Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.
As austerity-ravaged Europe watches its undemocratic “institutions” grapple with the Greek tragedy, and the US backtracks on a fair nuclear deal with Iran, geopolitical tectonic plates are shifting in the Urals.
Can you feel an inchoate multipolar world? Well, just look right
here at the BRICS 2015 Ufa declaration. The EU is
hardly featured in the BRICS declaration and not by accident.
Forget about the dead on arrival G7. This – the joint BRICS/SCO
summit – is the real deal in 2015. Russia’s diplomatic
masterstroke was to merge two summits – BRICS and the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO) – with a third, informal meeting
of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
After all, some nations with leaders present in Ufa are members
of at least one of these organizations. But the absolute key
point is that getting BRICS, SCO and EEU leaders in one place
packs a graphic punch about the emergence of a coordinated,
Eurasia-wide, and in some aspects worldwide drive towards a more
equitable world order not dictated by exceptionalists.
And then there’s Iran. President Rouhani met President Putin in
Ufa to discuss a formidable range of topics. Not least the coming
acceptance of Iran as a member of the SCO, assuming there is a
deal in Vienna and after UN sanctions are lifted.
Right on cue, and also not by accident, US President Barack Obama
issued marching orders to Secretary of State John Kerry to
backtrack from some positions the entire Iran/P5+1 diplomatic
corps was already taking for granted – as a top Iranian
negotiator confirmed to me in Vienna.
So here’s the not-so-veiled message to Rouhani and Foreign
Minister Zarif: Iran will be “punished” for getting too close to
Have strategy, will travel
Only Russia is a member of all three organizations – BRICS, SCO
and EEU. Russia and China are key members of two – BRICS and SCO.
The Russia-driven EEU is slowly but surely merging with the
China-driven New Silk Roads. The key structural framework is the
ever-solidifying Russia-China strategic partnership.
As the Pentagon remains self-absorbed in its 2002-concocted Full
Spectrum Dominance doctrine, Russia and China counterpunch with
full spectrum cooperation on politics, economics, finance,
diplomacy and defense.
The endgame – which will be the apex of the current New Great
Game in Eurasia – is a new global geopolitical structure anchored
on Eurasian integration. Thus the importance of Iran: no matter
what happens in Vienna, Iran is the vital hub/node in Eurasia.
— BRICS2015 (@BRICS2015) July
The road has been long for the SCO. I remember when
Euro-bureaucrats only a few years ago dismissed it as a mere talk
shop. What started as a security forum to integrate the Central
Asian “stans” so they would not be ravaged by terrorism and
extremism evolved into a serious economic/political organization.
So now the SCO is starting to add to, and draw upon, the BRICS’s
ever expanding economic cooperation, which features two essential
pillars: the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the
BRICS’s New Development Bank (NDB). As for the EEU, it is also
indirectly linked to China, as part of the Russia-China strategic
This will all translate in the next few years into a complex maze
of economic and trade/commerce networks traversing Eurasia. Call
it the road map of the myriad New Silk Road(s).
Faster! Dust up our war plans!
Here’s just a sample of what has been decided in Ufa: Putin and
Chinese President Xi Jinping actively discussed, face-to-face,
interlinks in the New Silk Road(s); India will become a full
member of the SCO next year; Russia’s Finance Minister Anton
Siluanov was appointed chairman of the BRICS New Development Bank
(NDB), which will finance infrastructure projects not only in the
five BRICS countries, but in other developing nations as well.
And all that based in their own currencies, bypassing the US
The NDB has the potential to accumulate as much as $400 billion
in capital, according to bank head KV Kamath. The parent capital
is $100 billion.
Currency swaps are the way to go. It already applies to Russia
and China on trade in futures, and Putin has dubbed its expansion
to other nations as “interesting.”
A strategy for BRICS economic partnership has been devised that
“touches upon the responsibility of different ministers and
requires high-level coordination,” according to Russia’s Economic
Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukaev, which means in essence
easier trade between BRICS nations.
Both the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
and the NDB are headquartered in China. However, they won’t
compete with each other; they will add to and complement one
Russia’s Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) signed a memorandum of
understanding with the other BRICS. Significantly, China’s Silk
Road Fund and India’s IDFC (Infrastructure Development Finance
Company) are key partners.
Russia will lift restrictions on Chinese banks working in Russia,
accelerating Beijing’s drive to invest in all sectors of the
Russia proposed a roadmap for investment cooperation. Crucially,
that includes the possibility of an energy association, according
to Putin, as well as an international energy research center.
The subject of energy brings us to Greece. Russia’s Turkish
Stream pipeline – yet another diplomatic/energy counterpunch
after the EU scored a proverbial own goal by scotching the South
Stream – will be linked to Greece.
No wonder that elicited panic in Exceptionalistan. What if
Syriza’s “flirting with Moscow” becomes a strategic shift, thus
causing NATO’s eastern flank to fall to pieces?
It doesn’t matter that Russia wants a strong EU – and the EU
won’t be strong without Greece, as Russia’s Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov emphasized in Ufa.
So what does NATO propose to seduce anyone across Eurasia away
from all the frantic BRICS, SCO and EEU politico/economic
activity? Nothing less than an obsession with a “strategy
rethink.” In other words, detailed “secret”
scenarios for a war on European soil.
That’s all one needs to know about who wants what in the new,
emerging geopolitical order.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.