London Daily

Focus on the big picture.
Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024

The awkward multi-polar world of the West versus ever-wealthy developing countries

The awkward multi-polar world of the West versus ever-wealthy developing countries

The political clout of the BRICS is turning out to be as important as their increasing economic heft. Assumptions in 2001 that these countries would become friendly allies in a US-dominated world order are proving false.

When Jim O'Neill, the Goldman Sachs banker, popularised the term BRIC in 2001, he was talking about investment opportunities in the fastest growing economies in the world: Brazil, Russia, India and China, with South Africa added in 2010 making the acronym up to BRICS.

The countries identified swiftly formed a club, with leaders meeting regularly for summits. Vladimir Putin may well dodge sanctions to attend the next meeting in August in South Africa.

The political clout of the BRICS is turning out to be as important as their increasing economic heft. Assumptions in 2001 that these countries would become friendly allies in a US-dominated world order are proving false.

None of the BRICS have backed the West - roughly comprising the US, UK, EU and Japan - in opposing Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russia is the aggressor in Ukraine, and China is its "partner without limits", as agreed by presidents Xi and Putin, so no surprise there.

India and South Africa have economic and energy needs and colonial resentment, which Russia and China have been keenly exploiting.

Hopes were highest that Brazil might support the Western position, under the newly restored leadership of President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva. Instead, Lula celebrated his first 100 days back in office with a state visit to China, and by playing host to the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

In public statements, Lula attacked the US for "encouraging" and "incentivising" the Ukraine conflict, bemoaned the US dollar's role as the global reserve currency and argued for "new geopolitics to change world governance by giving more representation to the UN".

His foreign minister, Fernando Haddad, warned bluntly that Brazil is "too big to be choosing partners".

Brazil is a major power in the world. It is the largest country with the biggest population in Latin America, its economy is in the world's top 10 in terms of size and its Amazonian rain forest is essential to reducing climate change.

Lula was sworn in as Brazil's president for the third time in January


Brazil's international political stance is also critical when the United States' "unipolar moment" of world dominance is over and new superpowers such as China and India are rising, potentially threatening the "Western democratic" notions of governance established after the Second World War.

Lula served two terms as president of Brazil between 2003 and 2010. A working-class trade unionist from the Workers Party, his repeated electoral success consolidated his country as a representative democracy. He was feted as a regular guest at the summits of the G7 club of rich nations.

After standing down as president in 2010 he was convicted and imprisoned on corruption charges. These were subsequently annulled, enabling him to run for office again in 2022. European leaders barely hid their satisfaction when he beat the right-wing Trumpian incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in the second round of voting.

Western leaders praised Lula


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted: "Congratulations to @LulaOficial on his victory in Brazil's election.

"I look forward to working together on the issues that matter to the UK and Brazil, from growing the global economy to protecting the planet's natural resources and promoting democratic values."

Keir Starmer was similarly effusive: "Congratulations to @LulaOficial on the great news of his election as president of Brazil. This win must also be the start of a new era of global cooperation and action in the fight against climate change."

Lula reappointed his sometime rival Marina Silva, a widely respected politician and environmentalist, as minister of the environment and climate change, but so far delivery by his administration has been disappointing.

Deforestation in the Amazon is not slowing down


The rate of deforestation in the Amazon went up 75% under President Bolsonaro and it has not yet slowed down. February 2023 was the worst ever month.

According to the DEFER surveillance by Brazil's own INPE (National Institute for Space Research) 209 square kilometres of forest were destroyed, the equivalent of 30,000 football pitches.

Lula's priorities for his presidency are fighting hunger and poverty and managing de-industrialisation through investment in new technologies. He has also set the ambitious target of zero deforestation by 2030. This is largely dependent on international donations to the Amazon Fund.

