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30th May 1999

Go East, Comrade

By Mervyn de Silva

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With each Sunday paper, it is not the foreign news page, we observe that economics is in command. And on the local news pages the message is often disturbing. Whatever happened to the so-called post-Cold War peace and stability, the New World order? No sign. Instead the outlines of a new global economic order. No, a new international economic disorder.

In a discourse already out-dated, it is a new international disorder. Not as the pundits predicted-a new global disarray. After the Soviet implosion we were informed that capitalism and private enterprise would take over. No more ideology- the “market” is in command. Certainly in what we identified as ‘the third world’ or developing countries, non -aligned in terms of foreign policy. Non-alignment which introduced itself in Yugoslavia well over three decades ago. Whatever happened to Tito’s Yugoslavia? You mean Serbia? Croatia ? Ah yes, Kosovo?

Ethnic conflict is the popular instant answer. Whatever happened to nation and nation-state or State, with a capital ‘S’ Capital ?

Confusion, disorder, the first sign of a global crack-up? Yes, not a new World Order but a NEW WORLD DISORDER . Not a new benign order but a return to another jungle . DAS KAPITAL but not quite the utopia the two wisemen promised. Yes, private enterprise, our new Church, IMF/ IBRD.

So let’s listen to the respected Jeffrey Sachs director of the Centre for International Development at Harvard, and Michael Kremer, Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

“Some two hundred and fifty (250) million dollars annually would be sufficient to purchase vaccine for the 25 million children born in just one continent, Africa, at ten dollars each year.”

Here there is real hope for those 25 million. But alas far more is spent on the manufacture and sale of weapons..... “small wars” in three (or four) continents. What’s the answer? Jeffrey Sachs and his colleague claim the sum is no more than 250 million per year.

U.S. China

Will the rich world respond? The first step has to be taken by the richest and the most populous - the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Hopes of agreement between these two States were evidently slim up to last month.

Politics, foreign policy and armed ethnic conflict were regarded as more important and urgent than the agenda of the World Trade Organisation. Bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was regarded as an arrogant violation of ethics by the US-led military alliance, NATO. The PRC, a permanent member of the Security Council, also a permanent member with the Power of Veto, had to yield. Once a superpower challenging the United States, the Soviet Union (USSR) does is no more strong enough for the United States. The “Union” of the Soviet Union cannot match the “unity” of the United States. However this issue and confrontation exposed the conflicts. “Contradictions”? In Marxist-Leninist lingo that now threatens the Yeltsin Presidency. A direct confrontation between President and Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Prime Minister, unemployed. And it was the seasoned Primakov who had patiently endeavoured to “ re-construct” Russia’s foreign policy.A Marxist-Leninist in Moscow, if any, would have studied Asia and so China. When America was being built the rallying cry was “go west, young man. Russia must now look Asiawards.....China and India........

Hulftsdorp Hill

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