Edward Hopper Excursion into Philosophy 1959
It was Jim O’Neill, Goldman’s chief economist at the time, who coined the term BRICS in 2001 for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Little did he know. He was talking about emerging economies. 13 years later, they no longer are. They are good for about 40% of the world population, and some 25% of global GDP. The world has not stood still since 2009, and it’s moving faster now.
Ironically, the BRICS countries never looked to be as prominent economically as they are today, they were happy to build up one step at a time. But then NATO decided to move east at a pace that Russia found intolerable, and now the BRICS have taken on a whole new meaning. 25% of global GDP may not seem that much, but the 5 countries hold a much bigger share of -essential- global resources and/or raw materials than that, and China moreover delivers an outsize part of finished products.
And we now know that they won’t be BRICS for much longer. Many countries choose to be affiliated, in one form or another, with the BRICS rather than the “west”. They see that Russia is winning in Ukraine, and they see the damage the sanctions do. It’s just practical considerations. Saudi Arabia and Argentina are interested in joining BRICS. So are Uruguay, Iran, Egypt, Thailand, and a number of post-Soviet States. They see where the real economic power resides.
It’s amusing to see that for this week’s G7 in Germany, the host country has “invited the leaders of India, Indonesia, Senegal, Argentina and South Africa to the summit..” They will not join the G7 instead of the BRICS. Why would they? The world is moving away from unipolar US/NATO power. And as Russia and China have repeatedly said, this move is irreversible. It’s all because of what happens in Ukraine. The west is losing militarily AND economically. Look at where the ruble is. We were “promised” it would dissolve, but it did the opposite.
For the first time we came across white people who treated us as equal beings.
Russia is our friend. Our friend’s enemy is our enemy. pic.twitter.com/QKomRsk880
— The Sirius Report (@thesiriusreport) June 25, 2022
The US became the no. 1 world power because it had the oil. Now, it has some left, but it has to use energy-intensive processes to produce it. Russia does not. Nor does Saudi Arabia, which therefore has no reason to stick to the petro-dollar system. They’re better off with the BRICS, which moreover plan to introduce a resource-based basket of currencies, which could benefit the Saudis greatly. The world is being rearranged rapidly, a process mightily accelerated by Russia’s special operation in Ukraine.
And NATO can’t even keep up militarily. From Scott Ritter today: “Ukraine is requesting 1,000 artillery pieces and 300 multiple-launch rocket systems, more than the entire active-duty inventory of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps combined. Ukraine is also requesting 500 main battle tanks — more than the combined inventories of Germany and the United Kingdom“. Another headline: “Czech Republic Has Exhausted Its Arms Reserves Supporting Ukraine, PM Reveals”.
Perhaps even more telling is that last week, Ukraine’s President Zelensky addressed the African Union in a virtual session, and only 4 out of 54 invited African Heads of State attended (plus some lower ranked folks). They don’t care about what they see as a European conflict, they don’t believe it’s all Putin’s fault (because: sanctions!), and they won’t commit to a potentially losing side. They have bigger fish to fry at home. Look for many to become a BRICS member.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called Africa “a hostage” of Russia’s war during an address to the African Union (AU) on Monday. Russia’s invasion, and its blockade of Ukraine’s grain exports, have sparked grain and fertiliser shortages and put millions of people at risk of hunger. The chair of the AU commission said there was an “urgent need for dialogue” to restore global stability. Western countries have urged Russia to release Ukraine’s vast grain stores.
The blockade has sent food prices soaring. “Africa is actually a hostage… of those who unleashed war against our state”, Mr Zelensky said in his speech. He said his government was engaged in “complex negotiations” to unblock grain reserves trapped in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. “This war may seem very distant to you and your countries,” he told the AU. “But the food prices that are catastrophically rising have already brought [the war] to the homes of millions of African families.”
I think it’s priceless that the BRICS countries took O’Neill’s term and ran with it. In 2016 the BBC said: “Brics ‘grew more than I thought’, says Jim O’Neill”. And so last week we had the 14th BRICS Summit. They are now -arguably- more powerful than the G7, they indeed ‘grew more than I thought’. Unlike in our present -post-WWII- economic system, there is not ONE leader, it’s multipolar. The best of everyone, for everyone. That sounds very idealistic, obviously, and at some point China may try to control it all, like the US does today, but right now that is not the case.
The West’s selfish attempts to blame the entire world for its own mistakes have led to the global economic crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted on Thursday, appearing via video link at the 14th BRICS Summit. “Only on the basis of honest and mutually beneficial cooperation is it possible to find a way out of this crisis situation that has gripped the global economy due to the thoughtless and selfish actions of certain states,” Putin explained.