Both Germany and Norway have resumed their pledged contributions since his return to office. But the European Union is getting anxious about Brazil's evolving stance. A briefing paper for next week's EU foreign ministers summit, seen by Politico, "is concerned about Brazil's position on Russia's war on Ukraine and Brazil's lack of delivery on climate environment".

These concerns are likely to further delay completion of an historic trade and cooperation pact with the Mercosur trade bloc (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) which has been under discussion for 20 years. After signing a Double Tax Agreement with Brazil in December the UK is also hoping for a deal and increased trade with Brazil.

Environmental concerns v closer economic ties


Closer economic ties are threatened by environmental concerns in Europe. To take the area of agricultural exports as an example, the UK government is being pressed to take a tougher line on so-called "Cattle-laundering", the practice whereby animals are raised on illegally deforested land but moved to other farms to qualify as legal meat at slaughter.

The censorious imposition of trade sanctions by the US and Europe for political reasons and perceived violations of international laws is antagonizing other countries. Instead of entering into multilateral rules-based agreements, Brazil, like many other middle to high income economies, is striking bilateral deals with China and Russia. In China's case, this is often backed up by inward investment and foreign aid.

At this month's IMF World Bank meeting the former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers admitted he is troubled that the US and its allies are becoming isolated as other powers get together. People from developing countries are saying to him: "What we get from China is an airport. What we get from America is a lecture."

China is already, by far, Brazil's greatest trading partner, exchanges are at a record of high of $150 billion annually.

"The West" may broadly agree on political outlook but their circumstance means that the US and European nations are dealing with Chinese expansionism in different ways.

The US has the capacity to be largely self-sufficient and, encouraged by incentives in President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, is "re-shoring" key technologies. Ford has closed its electronic vehicle plant in Brazil.

Friction over Ukraine


European politicians want to increase investment in energy and digital in Latin America and they are in desperate need of raw materials and rare earth minerals from there for new technology. From Bolivia to Afghanistan, China is investing in lithium extraction, a key element in batteries.

Following outcry in the US and Europe, President Lula has not repeated his early view of Ukraine's President Zelenskyy that "this guy is responsible as Putin for the war" and has conceded that Russia is in "violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity".

Next week, Lula is due to visit Spain - his country's closest historical links are with Iberia. It remains to be seen if he will take up Zelenskyy's invitation to come and see what is happening for himself.

Lula has suggested that Ukraine should be ready to "give up Crimea". His stance is consistent with Brazil's longstanding non-aligned advocacy of "peace". It is also a de facto strengthening of Russia's position in the eyes of the world community if and when peace negotiations take place.

It undermines NATO's determined opposition to reverse the violent occupation of the party of another sovereign state. The stakes over Taiwan and its world-beating micro-chip industry have been raised even higher.

The alternative diplomatic and economic path being taken by the BRICS, and especially Lula's democratic Brazil, which was potentially the West's most natural ally in the Ukraine crisis, is writing on the wall for the UK and its European neighbours.

Our values are not supreme. The US umbrella is not a sufficient shield. Welcome to the awkward multi-polar world.

Comments

Oh ya 304 days ago
Russia was not a aggressor in the conflict. Victoria Nuland and others have admitted they had no intention of honoring the Minsk agreement they signed. Ukraine has been shown to be full of NAZIS. Not sure what side your family was on in WWII but mine were fighting NAZIS. Russia is still fighting them today after helping the west defeat them in WWII. GO RUSSIA GO.

