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Flowers Springing Up in Global South, Can the West Be Far Behind?

March 30, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—The precious indications of sanity are popping up, like early spring flowers. The ten ASEAN countries, meeting in Indonesia on the level of Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors, escalated their arrangements for trade in local currencies—delinking from the dollar, the pound, the euro, and the yen. Indonesian President Joko Widodo was most explicit about the simple reality that the geopolitical craziness that seizes Russia’s foreign reserves must not be allowed to loot their ASEAN countries.

China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Guo Tingting announced today: “An agreement on settling payments in yuan has been signed with Brazil, which greatly facilitates our trade.” Specifically mentioned was the expansion of mineral extraction and food production, along with the increased ability to promote each other’s industrial exports.

India and Russia are in negotiations over more systematic use of their national currencies in trade settlements. The CEO Igor Sechin of the Russian energy giant Rosneft met with the heads of India’s largest oil and gas companies to work out wider cooperation in India’s processing of Russian energy resources. Sechin concluded one deal with the Indian Oil Company to “substantially increase” Russia’s sale of crude oil to India.

As China’s new Premier Li Qiang explained today at the Boao Forum for Asia: “In this uncertain world, the certainty China offers is an anchor for world peace and development. This was the case in the past and will remain so in the future.” Yesterday, at the Boao Forum, National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Zhao Chenxin warned of the uncertainties related to major Western economies’ inability to control inflation and the overall fragility of the financial system, citing the failure of Silicon Valley Bank. He indicated that a proper direction involved a new round of technological and industrial advances. China will work with other economies to make greater contributions to global economic recovery. There are unmistakable global challenges, and such global efforts are necessary to handle them.

South Africa held a BRICS economic summit, announcing their clear intent to end the colonialist “raw materials” exporter role, and underlining the need for an industrial Africa. Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the forthcoming celebration of opening Turkiye’s first nuclear energy plant, built in collaboration with Russia, to be held at the end of April.

Meanwhile, in the West, there is nothing so advanced. Yet, the recurrent nightmare of financial speculators, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Glass-Steagall” standard—surgically removing the speculative merchant banks from the commercial and other depositary banks—is popping up in discussions more and more. In the U.S. and in Italy, Glass-Steagall bills have just been revived. Major economic dailies, Neue Zürcher Zeitung in Switzerland and Handelsblatt in Germany include the “Glass-Steagall” option in their coverage as to what can be done to stop the hemorrhaging. Just a quick glance this morning shows Glass-Steagall popping up in web coverage by the Cato Institute, the Credit Union Times, Sri Lanka Guardian, Daily Kos, The Conversation, and elsewhere. This is what happens when governments wonder whether they can kick the freeloading “too big to fail” bums out the door. Once banks that actually mean to serve production—agriculture, industry, science—are freed from the “money, money, money” virus, governments can provide proper support, insurance guarantees, etc., to institutions that need to be preserved, not the ones that hold the country up for blackmail and ransom.

Yet, while the West is far behind the Global South—or Global Majority—an indication of what is possible is the outbreak of sanity that occurred in Berlin on Monday, March 27. The conference, “Dialogue Instead of Weapons—Nonpartisan Action against the War,” posed the potential for uniting all sorts of disparate groups on an appropriately high level. Panelists stressed that it is not enough to call for “peace”—popular but ineffective. One must demand “peace with Russia,” which means “ending the U.S./NATO war in Ukraine and its potential enlargement to the rest of Europe, but also stop the deindustrialization of Germany by the U.S.” The joint resolution didn’t water things down: “In the great danger in which our peoples currently find themselves, we no longer have time to argue about party political differences and different socio-political orientations. Instead, we must focus on what unites us! ... The U.S. and NATO are standing with their military might on Russia’s borders, arming Taiwan against China and thus threatening the security of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China. This policy is accompanied by economic, financial and media wars, sanctions in violation of international law and misinformation, combined with dismantling of democracy and freedom of expression.”

The “imperial war policy” means that “the people pay the blood toll and lose the hard-won social achievements.” The “war spiral” must be stopped. The statement demands “an end to this course of war through a just peace that guarantees Russia’s security and a peaceful anti-fascist Ukraine without NATO.” Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s address, a masterpiece of statecraft, will be available shortly. Such a flowering of the West is long overdue.

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