There is a growing danger that BRICS – the club of the nations that are holed up at the frontline, in the trenches, facing global Western imperialism – could one day be diluted and weakened if some radically right-wing Western allies, such as Indonesia and Turkey, were to be allowed to join.
BRICS consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and it was originally supposed to be just an economic block, but in recent years, Western attacks against countries with independent political and economic systems, pushed most of the BRICS nations into a powerful political alliance, even an embrace.
With the exception of the staunch ally of the United States and a capitalist zealot – India – all the other member countries are standing defiantly and proudly against the latest wave of a Western neo-colonialist onslaught. They may have diverse political and economic systems, but anti-imperialism is their essential common denominator.
All of them, again with the exception of India, are under severe propaganda attacks from the Western mass media.
For the last few years, China and Russia are being encircled militarily, and openly provoked. South Africa is demonized and ridiculed, while Latin America has endured countless attacks, and gross interference in its internal affairs: the progressive governments in Honduras and Paraguay were overthrown, and many ‘opposition movements’ were persistently manufactured and financed from the North.
But the block that embraces roughly 40% of the global population has been moving forward, creating the much needed diversity and, once again, a bipolar world.
On 15 July 2014, Pepe Escobar wrote for Asia Times from Brazil, where the leaders of BRICS countries met, incorporating into these encounters, other Latin American nations. Grandiose plans were defined, and it has, once again, become clear how close China and Russia are to the progressive Latin American nations; how fast they are all moving towards each other politically, strategically and economically:
“The headline news is that this Tuesday in Fortaleza, northeast Brazil, the BRICS group of emerging powers (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) fights the (Neoliberal) World (Dis) Order via a new development bank and a reserve fund set up to offset financial crises.
It’s been a long and winding road since Yekaterinburg in 2009, at their first summit, up to the BRICS’s long-awaited counterpunch against the Bretton Woods consensus – the IMF and the World Bank – as well as the Japan-dominated (but largely responding to US priorities) Asian Development Bank (ADB).
These are great times, without any doubts.
Where India stands is unclear. I recently visited this the second most populous nation and after travelling there, intensively, came to the conclusion that its elites, its military and the religious cadres that are running what the West cynically calls “the world’s largest democracy”, are definitely much closer to Washington and the ‘Chicago School of Economics boys’, than they are to Moscow, Brasilia, Pretoria or Beijing.
I also established that the overwhelming majority of Indian people are told very little about developments in Latin America, China and Russia, and that they have almost no influence on the direction in which their country is developing.
I will soon release my report on India in the BRICS’s context, but what I can say now is that it is obvious that this complex country is not at all a driving force in the alliance.
It is also clear that this new, powerful and important (for the survival of the mankind) block does not need in its ranks more “client” states handled by the West. For that very reason, the ‘dilution’ of BRICS countries and of their determination is exactly what the corporate and neo-colonialist world is trying to achieve.
There is an entire group of lethal candidates, ready to join BRICS at any moment, in order to torpedo the movement. And there are several different packages of extension on offer, from a ‘small enlargement’ by Indonesia and Turkey to much a bigger one, by an entire group called MINT, an abbreviation for Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey.
If such an expansion occurs, it would, most certainly, destroy the entire political direction in which the BRICS are moving.
It has to be averted by all means.
MINT countries range from those that are simply right-wing, to those that are openly fascist. All of them are staunchly pro-Western, and governed by the elites. Mexico is the most reasonable and benign of them.
Indonesia is the ‘deadliest’ one, as it is not just a country but it also an entire concept. In 1965, the West teamed up with the corrupt Indonesian elites, the military and religious cadres, and overthrew the progressive President Sukarno, father of the Non-aligned movement.
At least 1 million Indonesian Communists, intellectuals, union leaders, teachers and members of the Chinese minority were murdered, but the number may well have been much higher; as high as 3 million. Mass ‘punitive’ rapes and the destruction of Indonesian culture took place simultaneously. Books were burned. Almost everything was privatized and offered up for foreign exploitation.
Two brutal genocides followed: those against the people of East Timor and, an on-going one, against resource-rich but poor and tribal Papua. In the first one, one third of the local population vanished, and in the second, even according to Western human rights groups, at least 120,000 people died. More are dying as this is being written. There are no discussions and no protests against the slaughter.
