Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 7.2018
2018.02.12— 2018.02.18
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Press release on Second Round of the India-Russia Consultations on Security in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (Об итогах второго раунда Российско-Индийских консультаций по вопросам безопасности в сфере использования информационных и коммуникационных технологий (ИКТ)) / Russia, February, 2018
Keywords: digital, top_level_meeting

The Second Round of India-Russia Consultations on Security in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) were held on February
15-16, 2018 in New Delhi, pursuant to the bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in ensuring security in the use of Information and communication technologies between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Russian Federation signed on October 15, 2016 on the sidelines of the 8thBRICS Summit in Goa.

The Indian delegation was led by Mr Rajinder Khanna, Deputy National Security Adviser, in coordination with Dr Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator. The Russian delegation was led by Mr Oleg Khramov, Deputy Secretary, Security Council of the Russian Federation.

The Sides reaffirmed their common concerns relating to threats in the use of ICTs and common approaches in ensuring security in this field. Both Sides highlighted the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the use of ICTs by deepening interaction between specialized agencies.

The Head of the Russian delegation called on India's National Security Adviser who underlined the strategic character of India-Russia relations as well as highlighted the need to strengthen cooperation in the important sphere of use of ICTs.

Both Sides reiterated intention to strengthen practical cooperation on issues relating to ensuring security in the use of ICTs, including information sharing on emerging threats in this field, exchange of technical and confidential information, capacity building including sharing ICTs to fight against its use in criminal and terrorist purposes.

The Sides agreed that it is necessary to prevent misuse of ICTs for criminal and terrorism purpose and to prevent conflicts in the use of ICTs for ensuring security in the use of ICTs. The Sides stressed the significance of adopting norms, principles and rules of responsible state behavior in the use of ICTs with the UN as the key facilitator. In this respect, there is a need for the resumption of the work of a Group of Governmental Experts on Development in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security in order to develop the norms, principles and rules on security on the use of ICTs.

For the sake of further development of bilateral cooperation of security on the use of ICTs, both sides noted the necessity to consistently enhance activity by creating additional mechanisms of interaction between competent authorities and agencies as has been stated in the mentioned 2016 Bilateral Agreement.

The Sides reaffirmed their willingness to maintain regular bilateral dialogue on issues related to ensuring security in the use of ICTs with a view to further enhancing cooperation in this area.
Congratulations to Cyril Ramaphosa on his election as President of South Africa (Поздравление Сирилу Рамафозе по случаю избрания Президентом Южно-Африканской Республики) / Russia, February, 2018
Keywords: quotation, vladimir_putin

Vladimir Putin sent a message of congratulations to Cyril Ramaphosa on his election as President of the Republic of South Africa.

The President of Russia expressed his appreciation of Mr Ramaphosa's contribution to fighting apartheid and to promoting the development of a democratic society in South Africa. He also expressed confidence that Mr Ramaphosa's tenure as President will help accelerate the country's movement on the path of progress and prosperity.

Vladimir Putin highlighted the friendly relations between Russia and South Africa and confirmed his readiness for constructive dialogue and cooperation with Cyril Ramaphosa, including in the context of South Africa's BRICS presidency.

Comment by the Information and Press Department on the election of South Africa's new president (Комментарий Департамента информации и печати МИД России об избрании нового Президента ЮАР) / Russia, February, 2018
Keywords: political_issues, Cyril_Ramaphosa, mofa

On February 15, following the resignation of Jacob Zuma from the post of President of the South African Republic (SAR), the SAR Parliament elected Vice-President Cyril Ramaphosa as the country's new head of state.

Mr Ramaphosa is the leader of SAR's ruling African National Congress party. He has contributed much to the fight of the South African people against apartheid and to the establishment of a democratic society in SAR.

We expect that with SAR's new president elected and sworn into office, work will continue to promote the development of Russian-South African strategic partnership, which has been consistently implemented both in a bilateral format in the political, trade, economic, humanitarian and other spheres and within the framework of BRICS, the G-20, the United Nations and other international forums.
The (Former) Soviet Empire Strikes Back ((Бывшая) советская империя наносит ответный удар) / USA, February, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance
Author: Richard Sokolsky, Paul Stronski

It took quite a while but the Trump administration, in the recently released National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, is finally talking about Russia as a strategic competitor. But before the national-security bureaucracy gathers a head of steam to wage Cold War 2.0, Washington should take a deep collective breath and approach this challenge with patience, realism, prudence and restraint to avoid overreaching as it seeks to protect core American interests.

Since 2012, Russia has been conducting a sophisticated, well-resourced and generally successful campaign to reassert its global influence at the expense ofthe West. Still, it is by no means obvious, as the new National Defense Strategy claims, that Russia wants to shape a world consistent with its authoritarian model and gain a veto over the economic, diplomatic and security decisions of other nations. It is equally unclear whether the administration has the resolve or capacity to mount an effective and sustainable response to global Russia, given Trump's preternatural instinct to give Putin a pass on aggressive Russian behavior and a disorganized interagency decisionmaking process.

But assuming the White House can get its national-security agencies on the same page, how should the United States deal with the challenge posed by Russia's global activism? The first step is understanding the sources of Russian conduct and the challenge it presents. The second is to determine when, whether and how to respond to Russia's global activities.

The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming

Russia's meddling in the U.S. political system is part of a broader global campaign to undermine what the Kremlin sees as a Western-dominated international order and to chip away at the liberal norms and institutions that underwrite it. Like the character in Woody Allen's 1983 film Zelig, Putin and his minions have been showing up in virtually every corner of the globe to contest American influence and its leadership of this order.

In Europe, there is evidence of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 Brexit vote and to promote far-right and fringe candidates with ties to the Kremlin in elections in France, Germany and Italy. Moscow also sought to stoke Catalan separatism prior to the October 2017 independence referendum and backed a coup in Montenegro to prevent it from joining NATO. The Kremlin has littered the path of integrating Balkan countries into the West with numerous obstacles. Bosnia's security minister recently warned that Russian-trained mercenaries have established a paramilitary unit to support Milorad Dodik, the country's ethnic Serbian separatist leader.

In the Middle East and Africa, Moscow is now in the driver's seat in trying to navigate a peaceful transition of power to a post–Assad political order. Russia recently signed a major arms deal with NATO ally Turkey and is collaborating with Ankara to prevent further Kurdish expansionism in Syria; concluded an agreement with Egypt that would allow Russian aircraft to operate out of Egyptian bases; and increased its support for a Libyan warlord who now controls half the country. In South Africa, Russia is knee-deep in the corruption scandals that have rocked the Zuma government.

Closer to home, Russia hopes to reassert its former trade ties with Cuba and resume military and intelligence operations on the island. U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently warned of Russian meddling in Mexico's upcoming presidential election to swing it in favor of a populist candidate who campaigns on anti-American themes. Canadian officials have warned of Russian influence operations in the country. The Kremlin is using loans to prop up the authoritarian Maduro regime in Venezuela, gobbling up much of the country's oil and gas assets at bargain-basement prices.

What Does Russia Want?

Many of these seemingly disparate activities reflect Russia's quest for a multi-polar world. This organizing principle of Russian foreign policy was first articulated in the mid-1990s by Russian foreign minister Yvegeny Primakov. It has been echoed in every major foreign-policy speech Sergei Lavrov has made since 1994, first as Russia's ambassador at the UN and for the last fourteen years as Russia's foreign minister. Putin punctuated this theme in his lament in 2005 that "the breakup of the USSR was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century" and at his speech at the 2007 Munich security conference, when he railed against "the United States' monopolistic dominance in global relations."

Over the past decade, Putin has harped about the "lawlessness of American exceptionalism" and its poor stewardship of the liberal based international order. Exhibits A-F, in his brief, are the Bush administration's 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and mismanagement of the domestic economy; the Obama's administration's decision to topple the Qaddafi regime in 2011 and then to walk away from the debris it left behind; Obama's efforts to support the overthrow of the Assad regime; U.S. promotion of democracy and "color revolutions" across the former Soviet Union; and a decade of failed policy inAfghanistan. In Putin's mind, many of these actions helped spawn the current state of global disorder, the rise of Islamic extremism, and the turmoil that has engulfed the Middle East.

Thus, Russia's global activism is deeply rooted in Putin's vision of what he wants the world to look like and Russia's global role and position in this world. Moscow is not doing this, moreover, just because it resents the West's power and wants to undermine Western democratic, security and economic institutions, although it certainly does. Russia is also going global because of its lackluster economy at home and desire for more business abroad—and because being seen as the U.S. equal on the global stage and standing up to America is good politics.

