Thursday, October 22, 2015

BRICSPOST: South Africa Preparing to Quit the International Criminal Court (ICC)

I saw this article recently in the BRICSPOST. It is an editorial piece that suggests that Africa in general and South Africa in particular are perhaps ready to leave another international organization perceived to be biased in favor of the West and the US. The signifigance of this article is that is shows yet again that impatience is increasing in the BRICS nations for changes in their voice in the existing global institutions (IMF, World Bank, UN). Below are a few quotes.

"A ruling ANC policy meeting has given its nod for South African plans to withdraw its membership of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This ‘landmark’ decision is bound to spur greater debate on the ICC and its ‘inherent biases’.
Let’s rewind a bit here.
At its national conference in 2012, South Africa’s governing party the African National Congress (ANC) resolved to engage with the International Criminal Court to seek amongst other matters the perceptions that the court treated African nations unfairly on matters of global justice.
The court was seen as only focused on Africa and no other continent. In the court’s 13-year history it has only brought charges against Africans."
. . . . . 
"The decision of South Africa’s ANC this past weekend should be seen as a part of Africa’s renewal and her demands to be heard and treated as an equal in global politics.
As Africa finds its voice and refuses to be colonized in commerce, justice and global politics,the next frontier will be her push for meaningful UNSC reforms to include her one billion population.
South Africa is seen as a front-runner for a permanent seat on the UNSC. The issue of UNSC reforms is inextricably linked to the ICC fallout as the UNSC controls much of ICC’s activities even though the majority of permanent members are not ICC state parties.
A month ago Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed the Sudanese president in China as an “old friend”. Beijing, like Washington, is not a member of the ICC, although both are permanent UNSC members.
Instead, the ICC has been seen by many as a proxy tool of the US to further its narrow global hegemonic political interests and to even effect its policy on regime changes through the ICC itself. This has made this court unequal and inequitable in every sense."
. . . . . .
"South Africa has not only consistently shown the ability to negotiate and kick-the-can but has also been able to come up with global alternatives as seen in the formation of the BRICS bank as a counterweight to the unreformed International Monetary Fund.
South Africa’s BRICS partners India, China and Russia are not state parties to the ICC.
At the center of the South African move at ICC, is the demand for a representative global order and the ruling ANC is showing impatience with the dragging negotiations to achieve equitable balance amongst United Nations member states."
My added comments:
As we move into an election year in 2016 in the US we have an interesting dynamic to keep an eye on. At the same time we see increasing signs of frustration and impatience in the BRICS nations over the US refusal to back reforms at global institutions that would increase their influence, we see Donald Trump emerging in the US. Trump's entire message is that US interests come first and that if elected he will see to it that the US "wins again." Nothing about his message suggests he plans to be very concerned about the BRICS nations desires to gain more influence globally.  
This pretty well sums of the stalemate we see in the US and the world. While most everyone likes to hear about "global cooperation" and other appealing sounding phrases, the reality is that when push comes to shove individuals and nations seek to look out for their own interests first. 
Right now most analysts predict the Republican party will at a minimum retain control of the US House of Reps. Many think they will retain control of the Senate or at least prevent a Democratic control since it takes 60 votes in the Senate to do much of anything most of the time. The White House is viewed as a toss up right now. 
The point being that the same forces that tend to promote gridlock (divided control of government) are likely to stay in place after the 2016 elections. If the Republicans were to somehow win control of both The White House and Congress, the chances of the IMF reforms and other reforms the BRICS want to see in the global institutions drop even further. 
For now, as far into the future as we can look, it seems unlikely that the reforms desired by the BRICS nations are likely to take place. At some point, they will just move on with their own Plan B and the idea of some kind of global cooperation for a monetary system becomes very unlikely (without a global crisis). More likely is idea that each area of influence continues to move forward somewhat independently while maintaining appearances at the IMF, World Bank and the UN as if they are globally cooperating. The outcome of the 2016 US elections will be interesting for sure.

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