In covering Ukraine and Crimea, much of the western press has given the indication that Russia has been isolated internationally on this issue. But that is not quite the case. Much of the analysis has focused on the G8 grouping of nations that is dominated by US allies such as the NATO countries. But there are other economic groupings such as the BRICS alliance consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, and it turns out that that alliance has unanimously backed Russia’s position.
Indeed, they made this quite clear during a BRICS foreign minister meeting that took place on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague last week. Just prior to the meeting, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop suggested that Australia might ban Russia’s participation in the G20 summit it will be hosting later this year as a means of pressuring Vladimir Putin on Ukraine.
The BRICS foreign ministers warned Australia against this course of action in the statement they released following their meeting last week. “The Ministers noted with concern the recent media statement on the forthcoming G20 Summit to be held in Brisbane in November 2014,” the statement said. “The custodianship of the G20 belongs to all Member States equally and no one Member State can unilaterally determine its nature and character.”
The statement went on to say, “The escalation of hostile language, sanctions and counter-sanctions, and force does not contribute to a sustainable and peaceful solution, according to international law, including the principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter.” As Oliver Stuenkel at Post Western World noted, the statement as a whole, and in particular the G20 aspect of it, was a “clear sign that [the] West will not succeed in bringing the entire international community into line in its attempt to isolate Russia.”
This was further reinforced later in the week when China, Brazil, India and South Africa (along with 54 other nations) all abstained from the UN General Assembly resolution criticizing the Crimea referendum. Another ten states joined Russia in voting against the non-binding resolution.
This illustrates the danger of being dependent only on the western press for one’s news. One can end up with a highly distorted view of the nature of world politics.