What Would George Kennan Do?

George Kennan once compared the United States to a giant, slumbering dragon: slow to arouse but once awakened it thrashes about wildly to slay those who have disturbed its tranquility. Now that the Trump administration has recognized Russia as a major national-security priority, it should not go out in search of dragons to destroy, but start by asking the following questions: what U.S. interests are threatened by Russian actions and how likely is it that Russia can achieve its goals; what is the objective Washington hopes to achieve by pushing back on these activities and why do we expect the proposed measures to achieve it; what are the likely cost and consequences of those measures and how might they be managed or mitigated; and what should we do if our measures fail to advance our preferred outcomes.

In answering these questions, it is important to remember that the Kremlin is not operating from some master plan and we are not watching Cold War, the sequel. The Kremlin doesn't want to run the world. Putin understands the limits on Russian power and the costs and risks of being the big dog on the block; he wants instead to accelerate the transition from the post–Cold War unipolar world led by Washington into one with multiple poles in which Russia has a secure place at the table. The Kremlin offers no viable alternative to the existing order.

Nor has Russia created the problems it is exploiting; rather, it is taking advantage of opportunities to fill voids created by Trump's "America First" doctrine and U.S. and Western missteps. Indeed, Russian activities are less fire and fury and more for show and for flipping the bird at the United States. Russia will continue to take a back seat to China in the Asia-Pacific region. Russia is not about to dominate Europe, its activities in Africa and in this hemisphere have nuisance value but are not game-changers, and the Kremlin has no interest in fixing a broken, angry and dysfunctional Middle East.

Furthermore, Russia is not immune from overreaching or blowback. The Kremlin has succeeded in trying to limit Ukraine's Western integration and domestic reform efforts, and it has also exacerbated strains in transatlantic unity. But for the first time in a generation Russian aggression in Ukraine and threats to other European states have triggered a real debate in NATO about improving the alliance's defenses and some needed increases in allied defense spending. Russia's aggression against Ukraine has cemented the latter's Western orientation and driven a stake through the heart of Moscow's dreams of integrating Ukraine into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the centerpiece of Putin's goal of creating Russian-led counterweight to the EU.

Although Russia's intervention in the 2016 U.S. presidential election fueled political dysfunction, it also created a political firestorm that has weakened Trump's ability to reset relations with Moscow, strengthened rather than removed sanctions against Russia, and helped firm up European resilience to and awareness of Moscow's tactics and growing political and economic footprint in several EU or NATO countries. Moscow's backing of far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen similarly backfired. It not only highlighted Russia's attempts to intervene in French politics, but enhanced European public awareness of Moscow's influence efforts and shored up European resilience to Russian meddling. Previous Russian efforts to show global or regional leadership—through BRICS, the CSTO and the EEU—have all floundered.

Thus, the United States should not conflate Russian activities with success—not all of its actions will yield the results Moscow wants or damage important western interests. When this is the case, the West should be careful to avoid overreacting, because doing so only builds up Putin in the eyes of the Russian public and confers the global status he craves, handing him cheap victories.

The Kremlin will not abandon its global strategy and when Russian activities threaten core western interests and values, such as its attempts to undermine democratic processes and transatlantic security and economic institutions, the United States and its allies should seek to roll back, contain or minimize the impact to these interests. But the heart of the U.S. response to Russia's global activities should revolve around more targeted sanctions and sharing information about what Russia is doing in allied and friendly countries and exchanging best practices for shoring up the resilience of their societies, political institutions, financial sector and cyber infrastructure. It would also highlight Russian failures and the tremendous costs to the Russian state of its activities. This is the broad approach the West took to similar Soviet activities during the Cold War. It worked then and it can work again as long as the United States and its partners remember their fundamental strengths and values.

Richard Sokolsky, currently a nonresident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, served in the State Department for thirty-seven years.

Paul Stronski is a senior fellow at Carnegie and a former NSC director for Russia and Central Asia.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
China's 'New Silk Roads' Reach Latin America (Китайские "Новые шелковые пути" достигли Латинской Америки) / Brazil, February, 2018
Keywords: global_governance, expert_opinion, emerging_market
Author: Pepe Escobar

A sharp, geoeconomic shift took place last month in Santiago, Chile at the second ministerial meeting of a forum grouping China and the 33-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, told his audience that the world's second-largest economy and Latin America should join efforts to support free trade. This was about "opposing protectionism" and "working for an open world economy," he said.

