全球南方国家和一体化机制，如 “金砖+”、上合组织、欧亚经济联盟、“一带一路”倡议、二十国集团及其成员国，继续对地区和全球社会经济发展、现代化和战略性基础设施建设、加强人与人之间的互联互通、消除人员、货物和资本自由流动的一切人为障碍等问题采取积极和建设性的态度；着手解决危机和共同挑战；鼓励开放、团结、相互尊重和合作共赢；帮助缓解贫困、社会经济差距、能源和粮食危机；在平等、共存和互不干涉的基础上，加强包容性全球经济、政治和安全治理。习近平主席提出的 “全球发展倡议”、“全球安全倡议”和“全球文明倡议”就是这种开放、积极和前瞻性做法的例证。
2023年10月17～18日，第三届 “一带一路 ”国际合作高峰论坛（BEF）在北京举行。此次峰会由中国国家主席习近平主持，来自140个国家和30个国际组织的元首、政府首脑和其他高级代表出席了会议，标志着 “一带一路 ”倡议的第一个十年取得了令人瞩目的成就，并通过了未来十年“一带一路”活动和重大项目的愿景和指导方针。习近平主席在峰会主旨演讲中指出“它（一带一路倡议）超越了文明、文化、社会制度和发展阶段的差异”——从而使现在和未来有别于过去的做法。 (详见《中国投资》，2023年12月号）。
By [Serbia] Zivadin Jovanovic，
President of the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals and Silk Road Connectivity Research Center
It is time of unprecedented changes, some are tectonic global, some regional with the global implications, some national – all interconnected. BRICS+ with liding roles of China and Russia, has become the motor of the new multi-polar world order. UN General Assembly also mirrors new trends of profound changes toward justice, peace and solidarity. Enormous advancement in science, technology and communications has expanded potential for mutual understanding, peace and human prosperity. Yet, certain divisive political patterns of the past persist, while some new, confrontational, are appearing. Certain power centers adopted method of sawing confusion, fear and uncertainty as a tool of their domination and expansion. NATO proxy war in Ukraine against Russia continues, though, with some fatigue, while Israeli war against Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip turns into indiscriminate killings of civilians and children. Sanctions, disruption of supply chains, energy and food crisis, have resulted in slow-down of the global trade and economy, recession in many countries, including some of the most developed. Inflation, drop of living standard and rising socio-economic gaps provoke dissatisfaction, changes in political spectrum, including rise of extreme ideologies.
⬆ On the evening of November 21, 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping attends in Beijing via video the Extraordinary Joint Meeting of BRICS Leaders and Leaders of Invited BRICS Members on the Situation in the Middle East with Particular Reference to Gaza (Photo by Sheng Jiapeng/China News Service)
Countries and integrations of the Global South, such as BRIKS+, SCO, EAEU, BRI, G-20 and their member-countries individually, have continued to maintain positive, constructive approach to regional and global socio-economic development; to modernization and building strategic infrastructure; to intensification of the people to people connectivity; to removing all artificial obstacles for free flow of people, goods and capital; to initiating solutions for crises and common challenges; to encouraging openness, solidarity, mutual respect and win win cooperation; to helping alleviation of poverty, socio-economic gaps, energy and food crises; to intensifying building inclusive global economic, political and security governance based on equality, coexistence and noninterference. Illustrative of such an open, positive and forward-looking approach are the Global Initiatives of the President Xi Jinping on Development (GDI), Security (GSI) and Civilization (GCI).
Unparalleled achievements in both, material and cultural spheres, give reasons to believe in overall prosperity of mankind in peace and security. Tectonic global changes in all fields of human development from science, AI, and 5G technologies to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, inclusive economic and financial governance, global integrations such as Belt and Road Initiative cannot be stopped or reversed. Freedom of choice of socio-economic system and path of development based on specific history, tradition and culture, cannot be denied. Nations and civilizations will prosper, only when guided by principles of equality, mutual respect and solidarity.
