, for example, Europe has deprived itself of by forcing Russian supplies out of its life. In response – since the sanctions were in place – various Chinese and Indians talked about entering our sector of trade networks to replace the ones that left. And they talked about many other things too, although less openly. And not only Indians or Chinese.
As for sanctions, recall that the BRICS group, since its inception, has been a mechanism to crack down on them – if they come up. So they did, and in earnest. And the strongest blow to them was not the condemnation of sanctions in regular declarations, but the complete absence of discussion. The entire course of the Beijing events sent a simple and clear message to the international community: sanctions? What are you talking about? We are doing well, we are talking about a sharp acceleration of cooperation and growth, and we are discussing new projects. And you can do whatever you want with your sanctions, we are not interested.
Dmitry Kosyrev, RIA
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