With respect and equality, BRICS walks on the road of a new civilization
Published: Jun 27, 2022 02:51 PM
BRICS File photo: VCG

BRICS File photo: VCG

In recent days, I have read some media reports about the just-concluded 14th BRICS Summit, and I found in these reports that there was an obvious tendency to deviate from the facts.

BRICS is not an anti-Western camp, nor is it a group to fight the West. The keywords of this year's BRICS meeting are "development," "cooperation," "stability" and "peace," which aim to bring the world back on the right track.

Peace and development are the original mainstream of the global situation, but the US has led it astray. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is also purposefully misled by the US. Now BRICS is bringing back the right track, telling the world on behalf of more than 170 developing countries and regions that we want development, cooperation, stability and peace.

In Chinese President Xi Jinping's remarks at the High-level Dialogue on Global Development on the next day after the BRICS Summit's opening, his first sentence goes, "Development is a timeless theme for humanity." Then he sincerely said that "only through continuous development can the people's dream for a better life and social stability be realized."

Today, the West is engaging in protectionism, small cliques, maximum sanctions and decoupling, which are obviously leading the whole world into the gutter. From this perspective, the greatest significance of the BRICS Summit this time is to have reached an international consensus to promote development. This is the right track of the world and of humanity.

Some media said that BRICS wants to engage in a different camp from the West. This is obviously wishful thinking, bringing BRICS down to the same level as the West. The position of BRICS is much higher than that of G7.

In terms of the Russia-Ukraine situation, the Western media also has misunderstandings about the BRICS mechanism. The position of the 14th BRICS Summit Beijing Declaration is not to help Russia fight the West, but to make peace, engage in negotiations, and truly have humanitarian concerns for Ukraine.

The US did not do any of this. The US in fact hopes that the Russia-Ukraine conflict will continue. It is in line with the US' interests to let Russia and Ukraine continue to fight for a long time. Arming the Ukrainians, rather than providing real humanitarian aid, is an important proof that the US wants the two countries to continue their fighting. The US is hypocritical. It is BRICS that really wants to resolve the situation in Russia and Ukraine.

The 14th BRICS Summit Beijing Declaration gives Russia enough face as well as pressure. The so-called saving face means that the declaration mentioned only "the situation in Ukraine," and it did not use the phrase "Russia-Ukraine conflict." The declaration also commends the discussions during the Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations on May 19 and the 12th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisers and High Representatives on National Security on June 15. The declaration reaffirms the UN's sole authority for imposing sanctions, which means saying no to the US-style sanctions. These are all responses to Russia's concerns.

But on the other hand, the BRICS system has given Russia three types of pressures that Russia itself has to agree with. The first is to emphasize peaceful settlement of differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation. The second, as noted in the declaration, is that "we support talks between Russia and Ukraine." This also shows that Russia is willing to negotiate. The third is to discuss the humanitarian concerns for Ukraine.

However, BRICS is still the most trustworthy reliance for Russia. It will not harm Russia. All BRICS countries are increasing oil imports and conducting normal trade, and they have not followed Western sanctions. These countries are the warmest and sincerest friends of Russia on the international stage. But such friends are not fair-weather friends. If you beat others and some people cheer for you, then they are very likely to be fair-weather friends. Those who say you should not be impulsive and who persuade you to negotiate are real friends.

India's role is equally worthy of recognition. India has always been wooed by the West, but this time, it did not follow the West. This approach is correct.

Indian strategists should believe that India cannot become a vassal of the West. By roping in India, the West only wants it to return to its second-tier role under the colonial system of the past. Compared with being in the Western camp, India can enjoy the role of a great power that owns equality and dignity more in the BRICS system.

And such equality, justice and mutual respect are the symbol that BRICS represents the future of the world. BRICS is not to rebuild a military alliance, nor to walk again on the path of the G7, or to form a small faction to fight against another. Instead, it hopes that the humanity will walk on the road of a new civilization.

The author is professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. wangwen2013@ruc.edu.cn