Discussion, debate, dialog, mutual understanding and a multilateral approach, placing the United Nations Organization at the center of decision-making and crisis management, the focus on partnership and moving forward towards new horizons. Is this a dream? No, they are the words of Russia's President ahead of the IX BRICS Summit in Xiamen, PR China.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin presented his article today entitled 'BRICS: Towards New Horizons of Strategic Partnership,' in the Kremlin website, expressing his thoughts on the BRICS member states and the future of the partnership, as a prelude to the Ninth BRICS Summit in Xiamen, People's Republic of China, on September 4-5.
In his article, Vladimir Putin highlights the scope of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa - First Summit of the first four in Ekaterinburg, Russia, in June 2009. South Africa joined in 2010). He pointed out the progress made in joint projects in areas which include the political arena, the economy and culture and referred to the increasing global standing of the group which represents over three billion people out of a total of 7.5 billion.
Principle of equality and respect
Russia's President also referred to the atmosphere in which the group works - basing its discussions on "the principles of equality, respect for one another's opinions and consensus", in an "open and trust-based atmosphere" in a climate of multilateral cooperation. The aim, stated Vladimir Putin, is to create "a fair multipolar world and equal development conditions for all".
Moving on to the sphere of international relations, Vladimir Putin stressed the need for closer cooperation among BRICS countries because combined efforts produce results, as we saw with Russia's tremendous endeavor in Syria, which today sees vast swathes of the country freed from the scourge of terrorists and the Syrian population able to move back to their homes.
Still on the question of conflict, Vladimir Putin favors "the practical creation of a broad counterterrorism front based on international law and led by the UN" and in Korea, he considers the policy of confrontation to be futile and "a dead-end road", favoring instead "a direct dialog of all the parties concerned without any preconditions", underlining the fact that Russia and China have already drawn up a roadmap towards a peaceful and diplomatic settlement, de-escalating the situation through continued dialog.
For the future, Vladimir Putin spoke about the need for a joint approach among BRICS countries in the area of information security to draw up universal rules of responsible behavior and suggests that an intergovernamental agreement among BRICS countries on international information security would be an important first step.
In the area of economic partnership, the BRICS Strategy for Economic Partnership was launched at the Summit in Ufa, Russia, in 2015 and the Russian Head of State will discuss large-scale cooperation projects with his partners in Xiamen. Vladimir Putin mentioned the importance of action twice during his article and the launch of the New Development Bank (founded in 2014), with an initial seven projects worth 1.5 billion USD, bearing witness to a practical demonstration of what the BRICS countries aim to do. A second package worth between 2.5 and 3 billion USD will be discussed in the forthcoming Summit.
For Vladimir Putin, the "global financial and economic architecture... does not give due regard to the growing weight of the emerging economies" and so the BRICS countries will be working together to promote financial regulation reforms and "to overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies", aiming to create a more balanced distribution of voting shares and quotas in the main global financial institutions.
Finally, Vladimir Putin reiterated the BRICS countries' consolidated stance against protectionism and trade barriers and explained his aims for BRICS to build cooperation to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to network. Still on the topic of enterprise, Vladimir Putin referred to the Women and the Economy public-private dialog, a process which promoted ongoing debates among BRICS countries' business communities, women's associations and agencies and he aired the idea of creating a BRICS Women's Business Club for women of these countries to interact.
Science and technology
To coordinate research activities, Russia favors the establishment of a BRICS Energy Research Platform to facilitate joint energy investment projects. Vladimir Putin described as "priorities" the areas of "science, technology, innovations and cutting edge medicine" and said that at the Ninth Summit, the leaders will discuss the threat of infectious diseases and measures to create new medicines.
As regards the area of culture, new plans will be discussed to create a BRICS television network and the idea of a wider New Wave and New Wave Junior contests for pop singers will be advanced.
Conclusion: Vladimir Putin's speech strikes a chord with the place where the hearts and minds of the vast majority of humankind resides today in a world sick and tired of conflict, belligerence, arrogance, bullying, blackmail and chauvinism, the modus operandi of the former imperialist powers which continue to interfere across the globe, setting up military bases not to mollycoddle but to meddle, adopting an approach of insolence and confrontation, sowing mistrust and pursuing foreign policies using terrorists to further their interests. Quite obviously, what we have seen develop since the early 1990s and leading up to where we are today, namely a unilateralist approach sponsored by the corporate groups which dictate Wsshington's policies and those of its chihuahuas, is leading us nowhere, and fast. Shame on those who follow suit - willingly or through cowardice.
Vladimir Putin's vision is one of a collective, multilateralist approach, based upon respect, cooperation and investment for development, networking and playing together on a fair and equal playing field, where gender equality and egalitarianism among partners is a reality. This ex aequo practical implementation of a new, post-colonial and post-Cold War approach marks a first step towards the creation of a New World Order based upon debate, discussion, dialogue, mutual respect and equality, ideals which have inspired revolutionaries for centuries and which have constantly been downtrodden by reactionaries, even today. But they are the fundamental precepts of the D-word, Democracy, which many like to preach but only a few practice.
The vision of Vladimir Putin is that of a Statesman with a tremendous stature on the world stage, demarking an importance which today is second to none and providing a very valid guide for the future of Humankind. The history book will be favorable to Vladimir Putin as one who continues to make a major contribution to global peace and well-being, surpassing all the tricks and cons of those who are constantly trying, and failing, to knock him off course. But the course he is trying to set out can only be beneficial for Humankind and those who do not wish to walk this path do not have Humankind's interests in their hearts. Vladimir Putin does.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.