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
New video
You Are So Beautiful
Tucker Carlson says Boris Johnson wants "a million dollars, in Bitcoin or cash, from Tucker Carlson to talk about Ukraine.
Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Russia is rebuilding capacity to destabilize European countries, new UK report warns
An old French tune (by Georges Brassens) Pomplamoose ft. John Schroeder
EU Commission wants anti-drone defenses at Brussels HQ
Sattahip Motor Show 20
Von der Leyen’s 2nd-term pitch: More military might, less climate talk
SONATE AU CLAIR DE LUNE - Moonlight sonata
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
A kiss to build a dream on
Prince William Urges End to Gaza Conflict
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
UK court to hear Assange's final appeal against extradition to the US, where he faces charges related to his journalistic work—the publication of a classified video in 2010 that exposed US war crimes against humanity.
Mean Blues
About 50-60% kids either chose to be YouTuber or influencer
La Chansonnette
A viral video of Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce lying on a Canberra footpath is celebrated by his media mates.
Pattaya Addicts
European Countries React to Navalny's Death by Summoning Russian Diplomats
Franz Liszt - Liebestraum - Love Dream
Israel has gone ‘beyond self-defence’ in Gaza, says Labour’s Streeting
Dream a little dream of me
English farmers to be offered ‘largest ever’ grant scheme amid food security concerns
Unchained Melody sung like you've NEVER heard!
Cameron government knew Post Office ditched Horizon IT investigation
Dave Brubeck - Take Five
EU Calls for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza Conflict
Édith Piaf - Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (Sofie)
EU Vows To Hold Putin "Accountable" After Meeting Alexei Navalny's Wife
Rondo Alla Turca
EU Launches Probe Into TikTok Over Child Protection Under Digital Content Law
Kiss of fire
The EU Initiates Naval Mission to Defend Red Sea Trade Routes
Tom Jones - I´ll Never Fall In Love Again 1967, 1989, 2001
EU and UK Announce Joint Effort on Migration
Israel Cachao López - Guajira Clásica
Brazil's Lula Likens Gaza Operation to Holocaust, Israel Says "Red Line" Crossed
Edward Maya - Stereo Love (feat. Vika Jigulina) (Extended Mix)
Ministers Confirm Proposal to Prohibit Mobile Phone Usage in English Schools
Strauss - Radetzky March - Karajan
Microsoft-backed OpenAI valued at $80bn after company completes deal
La vie en rose
‘Alexei would want to tell Russia not to give up fighting’
The Temptations - My Girl (Smokey Robinson Tribute) 2006 Kennedy Cent
Rwandan Footballer's Dismissal Sparks Concerns Over UK Asylum Plan
Orlando Cachaito Lopez Redencion
Whisky Challenges China's Baijiu Market During New Year Celebrations
Edith Piaf - NON, JE NE REGRETTE RIEN
Avdiivka - Symbol Of Ukrainian Resistance Now In Control Of Russian Troops
RADETZKY MARCH-2008-Wien, New Year Concert
Putin Critic Alexei Navalny's "Killers" Refusing To Hand Over Body, Say Allies
Only you (And you alone)
"Historic Step": Zelensky Signs Security Pact With Germany
Strangers In The Night
"Historic Step": Zelensky Signs Security Pact With Germany
Charles Aznavour - La Boheme
20 Tech Giants Sign Effort To Fight AI Election Interference Across Globe
Summer time
Joe Biden Accuses Putin of Causing Navalny's Death
Sting and Stevie Wonder - Fragile (from Sting's 60th birthday concert)
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
Aux Champs Elysees
Tucker Carlson grocery shopping in Russia. This is so interesting.
Stand By Me - Ben E. King (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Julian Assange's Wife Warns of His Death if Extradited to US
La Mer (Beyond the Sea) – Avalon Jazz Band
‘A lot higher than we expected’: Russian arms production worries Europe’s war planners
