After stunning missile and drone strikes on three countries — Syria, Iraq and Pakistan — over a period of 24 hours, Tehran then took the extraordinary step of claiming responsibility for the attacks. This conveyed a very big message to Washington that its stratagem of creating a coalition of terror groups in the region surrounding Iran will be resolutely countered. That the U.S. strategy against Iran was taking new forms began emerging after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and the consequent erosion of its standing as the regional supremo. The China-Brokered Iran-Saudi Rapprochement And The Induction Of Iran, Saudi Arabia, The U.A.E. And Egypt Into BRICS Put U.S. Strategists In Panic Mode.
Major economic shifts are occurring in the world, in part driven by a response to Western imperialist nations' long history of attempting to impose their will through economic and military coercive measures. To understand the current state of globalization and where it is headed, Clearing the FOG speaks with Radhika Desai, the director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group at the University of Manitoba. Desai discusses neoliberalism and how it weakens first world economies as well as alternatives such as the BRICS formation that are starting to have a significant impact in challenging Western hegemony. She also describes the current events in Western Asia as another turning point in the decline of Western power.
Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates formally joined the BRICS group on Monday, January 1, 2024, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced in a statement issued on the occasion of his country taking over the presidency of the group. The five countries and Argentina were invited to join BRICS as full members during its August summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Argentina however, formally declined the offer last week. Its newly elected ultra right-wing president Javier Milei said that his country would rather align with the countries in the West such as the US and Israel.
Most Important Stories Of 2023: Gaza, Ukraine, China, BRICS, Dedollarization, Bank Crises, Inflation
These were the most important geopolitical and economic issues of 2023, including the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, US-China tensions, BRICS expansion, growing de-dollarization, inflation crisis, crypto fraud, bank crashes, European de-industrialization, and more.
On a recent visit to China, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov stated that this year the use of the Russian ruble and Chinese yuan in trade between the two countries has already reached 95%. At the same time, from January to October, 68% of all Russian trade was carried out in the two countries’ currencies, according to Russian Minister of Economic Development Maksim Reshetnikov. The yuan has also been used by Russia in commercial transactions with Mongolia, the Philippines, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Japan, Tajikistan, and Singapore.
The emergence and rise of new poles of power to the detriment of existing ones is nothing new in history. Since the 18th century, there have been countless examples of transitions in international hegemony. This accelerated with the emergence of industrial capitalism in England, which was more advanced than the Portuguese and Spanish commercial capitalism that for centuries had dominated much of the world, especially Latin America. Even the capitalist dynamic inaugurated by England has characteristics that are not unfamiliar to economic historians with great theoretical and conceptual rigor.
The BRICS countries, including some of those that joined after the recent enlargement of the group, called Tuesday for an end to Israel’s aggression in the Gaza Strip, which is now a month and a half old. The bloc made this request in a communiqué issued at the end of its summit to discuss the Gaza crisis, convened by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose country chairs the BRICS this year. Ramaphosa, called for an “immediate and complete ceasefire” in the Israeli occupation army’s assault on Gaza. “Israel’s actions are in clear violation of international law, including the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention,” he said.
This first week of October has seen U.S. interest rates soar to the 5% level on long-term Treasury bonds. That has made long-term Treasuries one of most attractive investment vehicles in the world, or even the most attractive. One obvious result is that countries aiming to de-dollarize their central-bank reserves would make an untimely decision to move out of the dollar at this point. To avoid holding dollars in the form of US Treasury securities would mean holding foreign reserves denominated in a currency that is declining against the dollar. No other government is willing to make its currency so attractive to international investors (including central banks) by raising interest-rates so high.
Two interesting things happened at the BRICS summit in South Africa in August. Several new members were invited to join BRICS in 2024: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. And, at Brazil’s urging, a commission was established to study the possibility of a new currency to replace the dollar in international trade. Currency swap agreements will continue to be the way the process moves forward in the short term, though, because the dollar cannot be replaced in a rush. To escape the shackles of dollarization, Global South countries have a perilous path to walk. The major problems, as described by political economists Michael Hudson and Radhika Desai, are as follows...
At its fifteenth summit in August 2023, the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) group adopted the Johannesburg II Declaration, which, amongst other issues, raised the question of reforming the United Nations, particularly its security council. To make the UN Security Council (UNSC) ‘more democratic, representative, effective, and efficient, and to increase the representation of developing countries’, BRICS urged the expansion of the council’s membership to include countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The declaration specifically noted that three countries – Brazil, India, and South Africa – should be included if the UNSC’s permanent members are expanded.
On Ukraine, it is extremely difficult to get any airing for anti-war opinions. On the mainstream media, it is simply impossible to get a hearing,” Craig Murray said. The human rights campaigner and former diplomat sat with “MintPress News” to discuss forever wars, whistleblowing and a future conflict with China. “There’s a universal media consensus on stoking the proxy war, pouring in billions and billions of dollars, pouring in more and more advanced weapons systems. And anybody on social media who attempts to counter that narrative is marked as disinformation or a Russian state asset,” Murray lamented, noting that even during the Iraq War, there was more space for dissenting opinions.
Pepe and Michael and I are going to discuss the apparently unending series of summits and read their tea leaves to see what they tell us about how the world is changing. And that summitry has been pretty exhausting. There was the fateful NATO summit in July, where much to his chagrin, President Zelensky failed to get even a timetable to get into NATO after having prostrated his country before NATO and having long ago so faithfully let NATO into Ukraine. And then there was the BRICS summit in Johannesburg in August, where the organization defied pessimistic predictions and admitted six new members.
Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro took a historic trip to China this September. There, the two nations signed 31 comprehensive agreements and formally “upgraded” their relations to an “all-weather strategic partnership”, one of Beijing’s highest designations. China and Venezuela jointly blasted the “hegemonism” of the Western powers. Beijing formally condemned the illegal sanctions that Washington has imposed on Caracas. Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized this his government will “firmly support” Venezuela’s “just cause against external interference”. The global political and economic order is changing rapidly.
The president of China, Xi Jinping, hosted a welcoming ceremony for the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, and the Venezuelan delegation accompanying him, held at the entrance of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The two heads of state announced the elevation of the China-Venezuela relations to an “all-weather strategic partnership,” as reported by the Xinhua news agency. The ceremony, held this Wednesday, September 13, began with a roll of drums, signaling the arrival of Xi Jinping and his wife. They descended the stairs of the People’s Palace and took their seats of honor next to the red carpet. Shortly after, President Maduro arrived in a presidential motorcade.
In the United Kingdom, the BBC prepared and published data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in January about different nations’ growth forecasts for 2023 and 2024. The BBC foregrounded some really bad news for the UK. Of nine major industrial economies—the G7 (the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, and Canada), plus Russia, and China—the UK would be the only one to suffer real economic decline: a contraction in its 2023 GDP (its total annual, national output of goods and services). So dubious a distinction for the UK followed the long political night of rule by the Conservative Party. That night’s darker moments included austerity after the severe 2008-2009 global capitalist crash, scapegoating Europe for the UK’s economic troubles, Brexit taking place during the peak of that scapegoating, enjoyment of COVID cocktail parties by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government that it prohibited for the British public, and endless, transparent, and cringeworthy lying to the public when caught and exposed.