After encouraging Latin American and Caribbean nations to participate in a major November expo in China, Wang delivered the clincher – Latin America should play a "meaningful" role in the 'New Silk Roads', known as the Belt and Road Initiative. The Chinese media duly highlighted the invitation.

The Latin American stretch of the Belt and Road project may not turn out to be as ambitious as the Eurasia program. Yet the trend is now clear with Beijing turbo-charging its infrastructure connectivity drive across the region and the Caribbean, with more deals on the way.

The strategic imperative is to build smooth connections across the continent, converging on its Pacific coastline – and forward through maritime supply lines to the Chinese seaboard. You could call it the Pacific Maritime Silk Road.

Last year, Chinese banks and institutions invested US$23 billion in Latin America – the biggest surge since 2010. And they are all in for the long haul.

Predictably, fellow BRICS member Brazil is the largest recipient of Chinese foreign investment for the past 10 years at about $46.1 billion, plus more than $10 billion in acquisitions. Russia, Indian and South Africa are the other nations that make up the BRICS bloc.

Costs plummeted

Marcos Troyjo, the director of the BricLab at Columbia University, has broken down the numbers. Up to mid-2010, Brazil was very expensive. Then suddenly costs plummeted because of the exchange rate or devaluation of companies.

Large Brazilian groups were badly damaged by the incredibly complex 'Operation Car Wash' corruption investigation. The infrastructure industry depended on state funds, which suddenly dried up and a wild privatization spree followed with Chinese, American and European groups taking advantage.

China is already the top trading partner of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru. Others will inevitably follow. This is not only because China's imports of commodities, such as iron ore, soy and corn tend to rise, but also because the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank will increase lending.

China's master plan for Latin American trade and investment follows what is dubbed the "1+3+6" framework, mapped out by President Xi Jinping in July 2014 at a summit in Brasilia. The "1" refers to the cooperation plan itself, guiding specific projects and ranging from 2015 to 2019 as Beijing aims for $250 billion in direct investment and around $500 billion in trade.

The "3" is about the key areas of cooperation – trade, investment and finance. And the "6" prioritizes cooperation in energy and resources, and infrastructure construction, as well as agriculture, manufacturing, scientific and technological innovation, alongside information technology.

The top three Latin American powers, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, who also happen to be G20 members, are all into major infrastructure expansion, which fits into Beijing's plan.

Of course, there will be serious snags along the way, such as the $50 billion Nicaragua Inter-Oceanic Canal, now competing with a surge in Panama-China relations after the country broke ties with Taiwan. And the game-changing, transcontinental, Atlantic-Pacific railway between Brazil and Peru is also a long way away.

But Foreign Minister Wang was been careful to explain how this proposed Latin Belt and Road program will benefit the Latin American region. "It has nothing to do with geopolitical competition," he said. "It follows the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration. It is nothing like a zero-sum game."

In the end, China's geopolitical rewards will end up positively riling the Trump administration, which has taken its eye off the ball in its own backyard. Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, decided to hit the road a few days after the China-Latin America summit in Santiago with pit stops in Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, and Jamaica.

He underlined the Monroe Doctrine a cornerstone of US policy in the region. "[It] clearly has been a success, because … what binds us together in this hemisphere are shared democratic values."

'Imperial powers'

Tillerson then bashed China, saying Latin America "does not need new imperial powers." The Global Times stressed how Tillerson "showed disdain" to China's "constructive approach." "China has no military bases in the region and has dispatched no troops to any of the Latin American countries," it said.

Tillerson most of all bashed Venezuela. He suggested sanctions aimed at "the regime" and not "the Venezuela people," and claimed that President Nicolas Maduro could face a military coup even though Washington was not gunning for a regime change.

In fact, doubts persist on whether President Donald Trump will even show up at the next Summit of the Americas in April in Peru. The contrast is stark with President Xi, who has visited three times since 2012.

Still, a rash of academic papers has shown how Brazil and Argentina have reoriented their foreign policy from a "pro-South" stance towards a pro-US neoliberal view. Yet, China keeps advancing – geoeconomically and geopolitically.