She
Greece Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption Rights
Nathalie Song by Enzo Petrachi Stjepan Hauser Cello
Hungarian Foreign Minister: Europeans will lose Europe, the Union's policy must change drastically
Shape of My Heart - Sting (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
In Britain Homeowners are receiving CPO’s (Compulsory Purchase Orders) so their homes can be redistributed to migrants
Radiohead - Creep
Microsoft says it caught hackers from China, Russia and Iran using its AI tools
Quizás,Quizás,Quizás - Andrea Bocelli - Jennifer Lopez
Influencers Exploit X Platform for Profit Amidst Israel-Gaza Conflict
Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps - Multi-Couples
Former Dutch PM And Wife Die "Together Hand In Hand" Via Duo Euthanasia
Pentatonix Havana
Media Giant Paramount Global, Which Owns CBS News, To Cut 800 Jobs
Paula Cole - Autumn Leaves
US Rejects Putin's Ceasefire Offer in Ukraine
Oscar Benton Bensonhurst Blues
"History is Watching": Biden Encourages US House to Approve Ukrainian War Aid
OH NANANA vs ABUSADAMENTE
Wolf! Wolf!: Joe Biden Joins TikTok Despite Washington's Security Risk Warnings
Nina Simone - ”I Put A Spell On You”. Vezi aici cum cântă Jeremy Ragsd
A Londoner has been arrested for expressing his Christian beliefs.
NIGHTWISH - The Phantom Of The Opera
Chinese Women Favor AI Boyfriends Over Humans
Motorshow 2016 Tanjay Negros Oriental
Kylie Minogue to receive Brits global icon award and will perform at ceremony
Monica Bellucci - Ti Amo
Greece must address role in migrant vessel disaster that killed 600: Amnesty
Michael Jackson - Billie Jean Milena The Voice France 2018
Russian Oligarch's Seized Yacht Costs More Than $7 Million A Year To Maintain: US
Michael Buble (Help Me Make It Through The Night) feat Loren Allred
Memories Canon In D - Maroon 5 (Boyce Avenue piano acoustic cover)
Matteo Simoni - Marina
Maroon 5 - One More Night
Maroon 5 - Memories
Mark Knopfler - Brothers In Arms (Berlin 2007 Live)
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - Romeo And Juliet (Real Live Roadrunni
Marina, Marina - The LUCKY DUCKIES intimist live concert at Guimarães
Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On Mauranne The Voice France 2016
Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet - Joslin - Henri Mancini, Nino Rota
LoLa & Hauser - Love Story
Linkin Park Jay-Z - Numb Encore (Live 8 2005)
Hallelujah Mennel Ibtissem, The Voice France Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen - Dance Me to the End of Love
Leonard Cohen & Natasha Rostova - Dance me to the end of love
La casa de papel - Bella Ciao
La Camisa Negra
L'italiano (Toto Cutugno) - The Gypsy Queens
Juanes - La Camisa Negra
Jonathan and Charlotte - Britain's Got Talent 2012 Live Semi Final - U
John Powell - Assassin's Tango
Joe Cocker - You Can Leave Your Hat On (LIVE in Dortmund)
Joe Cocker - Unchain My Heart 2002 Live
Joe Cocker - A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Jay Z & Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind LIVE
Jason Mraz - Im Yours (live)
Jarrod Radnich - Bohemian Rhapsody - Virtuosic Piano Solo
James Blunt - You're Beautiful
James Blunt - You're Beautiful & Bonfire Heart (Live at The Nobel Peac)
If You Go Away - Helen Merrill & Stan Getz (Tribute to Virna Lisi)
I'LL BE MISSING YOU
I Say a Little Prayer
Hotel California ( Eagles ) 1994 Live
Historia de un amor - Luz Casal. Vezi interpretarea Biancăi Sumanariu
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover) on Spot
Heart - Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin - Kennedy Center Honors
HAVANA by Camila Cabello Zumba Pre Cooldown TML Crew Kramer Pastra
HAUSER and Señorita - I Will Always Love You
HAUSER - Waka Waka
HAUSER - Sway
HAUSER - Lambada
HAUSER - Historia de un Amor
HAUSER - Despacito
Great Pretender
