Despite our achievements since the attainment of our genuine Independence in 1990, our people are still facing the structural consequences of the apartheid colonial realities. Our people bear the brunt of poverty, inequality, unemployment, disease, and underdevelopment.
Given the recent visit of President Geingob to the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, the question we need to ask ourselves is whether we have been able to consolidate the posture of our foreign policy in the continent and the world to advance our national interest?
One of the crucial questions is also whether we are able to use the opportunities we enjoy in the international relations platforms to advance the objectives of our national interest? Of importance, how do we relate to our understanding of the principles of international solidarity to achieve our fundamental objectives?
Our answer to these questions will help us expand our sphere of influence within the international arena. Therefore, our main objective is to consolidate the leadership role of our country within the realms of the international world.
Surely our foreign policy outlook should be informed by our internal dynamics; hence our main objective is to create prospects for meaningful participation of the majority of our people into the mainstream economy. Therefore ours is the transformation of our economy in a manner that responds to the demands of the overwhelming majority of the people of our country.
Our perspective on international solidarity should inform the role of our country on the international platform. Our approach is informed by our struggle to create a world, which is a better place for all humanity and our strategic approach is to strengthen multilateral institutions such as the SADC, AU and the UN to achieve the overall objectives of creating a just, equitable and humane world.
Characterisation of the world today
History is a testimony that some western countries have effectively used their aggressive foreign policy to advance their national interests. In most instances they have been supporting undemocratic changes of government as an instrument to serve their global agenda. But on the contrary, lack of democracy has been used as an excuse for intervention in areas where their national interests are under threat.
National interest has become an important factor in determining the world balance of forces. While the situation described above presents a gloomy picture, the rise of emerging economies led by China in the world economy has heralded a new dawn of hope for further possibilities of a new world order.
The rise of China as the second strongest economy, with the re-emergence of economies of Russia, and major countries of the South, is gradually redefining the world towards a multi-polar order. Therefore, the growing influence of China on the global economy is an important factor in the balance of global power relations.
China economic development trajectory remains a leading example of the triumph of humanity over adversity. The exemplary role of China in this regard should be a guiding lodestar of our own struggle. Further giving credence to “shifting balance of forces”, as opposed to static observation, of the dominant US led unipolar world, is the emergence of BRICS constituted by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The formation of BRICS as a powerful political and socio-economic bloc is necessarily not just about the size of the population of the member states but also the abundance of the requisite markets. What has become clear is that the formation of BRICS was a conscious political decision to roll back the post-World War II Washington Consensus.
The formation of the BRICS Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will have a far-reaching impact on the development trajectory of the world institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The US does not appreciate the resurgence of China and Russia as dominant factors in the arena of international power relations. It has instead declared a cold war against these two emerging world powers. Its destabilisation strategy against China is on three fronts:
The US is bent on portraying China as the world’s worst polluter and a threat to the environment with the intention being to suggest that China is but a paper tiger whose economic rise is not sustainable; The US, backed by its ideological apparatus, has tried a repeat of the Tiananmen Square against the Chinese government by parading to the world staged protests as a popular uprising by human rights activists; The US is exploiting China’s dispute with some of its Asian neighbours over the North and South China Sea islands to rally these neighbours against China, including trying to build an anti-China alliance of Asian satellite states that will take its orders from Washington.
Russia has not been spared the wrath of US-led Western imperialism. As with China, the Russian leadership is constantly being portrayed in the Western media and official discourse as monsters abusing human rights.
As with China, demonstrations and marches are being staged and given huge publicity in the Western media in order to destabilise the Russian government.
Whatever genuine concerns may exist within the Russian population and populations of former Soviet Union, there is a clear plot to exploit this in order to contain the rise of Russia globally. It is an encirclement strategy that seeks to isolate Russia in the manner that is being attempted on China as well.
This is the context within which the crisis in Ukraine should be understood by the world progressive forces. As with China, Russia’s neighbours are being mobilised to adopt a hostile posture against Moscow, and enticed to join the European Union and NATO. Pro-West satellite states are being cultivated or as we saw with the coup in Ukraine, even invented, to encircle Russia and allow their territory to be used for the deployment of NATO’s hostile military hardware faced in the direction of Russia. These Western manoeuvres, directed from Washington, are reminiscent of Cold War.
That said, we must set up consultations with experts as well as academics regarding the situation between Russia and Ukraine to enable us to remain informed on the developments. In addition, China is involved in territorial disputes over islands in the North and South China Sea areas that have also drawn the ire of the US that has military bases in the region. We should observe this situation closely.
Washington’s sponsored destabilisation is not limited to Russia and China. We see it unfolding in the streets of Latin America including in Venezuela which the US has strangely declared a threat to its “national security”, in the Middle East and in African countries with the sole intention of toppling progressive democratically-elected governments. This has a bearing on the nature of conflict and the scourge of terrorism we see in the world today.
The conflict in Syria, which now involves a few global powers, remains unresolved but there has been new developments unfolding with the rise of the extremist groups in Iraq putting further pressure on the Syria government.
We have witnessed the spectre of violence spread to other parts of the Middle East with the rise of extremist groups in Iraq with a spill-over effect on the region. This has attracted the interest of western powers and others deploying militarily in the region, ostensibly to fight the rise of extremists, but in the process helping to further complicate the situation in the Middle East.
Furthermore, great understanding with regard to the Arab World is required in lieu of The Middle Eastern Alliance that was formed between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Sudan with regard to the situation that has evolved in Yemen. Secondly, the changes unfolding between the Western Forces and Iran necessitate the political research and to analyse the impact these changes would have on the Region as well as the impact it would have on the Palestinian situation.
Now religious extremism and fundamentalism has become an anchor of terrorism in the African continent.
The terrorist groups with their radicalism have reined terror mainly in the East, Central and the northern parts of the continent. The Libya crisis helped the spread of illegal weapons to the rest of the Sahel Region, thus contributing to increased destabilization of Africa by fuelling cross-borders crimes, human and drug trafficking, and violence affecting the ECOWAS Region and other parts of Africa.
By invading Libya under the pretext of protecting civilians, the West has thus helped the spread of violence, conflict and terrorism in Africa. Now the African continent continues to face social upheavals that characterized regime change, internal conflicts, violence etc in countries such as Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, Lesotho, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Madagascar, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia.
In addition, one of the contributing factors hampering the political, social and economic integration and development of the African content is the high levels of illicit capital flow. The Report by the African Development Bank and the Global Financial Integrity Institute, reveal a high calibre analysis of the extent to which the illicit financial outflows hamper the social and economic development of the continent.
Each and every year, roughly one trillion dollars flow illegally out of the developing countries due to crime, corruption and tax evasion.
The estimates are more than ten times the amount of the foreign aid flowing into the same economies. The consequence of the illicit financial outflow is that it drains hard currency, reserves heightened inflation, reduce tax collection, cancel investment, undermine trade, worsen poverty and undermine income tax. From the year 1970–2004, the estimated illicit financial flows from the African continent are at approximately $854 billion.
The report estimates that the illicit money stolen by corrupt officials amount to 3%, whilst 65% moves across the border through international trade.
Further compounding the high levels of poverty as a result of income inequalities amongst the nation states are the continued challenges of diseases including recently Ebola as well as climate change which continues to inflict catastrophic disasters to the poor of the world particularly those in the developing world.
By Paul T Shipale