And that appears to be a trend. Washington will need to invest in a much more sophisticated game if it is to compete economically against China. That would turn out to be the ideal trade and investment scenario which would profit Latin America the most.

Public opinion seems to have made up its mind. Across Latin America, according to a Gallup poll, approval of US foreign policy has dropped from 49% in 2016 to 24% last year. Approval of President Trump stands at a dismal 16%.

In sharp contrast, China's investment through the Belt and Road Initiative has given President Xi a distinct advantage.
Russia Invites BRICS to Create a Platform for Investment in 'Green Technologies' (Россия приглашает БРИКС создать платформу для инвестиций в «зеленые технологии») / Russia, February, 2018
Keywords: ecology, investments

Russia has invited the BRICS countries to create a financial mechanism for investment in "green technologies" and environmental projects, the press service of Russia's Natural Resources Ministry reported referring its minister Sergei Donskoy.

According to the press service, at a meeting with Environment Minister of South Africa Edna Molewa in Cape Town, South Africa, Donskoy said that Russia is working on such a mechanism.

"We proposed creating a public-private partnership platform for the BRICS countries to exchange experience in legislative regulation in the field of environmental protection, as well as search for, exchange and introduction of green technologies," Donskoy said.

According to him, it is also planned to use the potential of the New Development Bank for this project.

According to the ministry's report, the minister plans to discuss these issues in detail during a meeting of the working group on the environment of BRICS states in May.

BRICS is an informal association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The group was founded in June 2006 at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and was known as BRIC prior to inclusion of South Africa in 2009.

The main task of the New Development Bank is to finance infrastructure projects and sustainable development projects in the BRICS states and in developing countries.
Russia Invites BRICS Members to Invest in Post-War Syria (Россия предлагает членам БРИКС инвестировать в послевоенную Сирию) / Russia, February, 2018
Keywords: investments, global_governance, social_issues

The Russian Federation has invited its partners in the BRICS coalition organisation to invest in post-war Syria, as the country has begun its massive reconstruction process after the deadly war of at least six years.

"According to Syrian estimates, losses in the real sector of the economy topped $75 billion," Syrian Ambassador to Russia, Alexander Kinshchak, told TASS news agency.

"UN experts believe that it will take nearly $200 billion to achieve the pre-crisis GDP growth rate," he continued.

"We are aware that the Syrian government will find it difficult to obtain a huge amount of money required for the post-crisis recovery," Kinshchak explained.

"Therefore, Russia suggested that the international community, first of all, the nations friendly to Syria, should join efforts in order to work out a complex program for its revival," he added.

The BRICS is comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Two countries, India and Brazil have least cooperation in the organization. However, many other countries especially Iran has been ready to join the coalition.
Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
Zuma's political future not to affect BRICS Summit, say experts (Политическое будущее Зумы не повлияет на Саммит БРИКС, говорят эксперты) / China, February, 2018
Keywords: SA_chairmanship, Jacob_Zuma, political_issues, expert_opinion

JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The potential dimission of the South African president is unlikely to impact the 10th BRICS Summit scheduled for July, said experts.

The 10th BRICS Summit is the 10th annual diplomatic meeting of the BRICS, a grouping of major emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

South Africa's ruling party African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday ordered President Jacob Zuma to step down as the state head after marathon talks over the fate of the leader.

The potential dimission of the president, according to experts, will not impede the 10th BRICS Summit to be held in July in South Africa, which takes over the rotating chairmanship of BRICS this year.

"The Zuma exit (Zexit) will not affect the BRICS summit. A new South Africa president will convene the summit and the programs will continue," Gwinyai Dzinesa, a researcher at Centre for Conflict Resolution based in Capetown, South Africa, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

The summit scheduled for July 25-27 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg will see South Africa push forward the programs of development and prosperity for partner countries.

Zuma had earlier requested a three-month "notice period" before he submits his unconditional resignation, ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule told the local media on Tuesday.

This proposal was put to the ANC's National Executive Committee (NEC) on Monday, as it discussed Zuma's recall from office, but was shot down by the committee.

Zuma has reportedly told Cyril Ramaphosa, the leader of the ANC, that he will use the three months to "introduce him" to international bodies such as the African Union, the United Nations and BRICS.

