BRICS Summit Confirms the “Tectonic Shift” Underway toward Peace and Development

The proceedings of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, underscored that a worldwide tectonic shift is indeed underway, driven by the understanding that a new architecture of peace and development is now a prerequisite for survival. As announced, bringing Africa, as “the continent of the future”, fully into the new dynamic was a special focus of the five members of the group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). “The world is changing,” South Africa’s President Ramaphosa emphasized in his opening remarks. “BRICS stands for inclusivity and a more just, equitable world order.”

The world is facing an extraordinarily dangerous crisis, both economically and politically, and “we are well aware of where this path could lead,” Brazilian President Lula da Silva stressed. “The world needs to understand that the risks involved are unacceptable for humanity.” Furthermore, he said, “it is unacceptable that global military spending in a single year exceeds $2 trillion, while the FAO tells us that 735 million people go hungry every day in the world.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that “the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation,” and that peace and development must go hand in hand. He posed the key question in his remarks to the BRICS Business Forum on Aug. 22: “Should we work together to maintain peace and stability, or just sleepwalk into the abyss of a new Cold War?” He further stressed that “development is an inalienable right of all countries, not a privilege reserved for a few,” and that “we need to fully leverage the role of the [BRICS] New Development Bank.”

President Putin, who participated via video for security reasons, called on the BRICS to “build up partnership in science and innovations, healthcare, education, and humanitarian ties as a whole.” He proposed that all five should play a greater role “in the international monetary and financial system, develop interbank cooperation, [and] expand the use of national currencies”. He noted that Russia will assume chairmanship of the BRICS in 2024, and intends to carry out the decisions jointly taken in Johannesburg.

On the BRICS bank, the New Development Bank (NDB), Lula da Silva elaborated on its role as a source of non-dollar credit to be channeled to development projects that raise physical-economic productivity—a decisive topic that was taken up in the report by the bank’s President Dilma Rousseff to the leaders. “Through the New Development Bank,” Lula stated, “we can offer our own financing alternatives, tailored to the needs of the Global South”.

There was also unanimity among the five leaders on expansion of the BRICS to six new members from among the more than 20, that have asked to join (cf. below).

But perhaps most indicative of the emerging new paradigm of cooperation and dialogue of civilizations that was palpable at the BRICS summit, are the numerous comments from the leaders about the common philosophical roots and commitments of each of their cultures to all of humanity, to the good of mankind.

Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche responded to the historic BRICS summit, and what must now follow, by pointing out that “only the Global North is now missing” to bring about a true renaissance for the entire planet. To that end, she had launched an “Appeal to the citizens of the Global North” on Aug. 19, which is circulating in all the relevant countries (cf. SAS 34/23).

We urge our readers to sign that call and to register for the SI online conference on Sept. 9 here.

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