‘Concept Indonesia’ (just murder indiscriminately, spread fear, paralyze the entire nation and then let the private sector grab everything) has latterly been implemented with varying success in numerous countries around the globe, including Chile (Allende’s people were told again and again, before the 1973 coup: “Watch out comrades, Jakarta is coming!”), Russia under Yeltsin, and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to name just a few.
Suharto’s ‘stepping down’ and the ‘return of democracy’ was just a cosmetic maneuver. Savage capitalism has clenched its fists and survived. In Indonesia, virtually nothing public remains. There are hardly any public parks, public cultural institutions or even modern public waste management. If international statistics were to apply, more than half of the population lives in misery. Creativity has been reduced to almost zero, with the fourth most populous nation on earth showing hardly any scientific or artistic achievements, hardly any research. And the economy is growing only due to the severe plundering of what is left of its natural resources, and due to high global commodity prices.
In the recent Presidential elections, two candidates ran neck-and-neck: a retired general, an alleged war criminal with a bunch of his buddies behind him, and a populist with another set of military cronies backing him up.
With all the mass media being owned and controlled by business interests, and with virtually all the political parties serving local oligarchs, ‘democracy’ is just a word with which the West is covering up all those past and present horrors of one of its most brutal and grotesque client-states.
It is also important to mention, that in ‘democratic’ Indonesia, the law bans atheism and Communism, and many gatherings that are aimed at discussing the reintroduction of at least something ‘public’, are brutally broken up by religious zealots and by the cronies that serve corporate interests.
It is easy to imagine what impact there would be, if Indonesia were to be ‘invited’ to join BRICS!
It would be naive to think that a country like Indonesia is a natural ally of, for instance, Latin America, just because it is located in the ‘South’, and because it is not near the West, geographically. Its direction of ‘development’ and the mentality of its rulers, are the exact opposite of what countries like Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, but also Brazil or China, stand for and are fighting for.
Countries like Indonesia take dictates not from their people, but from their corrupt business cronies and their Western handlers.
Turkey is somehow better, but it is also implementing a savage capitalist system, and it allowed itself to be used as the main Western ally in the Middle East, with its RAF and USAF air forces bases, with ‘refugee camps’ that are training Syrian ‘opposition’ fighters.
Turkey is an important member of NATO, and many ‘opposition intellectuals’ there (even those who claim to be from the Left), particularly those in Istanbul, still see their country joining Western alliances (including the European Union) as the main goal.
Nigeria is, in many ways, the same as Indonesia: a country that gulps its own citizens. There seems to be no ideology there, but plenty of market fundamentalism, ego-trips of the elites, of religious fundamentalism (and Islam is definitely not the only religion that goes overboard), and of serving foreign interests.
And, just as in Indonesia, in Nigeria there is an absolute and endemic spite for the poor people – for the majority of the nation.
A Ugandan left wing opposition figure, Arthur Tewungwa, commented on Nigeria for this essay:
“There is a veneer of competence masking an underbelly of business as usual, plain uncaring corruption. Is the present government in Nigeria pro-US; pro-Western? It is; very! The current Finance minister, for instance, is a former World Bank big wig. BRICS have to be wary – too many fifth columnists!”
Mexico used to be a revolutionary country and it is still a nation with both a big culture and a tremendous heart. But it is not certain yet which direction it will take, under the stewardship of its young President from PRI, Enrique Peña Nieto. However, of all the MINT countries, Mexico has the most humane social system and it is certain that if accepted, it would hardly steer BRICS off its present foreign policy course.
The BRICS are moving forward and it is mainly the quality of their designs for a much better world, not just the number of its members that matters.
It is not, and it should never function, like a commercial club that tries to attract a broad membership base.
BRICS developed, evolved, from an economic group, into the leaders of the truly free world; of course together with their great allies like Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.
As has been said many times: they are not perfect, but they are all that we have, and they are constantly improving.
Among the BRICS, there is no place for countries that are siding with the colonialist powers, as there is no place for those nations that are tormenting and sacrificing their own people. For now it is still just an acronym of the countries, its members. But soon, who knows, it may be interpreted as the Broad Revolutionary Internationalist Causeway towards Socialism.
The BRICS should be very careful, very selective, whom they invite and whom they accept into their ranks. They are the vanguard of the new world. And they are what the “Old World” (or call it the ‘world regime’) wants to destroy, by all means.
It is their duty, their obligation to live, to survive.
Each country that wants to join should be asked to prove that it exists solely in order to serve its own people, as well as our great humanity!
Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. The result is his latest book: “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. ‘Pluto’ published his discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. His feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” is about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.