South Africa will not allow the summit to abort, said Ngqabutho Nicholas Mabhena, a political commentator at the Zimbabwe Communist Party.

"The BRICS mechanism has strengthened cooperation for institutional development, which saw the creation of the New Development Bank (NDB) and the recently launched Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg," Mabhena added.

He also said South Africa is willing to see BRICS countries help each other with inclusive economic growth, value-added multilateral trade and investment in productive sectors.

Since South Africa joined the BRICS in 2011, the country has scored major achievements, such as the mentioned NDB.

Gerry Thomas, the chief executive officer of Krispy Kreme, a famous South African food producer, said in an interview that the summit is important and "its organization will be an important milestone towards building stronger solidarity and cooperation among the emerging markets."

Magashule also said on Tuesday that Zuma has not been given a deadline to resign but is expected to respond to the recall on Wednesday.

As uncertainty over Zuma's future continues, the South African government has postponed a cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
What Ramaphosa needs to do to fix South Africa's foreign relations after Zuma (Что Рамафоса должен сделать, чтобы исправить внешние отношения Южной Африки после Зумы) / South Africa, February, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion
South Africa

When President Cyril Ramaphosa sits down to brief a newly appointed Minister of International Relations and Development, he might wonder what to say.

Here are three suggestions which could help guide the conversation.

Strengthen diplomatic service

Extensive evidence suggests that a professional and well-trained diplomatic service is vital for the success of any country's foreign policy. During the Zuma presidency South Africa's diplomatic service has been aimless at best, and sometimes simply embarrassing.

Some of this has been caused by a failure to focus on the needs of professionals in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. So, this will be a good place to start.

Since the Mandela presidency, transforming the diplomatic service has been a priority. This has succeeded in terms of racial equity, although some work remains to be done on gender equity. But this is not a straightforward issue. Not all countries are keen to receive women as foreign representatives.

Of course, this is no excuse: thinking and planning around this issue, especially at the managerial level, has to match the requirements for gender transformation within the country.

An effective diplomatic service needs a continuous training programme. Language and career-level training does take place within the department, but long-term career preparedness - from entry into the service to exiting it - has dropped away. Unfortunately, diplomatic training has been merged with policy planning , which has led to mission drift.

But the biggest obstacle to the development of a professional foreign service remains the issue of political appointments. All countries make these. But the operating principle is that they are limited, and made for strategic reasons - say, a well-connected individual appointed to a particular country to handle a specific issue.

In South Africa's case, though, this has gotten entirely out of hand. Estimates are that some 80% of senior positions in South African missions abroad are occupied by 'external non-career' appointees. Many are casualties of the squabbles within the ruling party, the African National Congress.

Whatever the reason, the outcome has placed limits on the career prospects of the professional diplomatic corps.

Even more worrying is that many of these appointments have been made without due diligence. In the past few years, the dodgy backgrounds of a number of senior appointees have come to the fore. Besides embarrassing the country, it has undermined the professionalism of career diplomats.

Making use of a public process to select heads of diplomatic missions - along the lines of the Judicial Services Commission for the appointment of judges may be a way forward on this issue.

Take BRICS seriously

The opportunities that the idea of BRICS - the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - offers the country is poorly understood. As a result, BRICS gets a bad press, especially in establishment foreign policy circles.

This is a mistake, and needs to be changed, because BRICS offers new ways to think about - and engage with - the rise of new powers in a changing world. For good or ill, the liberal global order that was established in the late 1940s has given way to new ways of managing world affairs.

Many obstacles stand in the way of BRICS as a political project, but the idea has opened up a pathway to a non-Western-centred way of understanding international politics. South Africa can help to shape this new thinking about the future, which should draw on the spirit of the decolonisation debate.

The issue of where South Africa fits into BRICS and what this means for the world should be steered by a Minister (and Ministry) who understand that the country must help to make international rules, and not simply abide by them.

The region matters most

Southern Africa remains the formal focal point of the country's foreign policy. Unfortunately, this is not always acknowledged.

The politics of each individual country in the region weighs on the fate of this country. A simple measure of this is the number of citizens from the region who are living and working in South Africa.

The following example carries the point. In some circles, it is thought that millions of Zimbabwean are living in South Africa. The figures for the citizens of other countries in the region are probably in the same ballpark.

South Africa must respond to the migration issue by accommodation, not the fierce acrimony that has emerged elsewhere. The hard fact is that the country's borders cannot be sealed off from its neighbourhood, the only solution on offer by security-centred analysts who, unfortunately, dominate the debate about the region.

Foreign policy is not only about security: it is mostly about listening and understanding.

For the region to be at peace, South Africa has to recognise that the borders that divide its people are, after all, colonial constructs.

Foreign Policy begins at home

These three issues may seem banal - after all, the debates about South Africa's post-apartheid foreign policy have largely focused on big-ticket items like the African Renaissance, making peace in Africa, and reforming the United Nations.

But these high-flying ideas have missed an old truth, namely that foreign policy invariably begins closer to home.
Time for Cyril to put SA first (Настало время Сирилу поставить ЮАР на первое место) / South Africa, February, 2018
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance, economic_challenges, SA_chairmanship
South Africa

As we prepare for the new era, having ousted the man who ousted former president Thabo Mbeki, before he could make his 10-year anniversary, the emerging consensus is that – never mind South Africa's declining global competitiveness – the country's foreign policy is in the doldrums.

It will require a deliberate and systematic approach by our leaders to ameliorate this unflattering state of affairs.

According to the latest World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, the world economy is showing encouraging signs of recovery since the 2008 global financial meltdown. Gross domestic product growth accelerated to 3.5% in 2017.

Despite this positive development, South Africa's global competitiveness dropped 16 places to 61st spot, as our economy fell from a growth rate of 3.2% into a technical recession in the corresponding period.

It is universally expected that the economy will improve under President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The economic recovery and growth depend largely on which economic and foreign policy choices Ramaphosa implements.

During his tenure, president Nelson Mandela was clear about the country's foreign policy position: independence and coherence.

Notwithstanding his global stature, which would have influenced how South Africa was regarded, Mandela's administration was able to establish political and economic treaties with others as equals.

US president Bill Clinton learnt not to tamper with South Africa's foreign policy choices after trying to dissuade Mandela from warm relations with Fidel Castro's communist Cuba.

It was thus not a coincidence when South Africa was invited to join, and still remains the only African country with membership of, the powerful G20 nations.

Mandela's successor, Mbeki, sought to reverse cynicism about Africa's ability to progress without the West's tutelage or meddling.

Mbeki's signature foreign policy thrust placed Africa at its centre and helped elevate the continent's foreign policy agenda. The New Partnership for African Development (Nepad); transforming a lethargic Organisation for African Unity; spearheading the African renaissance; and re-establishing Africa's pre-eminence in ancient knowledge systems and heritage, especially Timbuktu and Mapungubwe, were hallmarks of Mbeki's foreign policy in Africa.

Jacob Zuma, Mbeki's successor-in-title, eviscerated South Africa's economic and foreign policy standing.

The last decade saw new fault lines emerging in the global economic and political order. This seems to have presented a golden opportunity for venal, constitutional delinquent Zuma to realign South Africa's foreign policy towards Russia and China with like-minded characters.

As Russia and China inexorably entrenched their status as Africa's ascendant powers, having outmanoeuvred the West across the continent, South Africa's foreign policy agenda impotence crystalised.

Whereas Mandela could instruct a superpower to "go jump", under Zuma South Africa was reduced to China's lapdog.

China twice succeeded in demanding Zuma's administration deny Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama entry into South Africa. This was a clear message that South Africa had subordinated its foreign policy agenda to the whims of its new best friends, Russia and China.

The Dalai Lama fracas prompted an evidently disheartened Archbishop Desmond Tutu to exclaim: "Hey Mr Zuma, you and your government don't represent me. You represent your own interests."

International trade and economics suffered under Zuma. Historically favourable trade relationships with the US through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and with the Eurozone, were sullied under his rule.

It was on the continent where South Africa, once regarded as a paragon of human rights, disappointed the most. On the human rights abuses perpetrated in countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and Uganda, South Africa's silence grew even louder.

Perversion of democratic processes in the DRC didn't raise Zuma's eyebrows, as mining concessions granted to his nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, seemed to trump South Africa's interests.

Shielding fugitive Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from the International Criminal Court (ICC) and South Africa's subsequent application for withdrawal from the ICC's Rome Statute, confirmed our country's descent into a human rights abuse apologist – a far cry from Mandela and Mbeki's halcyon eras.

