Jan 13Liked by Michael Brenes

Speaking of the G-20, I noted among the few near term deliverables at the Africa summit was Bidren's undertaking to advocate for African Union membership.

Sub-saharan Africa has run hot and cold over time re how "real" they view the AU. We seem to be on an upswing in initiatives to operationalize some of the AU's potential, especially re trade. And like it or not, the greater institutionalization of the military dimension of collective security has made the AU a regular interlocuteur. So from the African view, there's likely to be more enthusiasm for a role for the AU in the G-20 today than would have been the case in some other eras.

I find the proposal may have merit beyond the purely symbolic. Giving the AU a seat at the table would create a forum to deal with collective issues that are beyond the scope of bilateral relations. Widely shared issues, like debt restructuring and regional climate change, would also benefit from more focused collective attention than can be achieved in the fragmented structure of multilateral lending operations.

As a more general response to your post, the Global South is far from monolithic and isn't interested in a replay of the Non-Aligned Movement. Looking for governance opportunities that reflect the dynamics of different regions, as varied as the AU or ASEAN or APEC, may be a constructive way to avoid Cold War-style bloc formation.

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You leave out the power of the war merchants. They control congress and public policy, and are ever more in the process of arming many other countries. I agree with much of what you write, but as long as we remain a capitalistic country, an empire run by multinational corporation, much of what you suggest won’t happen even when we do it for “ national interest.” Corporations saturating global markets are not nationalists but global capitalists.

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