Prosperity and wellbeing for humanity as whole should be core globally guiding principle, response to all injustices, narrow mind-nesses and inhuman approaches. Peoples throughout the world have become conscious that neocolonialism is even greater danger for human prosperity than colonialism. Neocolonial structures and methods perpetuating inequality and exploitation have no place in the new democratic world order. Humanity centered New World Order based on equality, mutual respect and solidarity is what all peoples strive to.
BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South African Republic (August 22-24, 2023) was the event of particular importance for strengthening the role of developing countries in shaping new, just, inclusive World Order. Receiving Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates as the new members from January 1st, 2024, BRICS has more than doubled the total membership (from 5 to 11). This is not only quantitative enlargement but, above all, qualitative transformation of BRICS comprising leading countries of Asia, Africa and South America which, at the same time, are influential members of various continental, regional and sub regional integrations (EAEU, SCO, AU, AL, OIC, OPEC+ and others), has become core player in accelerating changes of the global economic landscape.
For the time being BRICS+ accounts for over 30 percent of the global economy aiming to rich 50 percent by 2050, for more than 40 percent of the total population, as well as for unparalleled energy and strategic minerals resources. The Johannesburg BRICS summit adopted decisions to reduce dependence on the US dollar and intensify the process of de-dollarization in global commerce, to accelerate partnership and support to sustainable development of Africa and to work for efficient representation, inclusive multilateralism, including reforms of the UN system, structure of Security Council, with the aim to strengthen representation of developing countries. This is clear message that BRICS+ will not be just observer, follower or voter about agendas introduced by “exempted” ones, but active promoter in building new, inclusive and fully democratic world order based on the rule of universal international law binding equally all members of the world community.
Positive global approach to the shared future of humanity dominated at the Third Belt and Road Economic Forum (BEF) held in Beijing October 17-18, 2023. The Summit meeting presided by the President of PR of China Xi Jinping, attended by heads of states governments and other high representatives of 140 countries and 30 international organizations, marked the first decade of the impressive implementation of the Initiative and adopted the vision and guidelines for the activities and major projects to be implemented over the next decade. In his keynote speech at the Summit the President Xi Jinping noted: “It (BRI) transcends differences between civilizations, cultures, social systems and stages of development” – thus differing the present and the future from the past practices. (more, see China Investment, December, 2023).
It is hard to find single diplomatic or political move so convincingly illustrating the nature, scope and depth of the global changes in the world landscape as is the President Xi Jinping’s mediation in normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran which was formalized in March 2023. It was considered to be important step towards strengthening regional solidarity. In fact it has changed geopolitical landscape not only in the Gulf and Saudi Arab Peninsula but its real importance is much more relevant affecting the politics and developments in Arab and Islamic World, global energy market, trade, supply chains, global connectivity.
Having regard region’s great economic, human and capital resources, normalization of Iran-Saudi Arabia relations will beneficial in many directions from encouraging peaceful and just solutions of regional conflicts and socio-economic development, to the global economic and financial governance. It is important step toward redistribution of the influence and weight of traditional out-of-region players, in favor of inclusiveness and win win cooperation. It is certainly historic success of China’s diplomacy and of the President Xi Jinping, particularly. It is recognition of their world-wide credibility and proof that doing positive brings success.
Era of Global Majority
The war in Gaza started last October and in less than three months has taken more than 20.000 lives of Palestinian people, including 8.000 thousands of children. Having regard small territory of only 365 square kilometers and total population of Gaza Strip of about 2 millions, the most of whom are displaced and refugees, this is unique humanitarian catastrophe in the newer history. Yet, the world community seems to be prevented from stopping shameful indiscriminate killing of innocent people, by those who pretend to be prophet(s) of democracy and human rights but, in reality, always prioritize their geopolitical interests.