The Russian leader stressed that today, as never before, the leadership of the BRICS countries is needed in order to develop a unifying policy for the shaping of a truly multipolar system of intergovernmental relations, and that it ought to be based on the universally recognized norms of international law and the key principles of the UN Charter. According to Putin, the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have a truly enormous political, economic, scientific, technological and human potential.
Their influence on the global arena is increasing with every year, he pointed out. “Russia is ready to continue developing close multifaceted interaction with all the [BRICS] partners and contribute to the enhancement of its role in international affairs,” Putin promised.
As I wrote earlier: “The west is not the future. That time is behind us. And many countries recognize this.”
China hosted the first day of the fourteenth annual BRICS Summit—a series of meetings involving the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—on Wednesday, amid a series of major shifts in the global world order and rising geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe and East Asia. Chinese president Xi Jinping opened the summit on Wednesday, emphasizing the five nations’ “shared desire to meet challenges together through cooperation,” according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency. The Chinese leader also urged the countries in attendance to “embrace solidarity and coordination and jointly maintain world peace and stability.”
The BRICS group comprises the five largest developing economies; together, its members constitute forty percent of the world’s population and one-fourth of global gross domestic product. The group includes the two most populous nations in the world, China and India, as well as Russia, the largest in terms of land. Chinese state media has praised the role of the five-nation grouping, claiming that ties between the BRICS countries had increased “multilateral cooperation with non-Western styles, forms, and principles [of government”—marking a positive contrast to the actions of the United States, which it accused of “pulling its Western allies to ‘rebel’ against globalization.”
Despite considerable internal differences within the bloc, including a decades-old rivalry between China and India, all of the BRICS countries have resisted full political alignment with the West. Of the five BRICS nations, only one, Brazil, voted in the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Russia for invading Ukraine in February; Russia voted against the measure, while the other three countries abstained. Even Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro refused to personally condemn Putin, whom the West has widely framed as the driving force behind the Russian invasion. In his remarks on Wednesday, Xi appeared to criticize the United States and NATO, describing the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “wake-up call for all in the world.”
From Bradley Blankenship, American journalist, columnist and political commentator, published at RT.
The 14th BRICS Summit in Beijing is just wrapping up amid a turbulent international geopolitical landscape, which highlights the importance of the organization in general. Given the combined challenges of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, global conflict, a looming economic crash and climate change – the current international system is failing and a new, multi-polar alternative must take its place. It’s worth noting the context of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) format. Started in 2009 amid a financial crisis, the main goal of that year’s first BRICS (or BRIC as it was then) summit in Yekaterinburg was to improve the global economic situation and reform financial institutions.
Although these countries are not joined by any particular ideology, each saw the need to democratize the global economic system that had been crashed pretty much single-handedly by the United States in an extraordinarily irresponsible – even illegal by US law, in some instances – manner. The head of China’s Central Bank bluntly called for abandoning the dollar as the global reserve currency in 2009 because of a lack of faith in US monetary leadership. That was 13 years ago, yet the necessity of a new reserve currency could not be more relevant these days. In fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on June 22 just ahead of the latest BRICS summit that the group was indeed developing its own reserve currency based on a basket of their currencies. With this, Putin said the group is hoping to develop alternatives to the existing international payment scheme.
While this could be seen as provocative in the West, it is actually for the betterment of mankind and is not aimed strictly at one country or one coalition of countries. To note, India pushed back against any “anti-US” rhetoric in the group’s joint statement, being a country that is considered part of the Global South, e.g., a developing country, and also has strong relations with the West. Yet, at the same time, it’s clear that all BRICS states, including India, would benefit from a democratized global economic and financial system. That is why New Delhi has not joined Western-led sanctions against Russia over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, because doing so does not serve India’s economic interests – and it would also establish a bad precedent where countries could essentially be excluded from the international community over political disagreements.
Indeed, BRICS and its members have gone a long way to pursue zero-strings-attached development cooperation. China alone had already replaced the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank as the world’s largest net creditor at the beginning of the last decade, expanding investments in tangible assets across the Global South (and beyond) through the Belt and Road Initiative. But in a direct challenge to these two previously mentioned US-led institutions, which have morphed into weapons of economic coercion, BRICS established the New Development Bank in 2014.
[..] At a minimum, BRICS has a serious role in balancing out the malignant influence of the US, NATO and the prevailing Western-led world system. Finance and economics are no small part of this, and BRICS’ drive to establish alternatives to the dollar-based Bretton Woods system, providing credit to the Global South without political conditions and establishing a new reserve currency, is an extraordinary push toward a multi-polar future.
The question is of course how the reigning order will react to losing its power. Will they drop nukes? If they do, it would every likely be suicidal. But some people are very particular about control, and about losing it. Thing is, it’s already lost, they just don’t realize it yet.
While you were watching the abortion debate, and Zelensky’s heroics, the entire world order has changed. How about that?
We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.
Support the Automatic Earth in virustime with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon.