It is often said that behind every successful political and military campaign lies huge, undeclared financial backings. To put it in simple word, you can’t make your voice heard in politic if you don’t have the financial might to sustain the fight. This logic is well suited within the BRICS which does not hesitate to use its newfound, well established clout to push their concerns well beyond their financial power.
At the end of the summit, Brics leaders released a statement condemning the use of force in the Middle East and North Africa. Instead, they called for dialogue. China, Russia, Brazil and India have already condemned the US-led strikes against the Libyan regime. Russia, being the largest country on earth and one of the most technologically advanced nations in military development, is already a player on the world stage. It is a guarantor of world stability with regards to strategic, intercontinental balance. Itself, a former superpower with the logistic and the wherewithal to reorganize it should it decides to do so, Russia presence and leadership within the BRICS is a force to be reckoned with.
“These countries want global clout…Most of these countries are keen to be global powers and want their voices heard at the highest levels of international discussion. And given that they represent nearly half of the world’s population and are the motors driving forward global growth, it’s reasonable for them to demand a greater say,” said Innes-Ker.
China has its own imperial ambitions
The increasingly blatant use of military force by the United States and Western Europe to further their economic and strategic interests, however, is causing Beijing to rethink its foreign policy as an emerging global power. The bombing of Libya seriously jeopardizes Chinese investments there, estimating to worth billions of dollars. On top of that, it has forced China to spend a lot to rescue more than 35,000 Chinese nationals working in Libya.
Before the Libyan crisis, there were 75 Chinese firms doing business in Libya, and they all were forced to leave behind substantial quantities of valuable equipment. To evacuate its citizens, China had to mount a major long-distance operation in the Mediterranean Sea involving its navy, military transport planes and civilian ships. Moreover, China’s ambitions to access significant Libyan energy supplies are now in jeopardy as the US and European powers seek to install a stooge regime more aligned with their requirements.
According Asia Times, Beijing had a reason to abstain during the UN vote that authorized the use of force over Libya. That would have quickly led to a marked deterioration of relations with the US and Europe. “At the same time, China is not in a position militarily to further its own interests by joining in the assault on the Libyan regime. Unlike the US, Britain and France, China’s blue water navy is only emerging and lacks any aircraft carrier capacity,” explains an editorial on the WS website.
There is serious debates within the Chinese military over the issue of more funding for the military in order to strengthen the country’s capacity to defend its rapidly growing economic and strategic interests in every corner of the globe. China Military, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) newspaper, commented on April 4 that overseas investment by Chinese companies was increasing at an annual rate of 54 percent. “At the end of 2010, our foreign investing and cooperating firms numbered nearly 16,000, with 1.4 million personnel, and total overseas assets amounted to almost $US1.2 trillion… How to effectively protect these increasingly expanding overseas interests is a new subject before us.”
This new clout has the western powers edgy. But, can they do something about it?