Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pepe Escobar — How a Rising Block of Countries Will Challenge America

There's a rising new bloc on the planet: BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). What does that mean for America?
Read it at AlterNet
How a Rising Block of Countries Will Challenge America
by Pepe Escobar | roving correspondent for Hong Kong/Thailand-based Asia Times and analyst for Toronto/Washington-based The Real News

Pepe Escobar is an excellent reporter. Glad to see him getting wider coverage. This post is a must-read in terms of geo-politics and geo-strategy, as well as globalization going forward and the global economy of the future. There is a serious rift and potential clash developing between Global North (West) and Global South (East).

Some observations:
Still, for the moment the key problem they face is this: they don't have an ideological or institutional alternative to neo-liberalism and the lordship of global finance.
As Vijay Prashad has noted, the Global North has done everything toprevent any serious discussion of how to reform the global financial casino. No wonder the head of the G-77 group of developing nations (now G-132, in fact), Thai ambassador Pisnau Chanvitan, has warned of “behavior that seems to indicate a desire for the dawn of a new neocolonialism.” 
The usual self-description of the system there as “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is, of course, as mythical as a gorgon. In reality, think hardcore neoliberalism with Chinese characteristics led by men who have every intention of saving global capitalism.
At the moment, China is smack in the middle of a tectonic, structural shift from an export/investment model to a services/consumer-led model. In terms of its explosive economic growth, the last decades have been almost unimaginable to most Chinese (and the rest of the world), but according to the Financial Times, they have also left the country’s richest 1% controlling 40%-60% of total household wealth.
For all that military strength, however, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is distinctly a New World (and not in North America either).  Against the guns and the gunboats, the missiles and the drones, there is economic power.  Currency wars are now raging. BRICS members China and Russia have cordilleras of cash. South America is uniting fast. The Putinator has offered South Korea an oil pipeline. Iran is planning to sell all its oil and gas in a basket of currencies, none dollars. China is paying to expand its blue-water Navy and its anti-ship missile weaponry. One day, Tokyo may finally realize that, as long as it is occupied by Wall Street and the Pentagon, it will live in eternal recession. Even Australia may eventually refuse to be forced into a counterproductive trade war with China.
So this twenty-first century world of ours is shaping up right now largely as a confrontation between the U.S./NATO and the BRICS, warts and all on every side. The danger: that somewhere down the line it turns into a Full Spectrum Confrontation. Because make no mistake, unlike Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi, the BRICS will actually be able to shoot back.

No comments: