Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Egypt and New Alliances

Very interesting interviews in the Egyptian paper Al Ahram with the President of Brazil, and the PM of Venuzuala. I had missed completely the ongoing diversification of the developing world, going from relying on help from the EU and USA to actually trading amongst themselves. I was aware of the G20, all the biggest developing nations, and their role in the WTO talks in Mexico, basically scuppering attempts by the North to get its agenda through. It seems things have moved on since then, that there is a nexus building between South America, mainly Brazil and Venuzuala linking themselves with the Arab world, most specifically Egypt. A great many interesting things have come to light, firstly that there is a significant Arab population in South America, something I was utterly ignorant of. According to the slightly dubious talk of the Venuzualan PM they are fully intergrated into the culture of south America and there is general harmony all round. Of course I will look into this with my usual degree of scepticism but it certainly is something I was not aware even existed.
Secondly it is interesting that revolutionary South American leaders are in Egypt at the very same time as a large number of protests happen across Cairo. I hope of course Silva and the Venuzualan dude give their full support to the enough movement, they really should. I hope too their trade and left leaning political influence on the Middle East will grow, though that could just be the dreams of revolutionary Leftie. It would be too an interesting side affect of the recent colour-coded revolutions if their influence would be felt in Egypt, especially as this long term ally of the US has had almost no criticism about its appalling human rights record and limited democracy. There have been rumblings in Egypt for several years now, the anti globalisation Cairo conferences have extended to cover trade justice, Arab liberation and Anti Occupation, most specifically Iraq and Palestine and establishing proper democracy. It would only be natural for the newly minted "Enough" (Kefaya) movement to link in with the older anti globalisation and anti war movements, who have their base in South America, and Brazil which hosts the World Social forum every year.
Also the hopeful formation of new trade blocks within the developing world could actually mark the turning point in the new century. No longer will the nations of the south have to rely on handouts from the north or loans or bust their economies trying to cater for what the multinationals want or say the markets demand. They quite sensibly want to trade with countries on the same level of development as themselves, the incentive is there then to be fair, to help each other get ahead. Rather than the interests of the wealthy nations who act merely as loan sharks, giving out money and aid only as a lever of control. The problems with this being there is still room for discord and that the US and EU will do all they can to destabilise it, figuring quite rightly that it is a threat to their own economic and political hegemony. It could be another OPEC, or as the Venuzualan PM warns they could be another Allende
If Mubarek does indeed get toppled by the new movement and is succeeded by someone slightly less authoritarian then it will help seal an axis stretching from South America to the Middle east. An alliance of developing and ex colonial nations able to act as equals and protective of their own interests, that will truly be a positive development in international relations


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