South Africa's membership of the Brazil, Russia, India, China (Brics) group of emerging economies, once billed a watershed moment, turned out to be an unabashed disservice to our sovereignty. For far too long, South Africa's foreign policy and international trade vacillated as Zuma mollified Brics and an incoherent, impotent African Union.

In the process, South Africa paid incalculable economic and political costs as Russia and China turned a blind eye to apparent state-sanctioned bilateral trade-based malfeasance.

It is crucial for South Africa to renegotiate its participation in Brics and, at a minimum, demand improved trade terms. Divestiture from Brics' New Development Bank is an economic imperative for South Africa.

It is common cause that most infrastructure projects funded through the bank will likely benefit Russia and China. This to the almost total exclusion of Brics' junior partner, South Africa.

Clearly public expectations of Ramaphosa, and his responsibilities, extend beyond the confines of his party and the physical borders of South Africa.

With Africa projected to drive the next wave of global economic growth, it would be opportune to, perhaps, revisit Nepad and greater economic integration of the Southern African Development Community zone.

Notwithstanding the need to drive increased trade within Africa and the elevation of Africa's agenda globally, it is crucial that South Africa places its foreign policy and economic interests above everyone else's. Surely Mbeki would be disposed to assist Ramaphosa in this regard.

As Ramaphosa attempts to reset a beleaguered ANC and South Africa's fortunes, it is imperative that deliberate and bold steps be taken to recalibrate our foreign policy agenda.

With Zuma finally history, Ramaphosa's ascendancy to the highest office in the land paves the way for him to reinvigorate South Africa's economic and foreign policy fortunes with urgency.

Precise, deliberate actions are demanded of Ramaphosa if he is to help reverse our declining global competitiveness, reinvigorate the ailing economy and boost our flaccid foreign policy agenda.

The question is, how long will it take for South Africa to rise again and assume its rightful place among nations?
Comprehensive reports, BRICS research materials
BRICS and Global Governance (БРИКС и глобальное управление) / USA, February, 2018
Keywords: research, expert_opinion, global_governance
Author: John Kirton, Marina Larionova

The past few decades have witnessed the development of an increasingly globalised and multipolar world order, in which the demand for multilateralism becomes ever more pronounced. The BRICS group established in 2009, has evolved into a plurilateral summit institution recognized both by sceptics and proponents as a major participant in the international system.

Addressing the BRICS's role in global governance, this book critically examines the club's birth and evolution, mechanisms of inter-BRICS cooperation, its agenda priorities, BRICS countries' interests, decisions made by members, their collective and individual compliance with the agreed commitments, and the patterns of BRICS engagement with other international institutions. This volume advances the current state of knowledge on global governance architecture, the BRICS role in this system, and the benefits it has provided and can provide for world order.

This book will interest scholars and graduate students who are researching the rise and role of emerging powers, global governance, China and India's approach to global order and relationship with the United States, Great Power politics, democratization as a foreign policy strategy, realist theory-building and hegemonic transitions, and the (crisis of) liberal world order.
Contemporary BRICS Journalism (Современная журналистика БРИКС) / USA, February, 2018
Keywords: research, expert_opinion, social_issues
Author: Svetlana Pasti, Jyotika Ramaprasad

Contemporary BRICS Journalism: Non-Western Media in Transition is the first comparative study of professional journalists working in BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). The book presents a range of insider perspectives, offering a valuable insight into the nature of journalism in these influential economies.

Contributors to this volume have conducted in-depth interviews with more than 700 journalists, from mainstream and online media, between 2012 and 2015. They present and analyse their findings here, revealing how BRICS journalism is envisioned, experienced, and practised in the twenty-first century. Compelling evidence in the form of journalists' narratives reveals the impact of digital culture on modern reporting and the evolving dynamic between new media technology and traditional journalistic practice. Insightful comparisons are made between BRICS countries, highlighting the similarities and differences between them. Topics covered include; professionalism, ethics and ideals, community journalism, technological developments in the newsroom and the reporting of protest movements.

This book's ambitious analysis of journalistic landscapes across these non-Western nations will significantly broaden the scope of study and research in the field of journalism for students and teachers of communication, journalism, and media studies.
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