While the UN Security Council remained, so far, blocked to take meaningful steps to stop this human tragedy, real sense of justice, responsibility and humanism came from the UN General Assembly. On December 12th, UN GA adopted resolution demanding “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, immediate and unconditional release of all hostages as well as ensuring humanitarian access”. The resolution considered by many credible analysts to be historic document, was voted out by 153 in favor, 23 abstained and only 10 against. Apart from being bearing great moral value, this document and voting results represent exceptionally valuable proof of global change in favor of justice, truth and humanism, against manipulation, double-standard or coercion. It shows also that USA, claiming to be the leader of democracy and human rights, was isolated in the UN GA, the global forum, not only from countries of the Global South, but even from the closest allies, such as Canada, France, Australia and Japan. Isolation was not over Gaza only, but primarily, over universal principles of justice, truth and morality. Will Washington get the right message, or not only the future will say.
Thus, the new era of global majority in action has been reinforced right from the most representative UN body. Those who, have permanently, been lectured about democracy and human rights by arrogant “exclusivists”, this time had their own say and message which will resonate in the future. This is a call to redoubling the efforts for lasting secession of hostilities, withdrawal from occupied territories and for initiating dialogue for peaceful, just and lasting solution of the Near East crises, based on the co-existence of two equal sovereign states, as envisaged by UN SC resolutions.
Building the New World Order based on the principles of equality of all states, nations and human beings, has gained new strength over the past year. Recognizing and respecting multi-polarity in practice has become point of reference and differentiation to those who really believe in and struggle for the values of universal international law principles, true democracy and solidarity in diversity, compared to those who verbally accept multi-polarity and democracy but, in practice, continue to seek privileges, apply double-standards, pretend to lecture others and so on. Advancement and globalization of communications, physical, socio-economic and people to people connectivity have made all narrow-minded, protectionist approaches not only redundant but outdated and counterproductive. In the new global reality the truth that prosperity of any individual country, be it highly developed or under developed, depends on the prosperity of all, has become obvious truth. Multi-polarity is opening new avenues for democratization of the global relations, for awakening of creative energy of peoples and civilizations, for equitable cooperation.
Leading western countries have for centuries been practicing geo-economic and geo-political expansion as important method for their socio-economic advancement and enrichment of their elites. This was the reality over the long period of colonialism but also continued throughout the period of neocolonialism up to the present time. NATO headed by USA, became inboard motor of neoliberal, multinational, neo-colonial system.
USA/NATO has intensified its strategy of expansion after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In Europe e NATO has been expanding toward the east recently accessing additional 1.340 km. of Russian boarders; in Indo-Pacific region – intensifying presence and fortifying alliance and cooperation with Australia, New Zeeland, Japan and South Korea; globally – pursuing the strategy known as “360 degrees approach”. NATO does not hide ambition to police (control) the planet in the interest of the “golden billion” even if this undermines interests and security of the “remaining” seven billion of the global population. They take it that their “rule based world order” authorizes them to intervene any time, any place in the world which they alone proclaim to be of their “national interest”. The fact that such a behavior represents violation of the UN Charter, UN Security Council’s mandate, and universal principles of the International Law – is not their concern. NATO refuses accepting the principle of equal security for all. Under the guise of providing security of its members, USA/NATO has globalised military interventionism, bluntly violating the basic principles of UN Charter, sovereignty and territorial integrity of many countries and undermining security of others.
Neo-liberal multinational corporate system, NATO and “rule based” uni-polar world order – make trinity for global domination. This is why, the struggle for democratization of the global relations, for the rule of International Law based on the UN Charter and building of the New Multi-polar World Order has to be centered on the needs and interests of the entire humanity, not on the interests of any part of it.
