The Financial Express

Geopolitical stability remains illusive

Geopolitical stability remains illusive

Political satire does more than take the Mickey out of politicians. It exposes the hollowness behind grandiloquence and reveals the bareness in the cupboard of resolve. What the actors on the world stage often forget is that in the crowd of believers, there will always be a child to point out the Emperor's new clothes. Except these aren't children but personalities such as sculptor Isaac Cordal or the creative team at Time magazine. Cordal was at his brilliant best in sculpting in Berlin world leaders debating Climate Change while the water slowly engulfed and put them under. 

Perhaps the Time team copied the format in a cover of Antonio Guetteres in knee-deep water. His caustic and matter-of-fact statement is pointed. "We seem trapped in a world where fossil fuel producers and financiers have humanity by the throat. For decades, many in the fossil fuel industry have invested heavily in pseudo-science and public relations with a false narrative to minimise their responsibility for climate change and undermine ambitious climate change policies". 

This is the latest salvo coming from the man that heads an organisation set up to prevent wars and promote equitable practices in the world. Having been re-elected for a second term, Mr Guetteres swallowed his pride at being left out in the cold during the pandemic. It was after the inevitable Security Council debacle over Ukraine that he became critical of the five nations that can and do make the United Nations irrelevant. Picking up on the insidious fall-out of the war, he was as blunt."..let's make sure the war in Ukraine is not used to increase that dependency (on fossil fuel markets)". The closing line is the clincher that reveals the Emperor's new clothes. "Today's most pressing domestic problems -- like inflation and gas prices /are themselves climate and fossil fuel problems". 

The Cordals of the world have been suggesting as much as did Greta Thunberg in her famous reaction to the Col 26 meeting -- "Blah, blah, blah". During the pandemic, leading fossil fuel producers did their best to reduce their presence and investment in such carbon-based activity. These were efforts dashed by President Biden, turning to ramp up extraction from the United States' zealously guarded reserves of Shale oil. The entire world is hurting, some becoming bankrupt. Others, such as Bangladesh, are seeking preemptory loans.  

Countries are quietly scampering around looking to find Yuan and Roubles as China and India gleefully support Russia's navigation skirting the sanctions. Just in terms of fuel, China's imports from Russia have gone up 55 per cent making her the largest supplier. India has also upped its imports, taking advantage of cut prices. Russia has promised the BRICS partners Brazil, India, China and South Africa support. An Indian company has ordered $25 million of coal from Russia paying in Yuan (anyone surprised?). India is also buying crude, refining and reselling to ramp up flagging exports.  

The United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) debts are at an all-time high. Roughly US$28 trillion for the US and the UK £1731 billion or 85 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It's lower than most European countries with France waltzing at 92 per cent. Having to foot higher bills, fund temporarily the Ukraine war and face galloping inflation, the G7 have now got a billion dollars pledged towards supporting pandemic-hit countries in the future. That's short of the $10 billion estimated.  

Then again, funds pledged to help the most vulnerable countries against Climate Change haven't materialised. That three non-G7 countries were invited to attend the meeting in Germany displays a sign of helplessness. That's magnified by the agreement to hold the next G-20 meeting in India's Kashmir. So much for the world's concern about minorities! Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdul Momen's appeal to Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has met with the same upper lip as in Munich. No one wants the Rohingya. They must go home is the chorus. Choruses never enunciate the 'How'.  

In general, Ukraine was a fairly well-off country despite all its corruption. The refugees that have invaded Europe have been welcomed with open arms even as other, middle-eastern and African refugees are denied entry to Poland and being sent packing to Rwanda by the UK, in exchange for hard cash to that country. It will take decades to rebuild all that was destroyed in Iraq, Syria, Libya and now Ukraine. The proxy war participants will no doubt help, but not with their own money. And as we know, debt repayment mechanisms are all pointed in one direction. Subservience. 


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