Georgia May Foote & Giovanni Pernice Samba to 'Volare' - Strictly Come
Gary Moore - Still Got The Blues
GIPSY KINGS VOLARE Penelope Cruz
Fugees - Killing Me Softly With His Song
French Latino - Historia de un Amor
For A Few Dollars More The Danish National Symphony Orchestra (Live)
Flashdance • What a Feeling • Irene Cara
Filip Rudan - “Someone You Loved” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sez
Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight
Enya - Only Time
Enrique Iglesias - Bailando (English Version) ft. Sean Paul
Enrique Iglesias - Bailamos
Elena Yerevan Historia de un amor
Ed Sheeran - Shape of You (Official Music Video)
Ed Sheeran - Perfect Symphony [with Andrea Bocelli]
Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Official Music Video)
Easy On Me - Adele (Boyce Avenue 90’s style piano acoustic cover) on S
ERA - Ameno
ELENA YEREVAN- Cancion Del Mariachi-IN STUDIO-2017 DPR
Dust In The Wind - Kansas (Boyce Avenue acoustic cover)
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Despacito x Shape Of You - Pentatonix
Deep Purple - Child In Time - Live (1970)
David Foster When A Man Loves A WomanIt's A Mans World (SealMichael Bo
Dance me to the end of Love ( Pi-Air Design )
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise (feat. L.V.) [Official Music Video]
Conquest Of Paradise (Vangelis), played on Böhm Emporio organ
Cielito Lindo
Chico & The Gypsies - Bamboleo
Canción Del Mariachi - Antonio Banderas, Los Lobos • Desperado
Camila Cabello - Havana (Audio) ft. Young Thug
Camila Cabello - Havana ( cover by J.Fla )
California Dreamin' - The Mamas & The Papas José Feliciano (Boyce Ave
Buster Benton - Money Is The Name of The Game
Hallelujah Pentatonix
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry Be Happy (Official Music Video)
Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door Emilia The Voice Kids France
Besame Mucho - Cesaria Evora
Ben E. King - Stand by Me Sax Cover Alexandra Ilieva Thomann
Bella Ciao
Bella Ciao - INSTRUMENTAL
Beautiful in White x Canon in D (Piano Cover by Riyandi Kusuma)
Bad Romance - Vintage 1920's Gatsby Style Lady Gaga Cover ft. Ariana Savalas & Sarah Reich(1)
BELLA CIAO 2020 - KARAOKE ITALIANO
BAMBOLEO - Gipsy Kings • Antonio Banderas, Katya Virshilas
BAILANDO (original)
Awesome Ukrainian yodeler - SOFIA SHKIDCHENKO (with English subtitles)
Avicii - The Nights
Atom - The Great Gig in the Sky
Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Official Ly
Antonio Banderas - Cancion del Mariachi (Desperado)
André Rieu - Zorba's Dance (Sirtaki)
André Rieu - Can't Help Falling In Love
André Rieu & Mirusia - Ave Maria
Andrew Reyes Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down The Voice 2020 (
Andreas Kümmert Whiter Shade Of Pale The Voice of Germany 2013 Showd
And I Love You So
All About That Bass - Postmodern Jukebox European Tour Version
Alan Walker - Faded (Piano Cover)
Ain't No Sunshine -- Bill Withers (cover by Canen 12 y.o.)
African music
Adriana Vidović - “Creep” Audicija 4 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
Adriana Vidović - “Believer” Nokaut 3 The Voice Hrvatska Sezona 3
A Fistful of Dollars - The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Tuva
4 Beautiful Soundtracks Relaxing Piano [10min]
2CELLOS - Whole Lotta Love vs. Beethoven 5th Symphony [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
2CELLOS - Smooth Criminal (Live at Suntory Hall, Tokyo)
2CELLOS - Smells Like Teen Spirit [Live at Sydney Opera House]
2CELLOS - Despacito [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
13 Year Old Girl Playing Il Silenzio (The Silence) - André Rieu
094.All About That Bass
00 - SADNESS PART 1
(Ghost) Riders In the Sky (American Outlaws Live at Nassau Coliseum, 1
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams (Boyce Avenue ft. Conn
What a wonderful world
Moon river
×