No Peace
Recently Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeated Moscow's stance that it is open to peace negotiations but Kyiv and its Western allies must accept Russia's annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions after referendums last September that most governments said were illegal.

"The constitution of the Russian Federation exists, and cannot be ignored. Russia will never be able to compromise on this, these are important realities", Peskov told reporters.

Despite several battlefield setbacks, Russia still controls about a fifth of Ukrainian territory. Kyiv has so far ruled out talks with Moscow and has demanded that Russian troops withdraw to Ukraine's borders in 1991–the year the Soviet Union collapsed.

Meanwhile the International Criminal Court's top prosecutor Karim Khan was in Ukraine to investigate Russia's campaign of missile and drone attacks on power and other infrastructure that killed hundreds of civilians and left millions with no electricity or water.

‘The Trillion Dollar Silence’
It appears that the military-industrial complex has complete control of the government of the United States, which recently voted to give the Pentagon roughly a trillion dollars of the tax-payers money. This was done by cutting back on social programmes which would have helped poor working families.

Recently Joan Roelofs published a book entitled “The Trillion Dollar Silencer: Why There Is So Little Anti-War Protest in the United States” (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2022). In this book, she points out that the U S military-industrial complex has located military bases in regions where the local economy is entirely dependent on them. The vast river of money flowing into the pockets of the military-industrial complex implies that very many people earn their living, directly, or indirectly, from the manufacture or use of weapons.

Why is there bipartisan support for sending many billions of dollars worth of advanced weaponry to Ukraine, thus gradually escalating the war into an extremely dangerous proxy war between Russia and the United States together with its NATO allies? The great danger is that the escalation of the conflict will result in nuclear war. However, politicians from both US political parties are so blinded by nationalism that they believe the risks to be necessary in order to “weaken Russia”, thus asserting American global hegemony.

As if the proxy war with Russia were not enough, the US government, driven by the greed of the military-industrial complex, has begun to threaten a war with China.

To justify obscenely enormous government spending on weapons, the military-industrial complex does not need actual war–only the threat of war. But threats can lead to actual war, even if no one wants it, as one should have learned from the outbreak of World War I.
John Scales Avery

As India assumed G20 Presidency in November 2022, as a representative of the countries of the Global South, it can play a vital role in the face of extreme wealth inequality, increasing ecological devastation, pro-corporate regulatory regimes and criminalisation of dissent.

The G20 was constituted by the finance ministers of the G7 group of countries in 1999 in the wake of the Asian Financial Crisis to unite finance ministers and central bankers from twenty of the world’s largest economies. At a primary level, its mandate was to discuss monetary, fiscal and exchange rate policies, infrastructure investment, financial regulation, financial inclusion, international taxation etc. With time, G20’s appetite to discuss more issues (beyond finance and economic policy) increased with the Sherpa track (such as issues like health, education etc.) and various engagement groups. With the Sherpa track the ensuing presidency keeps forth its priorities, while the engagement groups and the processes associated with them are supposed to be independent of the government. However, several of these engagement groups often turn into a platform for corporations (for example, kicking the can down the road with more loans and debt suspension instead of looking at debt cancellation) and their allied interest groups. Over the years, the year-long presidency becomes a popular networking event for the rich and the powerful under the pretence of saving the world, leaving very little space for groups that are critical of neoliberalism to put forth any alternative paradigms. Over the years, the Sherpa track, Finance track, and the engagement groups have stayed in the realm of being high-end talk-shops with no representation of people’s agenda.

G20 has remained as an exclusive club, a forum to save capitalism at the highest political level through the promotion of neoliberal policies. This provides an important imperative for the progressive civil society groups to raise questions around G20’s accountability and more importantly its legitimacy as a forum of global economic governance.
Endorsed by:
Jawhar Sircar, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan/National
Alliance of People’s Movements
Teesta Setalvad,
Sabrang India & others


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Vol 55, No. 39, Mar 26 - April 1, 2023