Monday, June 12, 2023

The Hegemon Will Go Full Hybrid War Against BRICS+ - By Pepe Escobar

 The Hybrid War 2.0 against the Global South has not even started. Swing states, you have all been warned.

U.S. Think Tank Land hacks are not exactly familiar with Montaigne: “On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”

Hubris leads these specimens to presume their flaccid bottoms are placed high above anyone else’s. The result is that a trademark mix of arrogance and ignorance always ends up unmasking the predictability of their forecasts.

U.S. Think Tank Land – inebriated by their self-created aura of power – always telegraphs in advance what they’re up to. That was the case with Project 9/11 (“We need a new Pearl Harbor”). That was the case with the RAND report on over-extending and unbalancing Russia. And now that’s the case with the incoming

American War on BRICS as outlined by the chairman of the New York-based Eurasia Group.

It’s always painful to suffer through the intellectually shallow Think Thank Land wet dreams masquerading as “analyses” but in this particular case key Global South players need to be firmly aware of what awaits them.

Predictably, the whole “analysis” revolves around the imminent, devastating humiliation to the Hegemon and its vassals: what happens next in country 404, also known – for now – as Ukraine.

Brazil, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are dismissed as “four major fence-sitters” when it comes to the U.S./NATO proxy war against Russia. It’s the same old “you’re with us or against us” trope.

But then we are presented with the six major Global South culprits: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey.

In yet another crude, parochial remix of a catch phrase referring to the American elections, these are qualified as the key swing states the Hegemon will need to seduce, cajole, intimidate and threaten to assure its dominance of the “rules-based international order”.

Saudi Arabia and South Africa are added to a previous report focused on the “four major fence sitters”.

The swing state manifesto notes that all of them are G-20 members and “active in both geopolitics and geoeconomics” (Oh really? Now that’s some breaking news). What it does not say is that three of them are BRICS members (Brazil, India, South Africa) and the other three are serious candidates to join BRICS+: deliberations will be turbo-charged in the upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa in August.

So it’s clear what the swing state manifesto is all about: a call to arms for the American war against the BRICS.

So BRICS packs no punch

The swing state manifesto harbors wet dreams of near-shoring and friend-shoring moving away from China. Nonsense: enhanced intra-BRICS+ trade will be the order of the day from now on, especially with the expanded practice of trade in national currencies (see Brazil-China or within ASEAN), the first step towards widespread de-dollarization.

The swing states are characterized as “not a new incarnation” of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), or “other groupings dominated by the Global South, such as the G-77 and BRICS.”

Talk about exponential nonsense. This is all about BRICS+ – which now has the tools (including the NDB, the BRICS bank) to do what NAM could never accomplish during the Cold War: establish the framework of a new system bypassing Bretton Woods and the interlocking coercion mechanisms of the Hegemon.

As for stating that BRICS has not “packed much punch” that only reveals U.S. Think Tank Land’s cosmic ignorance of what BRICS + is all about.

The position of India is only considered in terms of being a Quad member – defined as a “U.S.-led effort to balance China”. Correction: contain China.

As for the “choice” of swing states of choosing between the U.S. and China on semiconductors, AI, quantum technology, 5G and biotechnology, that’s not about “choice”, but to what level they are able to sustain Hegemon pressure to demonize Chinese technology.

Pressure on Brazil, for instance, is much heavier than on Saudi Arabia or Indonesia.

In the end though, it all comes back to the Straussian neocon obsession: Ukraine. The swing states, in varying degrees, are guilty of opposing and/or undermining the sanctions dementia. Turkey, for instance, is accused of channeling “dual-use” items to Russia. Not a word on the U.S. financial system viciously forcing Turkish banks to stop accepting Russian MIR payment cards.

On the wishful thinking front, this pearl stands out among many: “The Kremlin seems to believe it can make a living by turning its trade south and east.”

Well, Russia is already making excellent living all across Eurasia and a vast expanse of the Global South.

The economy has re-started (drivers are domestic tourism, machine building and the metals industry); inflation is at only 2.5% (lower than anywhere in the EU); unemployment is at only 3.5%; and head of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina said that by 2024 growth will be back to pre-SMO levels.

U.S. Think Tankland is congenitally incapable of understanding that even if BRICS+ nations may still have some serious trade credit issues to iron out, Moscow has already shown how even an implied hard backing of a currency can turn out to be an instant game changer. Russia is at the same time backing not only the ruble but also the yuan.

Meanwhile, the Global South de-dollarization caravan moves on relentlessly – as much as the proxy war hyenas may keep howling in the dark. When the full – staggering – scale of NATO’s humiliation in Ukraine unfolds, arguably by mid-summer, the de-dollarization high-speed train will be fully booked, non-stop.

“Offer you can’t refuse” rides again

If all of the above was not already silly enough, the swing state manifesto doubles down on the nuclear front, accusing them of “future (nuclear) proliferation risks”: especially – who else – Iran.

By the way, Russia is defined as a “middle power, but one in decline”. And “hyper-revisionist” to boot. Oh dear: with “experts” like this, the Americans don’t even need enemies.

And yes, by now you may be excused to roar with laughter: China is accused of attempting to direct and co-opt BRICS. The “suggestion” – or “offer you can’t refuse”, Mafia-style – to the swing states is that you cannot join a “Chinese-directed, Russian-assisted body actively opposing the United States.”

The message is unmistakable: “The threat of a Sino-Russian co-optation of an expanded BRICS—and through it, of the global south—is real, and it needs to be addressed.”

And here are the recipes to address it. Invite most swing states to the G-7 (that was a miserable failure). “More high-level visits by key U.S. diplomats” (welcome to cookie distributor Vicky Nuland). And last but not least, Mafia tactics, as in a “nimbler trade strategy that begins to crack the nut of access to the U.S. market.”

The swing state manifesto could not but let the Top Cat out of the bag, predicting, rather praying that “U.S.-China tensions rise dramatically and turn into a Cold War-style confrontation.” That’s already happening – unleashed by the Hegemon.

So what would be the follow-up? The much sought after and spun-to-death “decoupling”, forcing the swing states to “align more closely with one side or the other”. It’s “you’re with us or against us” all over again.

So there you go. Raw, in the flesh – with inbuilt veiled threats. The Hybrid War 2.0 against the Global South has not even started. Swing states, you have all been warned.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.