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PEDRO MZILENI | Brics expansion will strengthen its ability to resist designs of the West

Including countries such as Ethiopia will reinforce the power of the Global South

FILE IMAGE: Deputy President Paul Mashatile at the BRICS and Political parties plus Dialoque 2023 at the Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference in Boksburg.
FILE IMAGE: Deputy President Paul Mashatile at the BRICS and Political parties plus Dialoque 2023 at the Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference in Boksburg.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

The arrest warrant against  Russian President Vladimir Putin issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2023 has been acknowledged by the South African government.

In addition, the law enforcement and criminal justice systems  seem fully prepared to implement the ICC warrant should the Russian leader set foot on South African territory.

Undoubtedly, SA was bullied into taking this decision as its economy remains  dependent on old colonial relations. This means that any resistance against the will of the US and its Western allies would plunge SA into an economic crisis.

Last month the US Senate signalled the possibility of weaponising the Africa Growth  & Opportunity Act to drive an economic embargo against SA should it decide to  side with Russia in the proxy war in Ukraine.

Furthermore, in May the US ambassador to SA accused SA of flouting international laws by allegedly arming Russia  for its military exercise in Ukraine. Added to this series of events was  a set of unprecedented visits by Nato-aligned states to SA to engage on common economic interests and security.

Between March and July 2023, SA received diplomatic visits from Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal, who all reminded SA  of the importance of the “just transition” and the need to condemn the war in Ukraine  and clarify whether Putin is coming to the 2023 Brics summit. .

The events demonstrate the aggressive nature of a West willing to strangle a weak nation like SA instead of directly confronting Russia. The US fears Russia’s military power and economic independence.

The expansion of Brics is posing an international threat to the unipolar system of operationalising the world – which has been dominated and controlled by the US for the past 70 years. But the ICC warrant shows that the Brics agreement is vulnerable when the smaller post-colonial countries in the alliance are under threat.

Brazil, SA and India remain lapdogs of US imperialism – with SA being  in a far more precarious position for being a small economy that cannot claim total control of simple items in its territory like food and fuel. As a result, the US is easily able to make threats about disinvesting in order to strike economic fear  over the foreign-owned South African economy.

By extension, this weakens the Brics alliance, and forces countries like Russia to submit to the political gymnastics of neocolonialism. In other words, the vulnerability of SA to foreign interference as a result of miscalculated decisions taken in its early days of independence is posing a serious threat to the global project of international transformation. Brics countries must meet to discuss the decision taken by SA concerning Putin.

The important Brics summit scheduled for mid-August needs to discuss many issues concerning the Global South, especially the foreign policy direction of the region after this geopolitical crisis. The Global South needs a strong, self-reliant and confident Brics region that can sustain itself and its people  despite Western sanctions.

This requires an expansion of the  bloc to include rapidly growing economies like Ethiopia – who will bring renewed eco-political energy, independence, military power, food sovereignty and consistent economic growth to provide the Global South with more diversified markets.

This will drive industrialisation that will benefit the working majority of the world and ensure that the Brics landscape ceases to be occupied by countries like SA who have double standards on major conflicts.

The Brics alliance must be an anti-colonial arrangement that is totally disengaged from Western dependence. It must be an alliance of growing sovereign states of the Global South who have the courage to destroy racism, white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism and the international trade system that is designed for elites at the expense of the poor majority.

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