The USA/NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine is approaching two years duration. Although the western partners seem to be getting tired of helping Kiev with armament and billions in cash, even more stricken by backfiring of anti-Russian sanctions, the end of the conflict is not in sight, for the time being. NATO’s “open door policy” (for receiving new members, aut.) and ignorance of the Russia’s legitimate security concerns will most likely stay in force until after the next US presidential elections in November 2024. Significant peace efforts and initiatives made by China (The Global Security Initiative), Turkey, Brazil, African and other countries, have been undermined by hawkish circles in USA, GB and some other countries of the west, serving the interests of the military industrial/financial complex and their political elites.
Nuclear iron curtain
Although, NATO expansion toward East is in the root of Ukraine crisis, expansion continued unabated, totally disregarding principle of equal right to security of all. Finland and Sweden, countries which have been symbols of neutrality, tolerance and detente, they both accepted invitations to become 30-eth and 31st members of NATO. Finland’s accession was ratified in April 2023, thus enabling extension of NATO bordering with Russia for additional 1.340 km. Sweden is waiting successful US brokerage for removal of Turkey’s and Hungary’s objections. In addition, four Scandinavian countries – Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland have signed long term agreements with USA permitting permanent stationing of US forces and military equipment in their territories. Germany made similar agreement with Lithuania to station there about 5.000 soldiers.
The formula that could be drown from the newest development of NATO expansion seems to comprise several steps: first, USA war propaganda spreading fear among European allies of Russia’s alleged imminent attack; second, offering them military protection in exchange for much higher military budgets covering new orders from the US military industry; third, establishing US military bases, including “forward deployed nuclear weapons”; forth, imposing full USA military control of European continent from the North Ice Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East; and, fifth, encircling Russia, cutting off Europe from Russia, this time, by new nuclear weapons iron curtain.
What are USA/NATO plans behind amassing troops and military arsenal, not excluding nuclear weapons, at Russian boarders? What is their exit strategy? Do they expect Russia sitting idle? “The war in Ukraine is just an indicator of the gravest crisis of the Western Civilization” – considers Edward Lozanski, President of American University (“Continent USA”, December 6th, 2023).
Who is who?
The West, primarily the present leadership of USA, seems to be poised to saw and maintain fear, uncertainties and global divisions, probably, hoping that this is conducive to discipline allies, keep confrontation, dominate and make business for own military industrial complex and the whole economy. Similar tactics are exploited internally frightening domestic public by alleged malpractices of China, Russia and so called totalitarian ideologies and regimes which undermine American democracy, development and security. Apparently, they interfere in the USA internal affairs, in electoral processes, spy and corrupt politicians and citizens; steal technological innovations and so on. Many observers of the USA political spectrum claim that the era of the “new Macartism”, when everybody is suspecting everybody, is well under way.
Over the past year many important events have occurred. Simple review of their agendas and final documents show that various forums of the so called collective West, like summits of NATO, EU , G-7, EPC (European Political Community), DA (Democracy Alliance) have been devoted mainly to condemnation and sanctioning of Russia for “invading Ukraine”, mobilizing military, logistic, political and financial support to Ukraine, spreading fear about alleged Russia’s attacks on other countries; about “malign influences” of Russia and China’s abuse of economic cooperation for promotion of geopolitics; formulating containment and restrictions based on mere speculations; voluntarily limiting prices of gas and oil on the world market; imposing restrictions on imports and exports from and to certain countries; getting out from binding agreements; threatening anybody who disagrees with their policies or unilateral measures, and so on. Restrictive, protectionist, geopolitical rivalry approaches have been dominant.
EU – more for armament and stopping migration less for clean-tech
After conflict in Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Germany has devised extra sum of 100 billion Euros for military, including for F16s dual service fighters. His defense minister Boris Pistorius considers that Europe has five to eight years to catch up in defense and military industry in order to be ready to defend from the Russian presumed attack. To facilitate this he suggested cooperation with some other countries which may not necessarily share “our values” adding that “if we don’t, China and Russia will”. His arguments were that Russia will not stop after Ukraine, that USA military is expected to focus next decade to the Pacific and will, “hopefully modestly”, reduce commitments in Europe. Without going into logic and loopholes of German Minister’s arguments, it is sufficient to presume that his position will certainly have impact on “junior” European partners and open ears in many directions, including military industrial sectors.
Four years ago Ursula Fon Der Layen, then newly elected President of EU Commission, announced the New Green Deal as comprehensive EU development plan, valued at one trillion Euros over period of 10 years. December 2023, European Council Summit could not agree to approve 10 billion Euros earmarked earlier for funding clean-tech industry, renewable energy and research. The reason: the need to prioritize financing defense and curbing massive illegal migration! Ensuing assessments point out that funding of the key EU climate related projects is in regression, that the funds earmarked for projects in 2024, are lower than in 2022, and that, therefore, EU is failing meet net zero gas emission by 2050.
On the other side of Atlantic, USA Congress did not approve 50 billion $ new aid to Ukraine. Republican congressmen opposed the bill demanding additional measures for protecting southern boarders from illegal immigration, first. Influential US mass-media voiced doubts that aid bill may be tabled again soon, the others suggested that EU should be approached to aid Kiev, instead of USA. So far, there is no answer to the question – what about if EU is unable to act instead? In any case, both – EU and USA – are faced with both challenges: rising massive immigrations from pore, destabilized countries and financing Kiev problematic mission to defeat Russia. It is time for reflection.
2024 the year of elections
2024 will be the year of elections. More than 70 parliamentary and presidential elections will be held in countries populated by 4,2 billion people what makes more than half of the global population. Elections in 27 member countries of EU for 705 members of European Parliament, president and members of European Commission (executive branch) will be held in June, 2024. According to Portal “Politico” (December 11, 2023) recent IPSOS’ surway in seven western countries, including USA, France and Great Britain, has shown that citizens consider that democracy in their countries is worse now than 5 years ago. Growing dissatisfaction of the public with how democracy is working is noted in EU on both – Union and national levels.
For many observers, dissatisfaction among citizens in the EU is in the rise for a number of reasons. Let only three be noted here. First, is the general feeling that ruling political elites are not under democratic control, especially EU executive branch, which is not elected at the elections but disposes with great power and funds. More and more often, important decisions are being brought in informal power groups behind the scene, while democratic institutions, such as parliaments, are kept aside or used for rubber-stamping, only. Second is inflation and rapid drop in living standards of masses while, at the same time, rich elite is becoming even richer thus contributing to deepening socio-economic gaps. In spite of huge propaganda to the opposite, more and more people perceive that the cause of such reversal in their living standards is rapid rise of military spending going as assistance to Ukraine and backfiring of sanctions to Russia. As the time passes by, the truth that cutting relations with Russia is contrary to the interest of Europe, is becoming widely evident. And third, is massive immigration, especially from Africa and Middle East which is provoking more and more social problems and exploited in internal political struggle. Raise of xenophobia, particularly anti-Muslim ideologies is evident.
All aforesaid is may influence considerably the outcome of the June 2024 EU elections, as well as some national elections in Europe. Coming to power of anti-Muslim Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party in Holland, weakening of Manueal Macron’s Renaissance party and strengthening Marin le Pen’s National Alliance, in France, profound change in the political landscape in Germany in favor of the extreme right-oriented AfD are indicative of the trends of change of correlation of political forces in Europe. Strengthening of the right-wing, nationalist, populist and sovereignty oriented parties may likely be the score of EU and some national elections in Europe. How much this will influence EU relationship to Ukraine, Russia and China will depend, among other factors, on the results of US presidential elections in November 2024. Up to now, it has been clear that the present generation of political leaders in majority of European countries, as well as on the level of EU, could not be much proud of their contribution to Europe’s autonomy and identity. Forthcoming elections may bring some new characters and attitudes this regard.
Let us hope and work that 2024 will expand the space and opportunities for wisdom, understanding and creativity toward peaceful ending conflicts, openness to meeting new challenges and vision for justice, solidarity and prosperity for all.