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We Must Support the Construction of a New Just World Economic Order!

Printable version / Version imprimable

by Helga Zepp-LaRouche,
president and founder of the International Schiller Institute

The summit of the BRICS countries, which will take place from August 22-24 in Johannesburg, South Africa, despite all Western attempts to disrupt it, will demonstrate to the whole world that a new world economic order has emerged, opening a new chapter in human history. Nations of the Global South, which already represent the vast majority of the world’s population, are expressing their effective resolve to end forever the past period of some 600 years of colonialism, and to establish an economic system that encourages the sovereign, equitable development of all states of this earth, the elimination of poverty, and the creation of a decent standard of living for all. We, the citizens of the Global North, must wholeheartedly congratulate this development and support it through practical cooperation!

A correct analysis of how this tectonic change in the strategic situation came about is essential. This formation of a new economic model is not the result of the work of “Russian trolls” or “Chinese aggression,” as the mainstream media would have us believe. Rather, it is the result of a huge strategic miscalculation by forces primarily in the U.S.A. and Great Britain, which, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, mistakenly saw themselves as the victors of the Cold War, and derived from this the license to impose their neoliberal economic model on a unipolar world, and to bring the various methods of “regime change” to bear upon all governments that do not want to conform to this “rules-based order.”

The historic opportunity of 1989, to establish what was then a perfectly possible peace order for the 21st century, was squandered and replaced by the U.S. neocons’ Wolfowitz Doctrine and Brzezinski’s policies, which were designed to cement into place the U.S.-British-dominated unipolar world order, which decreed that no nation or group of nations should ever surpass the United States economically, militarily, or politically.

This supposed “end of history” that Fukuyama thought he was seeing involved the complete deregulation of markets, and the extensive privatization of segments of the economy that had previously been under state control. There was now little standing in the way of profit maximization in a globalized casino economy, which led to an ever-widening gap between rich and poor, and ultimately to the point that Lyndon LaRouche had predicted in 1971 when President Nixon repealed the fixed-exchange rates of the Bretton Woods system, namely the systemic crisis of the neoliberal financial system, which manifested itself in 2008 and which has not been resolved since then, but has only been postponed by unlimited money printing by the central banks, the so-called “QE.”

This policy, which essentially benefited speculation, led to a complex counter-reaction. China was willing to participate in globalization with its reform and opening-up policies, but instead of submitting to the model of Western neoliberal democracy, this 5,000-year-old civilization turned to its own culture, pursuing the model of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and thus set in motion an unprecedented economic miracle. China’s willingness to share the experience of this successful model with other nations of the Global South, in the form of the Belt Road Initiative, led to a renaissance of the Non-Aligned Movement and the revival of the “Bandung spirit.” The countries of the Global South are painfully aware of the fact that colonialism has persisted in its modern form—namely in the unfair trade and credit conditions of the liberal financial system—which President Sukarno and Prime Minister Nehru had already warned about in Bandung 68 years ago.

This colonialism did not end after the end of World War II, as President Roosevelt had intended, but was perpetuated by Churchill and Truman. But above all, after September 11, 2001, under the banner of the “war on terrorism,” the U.S.A. concentrated on military and security operations worldwide, the establishment of up to 1,000 military bases, and the training of military forces in almost every continent. Then there were various “humanitarian wars of intervention,” the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. Obviously, the idea of economic development in these countries fell by the wayside.

It should come as no surprise that under these circumstances, a large number of the nations of the Global South are choosing to cooperate with the BRICS countries, which are offering them real economic growth and treatment as equal partners. In this, and in the very concrete experience of the behavior of the former colonial powers (and the current hegemonic power), lies the reason why the nations of the South have refused to condemn Russia’s supposedly “unprovoked war of aggression,” and to take the side of the “rules-based” West.

The BRICS summit will make this historic realignment visible in the world so dramatically that even the mainstream media and political forces (which until recently, with their usual Eurocentric arrogance, have at best perceived the countries of the Global South as exotic vacation spots), must take note of the new reality. But the all-important question will be how the nations of the Global North relate to this emerging economic order.

Attempting to maintain the long-defunct unipolar world will almost certainly lead to World War III, to which we have come dangerously close with the situation in Ukraine, where the failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive has exhausted the conventional dimension of the war, so that only ending the war through diplomatic negotiations, or escalating to the use of nuclear weapons, remain as options. The notion that the West must “decouple” from China and the BRI’s sphere of influence, or engage in “risk reduction” to use the new, ridiculous formulation, would lead not only to economic self-destruction as in the case of Germany, but this notion also leads to war. For the splitting of the world into two completely separate blocs—a U.S.-dominated, global NATO bloc that continues to cling to the model of the casino economy, and an economically fast-growing bloc of the Global South around the BRICS countries—would not remain peaceful, either.

There is only one sure way to resolve the many existential crises that exist around the world: Instead of viewing and opposing the new economic model of the BRICS countries as an antagonist, it is in the self-interest of the nations of the Global North to cooperate with this emerging New World Economic Order and to jointly tackle the daunting task of overcoming poverty and underdevelopment.

There are currently few signs that the representatives of the transatlantic establishment would be willing to admit their misjudgments and policy mistakes of the last almost 35 years, with a few exceptions such as former French President Sarkozy. But the ordinary citizens of Europe and the U.S.A. should now very urgently check the axioms of their own thinking, inquiring whether they are not perhaps influenced by a Eurocentric point of view and the associated latent racism.

In Goethe’s Faust, the young Gretchen asks her lover, Faust, how he feels about religion. The Germans call this a “Gretchen question,” and it can mean the question you don’t want to answer because it exposes the thing you most want to conceal. The simple Gretchen question regarding the relationship of the North to the South is: Have we really accepted that it should stay like this forever, that almost a billion people are permanently on the brink of starvation, 2 billion have no clean drinking water, 940 million have no access to electricity, and the vast majority of humanity, due to poverty, do not have the ability to develop the potential that is inherent in them, and are thus robbed of what is one of the most precious possessions of man?

We must not see the emergence of this new economic order as only long overdue for Africa, Asia and Latin America, but we should also understand that we too can only get our own ailing economies going again by cooperating with them. President Xi Jinping has made it clear from the outset that the Belt and Road Initiative is open to cooperation with any country in the world, and it is almost certain that the BRICS countries will respond openly to offers of cooperation from Western nations.

However, this requires that we in the West demonstrate unequivocally that we are ready for honest cooperation. Above all, this includes giving up the concept of expanding NATO into a global NATO, and working specifically on a new international security and development architecture that takes into account the interests of all nations, including Russia, Ukraine, China and all other states. I have formulated ten principles on this topic, the aspects that such a new architecture must take into account.

Our entire future, that of the nations of the Global South, and not least of all world peace, will depend on whether we can win enough forces in the European nations and the U.S.A. to seize the extraordinary opportunity that presents itself in the possibility of cooperation with the BRICS-Plus states. We are currently experiencing an epochal change of the kind that happens maybe once in a thousand years, and the great thing is that we can all help shape this new era through our contribution. We can help end the shameful phase of colonialism and begin a human chapter in universal history.

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