Thursday 16 June 2022

The Whole Drama That Is Unfolding Behind This War

Neither Argentina nor Brazil signed Tuesday’s World Trade Organisation statement on Ukraine. This Latin American Pope’s nuanced approach is an important example of how this war is usefully compelling us to face the fact of a real world beyond “the international community”.

On 2nd March, more than half the population of the world was represented by those who voted against a United Nations Resolution to deplore the Russian invasion of Ukraine, or who formally abstained, or who recorded no vote.

On 7th April, more than half the population of the world was represented by those who voted against a United Nations Resolution to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, or who formally abstained, or who recorded no vote, and the number of countries voting with Russia had increased sixfold, from four to 23.

This is the world of the recently inaugurated BRICS+ Dialogue with Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Thailand. If we would not have picked some of those partners, then it is very telling that they have accepted the invitation. 

This is the world in which China, India and Russia are trading with each other in currencies that are not the dollar, in which even Saudi Arabia is accepting yuan for oil, in which even Israel has added yuan to its reserves, in which China has signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands of which the Queen is Head of State and thus technically a signatory to that pact, in which Russian Embassies in Africa are having to thank local men for their goodwill but ask them not to travel to Russia to join up in such numbers, and in which Vietnam has announced new joint military exercises with Russia, let the American sanctions regime be damned.

They are weakening because pompously saying that “we must be prepared to pay the price” is an unerring sign of someone who would never have to do any such thing, but sanctions against Russia have been imposed only by North America, by Australia and New Zealand, by the American military colonies of Japan and South Korea, and by Europe, although obviously not by Europe’s largest country, the capital of which is Europe’s largest city.

77 per cent of Russia’s population lives in its European part. Those 110 million people make Russia Europe’s most populous country as well as its largest. As a major entrepôt to the vast world of emerging Eurasia and to the world of alliances beyond even that, it offers a potentially glittering future to Mariupol and Avozstal. Part of the same pattern is the expansion of cryptocurrencies in Africa and Latin America, unwelcome though that is in itself.

From Africa to Southeast Asia and beyond, people remember who stood with them in the liberation struggle, and they remember from whom they were liberated. The same tiresome types who pretend to believe that NATO was founded as an expression of social democracy also pretend to believe that it was and is some sort of liberation movement, but the world should not be run by smirking old Sixth Form and undergraduate debaters who had never grown up.