Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Rules-Based Order’

St. Petersburg Sets the Stage for the War of Economic Corridors

Posted by M. C. on June 22, 2022

In St. Petersburg, the world’s new powers gather to upend the US-concocted “rules-based order” and reconnect the globe their way

By Pepe Escobar

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum  has been configured for years now as absolutely essential to understand the evolving dynamics and the trials and tribulations of Eurasia integration.

St. Petersburg in 2022 is even more crucial as it directly connects to three simultaneous developments I had previously outlined, in no particular order:

First, the coming of the “new G8” – four BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China), plus Iran, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico, whose GDP per purchasing parity power (PPP) already dwarfs the old, western-dominated G8.

Second, the Chinese “Three Rings” strategy of developing geoeconomic relations with its neighbors and partners.

Third, the development of BRICS+, or extended BRICS, including some members of the “new G8,” to be discussed at the upcoming summit in China.

There was hardly any doubt President Putin would be the star of St. Petersburg 2022, delivering a sharp, detailed speech to the plenary session.

Among the highlights, Putin smashed the illusions of the so-called ‘golden billion’ who live in the industrialized west (only 12 percent of the global population) and the “irresponsible macroeconomic policies of the G7 countries.”

The Russian president noted how “EU losses due to sanctions against Russia” could exceed $400 billion per year, and that Europe’s high energy prices – something that actually started “in the third quarter of last year” – are due to “blindly believing in renewable sources.”

He also duly dismissed the west’s ‘Putin price hike’ propaganda, saying the food and energy crisis is linked to misguided western economic policies, i.e., “Russian grain and fertilizers are being sanctioned” to the detriment of the west.

In a nutshell: the west misjudged Russia’s sovereignty when sanctioning it, and now is paying a very heavy price.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing the forum by video, sent a message to the whole Global South. He evoked “true multilateralism,” insisting that emerging markets must have “a say in global economic management,” and called for “improved North-South and South-South dialogue.”

It was up to Kazakh President Tokayev, the ruler of a deeply strategic partner of both Russia and China, to deliver the punch line in person: Eurasia integration should progress hand in hand with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Here it is, full circle.

Building a long-term strategy “in weeks”

St. Petersburg offered several engrossing discussions on key themes and sub-themes of Eurasia integration, such as business within the scope of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO); aspects of the Russia-China strategic partnership; what’s ahead for the BRICS; and prospects for the Russian financial sector.

See the rest here

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Biden’s Rules-Based Order

Posted by M. C. on March 28, 2022

By Stephen Cox

On March 26, in a speech in Poland, President Biden attempted to be inspiring, and as usual when he does that, he emitted string after string of platitudes.  It was the kind of thing that political speechwriters create in their sleep.  But Americans should be careful not to nod off.  Clichés can be very dangerous, just because they are clichés—the stuff that everyone is supposed to know and believe.

I invite your attention to the passage of Biden’s speech in which he tried to say how a free society differs from an unfree one.  He claimed that at some time in the mythic past

we emerged anew in the great battle for freedom. A battle between democracy and autocracy. Between liberty and repression. Between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force. In this battle, we need to be clear-eyed. This battle will not be won in days or months either. We need to steel ourselves of [sic] a long fight ahead.

And so on.  But notice how the synonyms line up.  The synonyms for lack of freedom are autocracy, repression, and “brute force”; the synonyms for freedom are democracy, liberty, and “a rules-based order.”

Now, hold on.  In our world, the most brutally forceful regimes happen to be rules-based orders, regimes that are filled with rules.  Chock-full of rules.  And freedom and liberty are so far from being synonymous with “rules” that their very definition is, well, the absence of restraints, commands, and rules.  Freedom is the ability to do what you want, not the obligation to follow somebody’s rule.

The signers of the Declaration of Independence had no idea that rules were the foundation of the “new order of the ages” they were creating. Their idea was a rights-based society.  The document says that clearly.  It says that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and that “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.”  So rights come first, last, and all the time.  Rules and governments, if you insist on having them, are justified only in support of rights.

With this in mind, we can see that almost all of the real order that exists in the world—the order we see in families, businesses, churches, and social organizations of every kind—results from free people working together with respect for one another’s rights.  This is the spontaneous order of which great economists have written.  And we can see that almost all of the inconvenience, poverty, distress, and terror in the world are created by people who have a libido for imposing rules. Hitler and Stalin were deeply attached to rules and rules-based order.  And so are the bureaucratic tyrants who have destroyed so much of the world during the past two years of the New Order of Covid.

If there were anything that could make Biden’s idea about freedom and rules look even worse, it would be the reflection that his speech, like his presidency, was the product of vague amorphous movements among vague amorphous organs of the governing class.  The speech says what the members of the governing class believe, what they believe so deeply and automatically that to them his daringly false statements about the relation of liberty to order are just random clichés, mere throw-away lines.  Yet these are the clichés by which the rest of us are supposed to order our lives.

Stephen Cox is Distinguished Professor of Literature, Emeritus, at the University of California, San Diego.  He is the author of many books and is the editor of Liberty magazine, available at

Stephen Cox is Distinguished Professor of Literature, Emeritus, at the University of California, San Diego.  He is the author of many books and is the editor of Liberty magazine, available at

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