Can BRICS Reshape the Global Order?

The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) alliance is reshaping the world order by shifting power from the “Global North” to the “Global South”. Originally coined by Jim O’Neill in 2001 as BRIC, the acronym was expanded in 2010 to include South Africa, becoming BRICS. This group of nations represents almost half of the world’s population and boasts a combined GDP contribution of 31.5%, surpassing that of the G7 (30.7%). After the expansion new composition of BRICS will control 80% of world oil production. With the addition of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran to the BRICS the Union will be able to control the lion’s share of the world’s oil production.

Their diversity is what makes BRICS the magic bone that unites them. Each member nation brings to the forum a distinct mix of economic and political environments, which has produced a vibrant tapestry of interests and viewpoints. Brazil, for instance, exports a lot of agricultural products, whereas Russia exports a lot of energy. While China is a global economic superpower and a leader in manufacturing, India is an emerging economic power with a sizable and expanding middle class. An important participant in the mining sector is South Africa. The expansion of BRICS, during the 15th summit, included six major countries from different continent who have more impact in global emerging world. 

Now people talking about sustainability of BRICS and will it last long? Another question is “can BRICS reshape world’s political and economic architecture?”. 

BRICS is “in the process of being constructed, but they have a long way to go,” according to Tom Lodge, professor of peace and conflict studies at the University of Limerick. The BRICS countries still have a long way to go before they can effectively challenge Western dominance of international organizations like the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. 

Firstly BRICS has to demonstrate that it can stimulate trade between members, second; that trading can be effected without the use (directly or indirectly) of US dollars. If these two premises are fulfilled, that it is certainly possible. For start, it is clear that member’s political systems are not an issue at all, and this is, perhaps, the best omen. 

In areas like international negotiations, peacekeeping, and conflict resolution initiatives, the BRICS nations are progressively making their political presence felt on the world scene. It is crucial to realize that the BRICS nations want to have more presence and influence in international issues rather than to displace the West. A more equal and inclusive global economic and political system is supported by the BRICS alliance. The BRICS countries are actively participating in international politics, seeking to increase their stature and influence. These countries have the potential to stimulate global economic development and innovation, especially through investment in education and cutting-edge technologies. Establishing a unified and constructive global governance system, as well as potential trade using a single currency, could further expand their global reach and strengthen their position as a major actor in global governance.

To reshape world order or to replace world system BRICS needs to bring some very unique and influencing ideas and policies. But it seems that these will take long time. BRICS may face many challenges, though it is expanding. 

As Russia and China have been hit with sanctions by the West, the question of “de-dollarisation” has become even more important. People in both countries are worried about how US and Western economic policies could hurt their economies and national security. But South Africa, India, and Brazil also have better relationships with the West and see less reliance on the US dollar as a good thing for their economies and trade. De-dollarisation isn’t about getting rid of the US dollar from the top of the list of reserve currencies, but about creating a separate system for transactions between member states that doesn’t need the dollar, SWIFT, or the services of Western banks. Of course, the BRICS already make up 30% of global GDP and 16% of global trade, so a successful effort to de-dollarise could have a big impact. But will it work?

The details of the plan are too sketchy to draw definitive conclusions. The record of de-dollarisation among the BRICS is mixed. Both China and Russia have reduced their reliance on the dollar for global trade. The New Development Bank, created by the BRICS largely to facilitate de-dollarisation through state lending, relies heavily on the dollar and now struggles to raise that currency because it has Russia as a member. Not all of them want to be forced to comply with Western sanctions, but many of them also have powerful relationships with Western nations that they would not want to damage. For example, India and China, which are strategic partners, disagree on many issues. India has largely aligned itself with the interests of the West in its confrontation with China. The access to Western economic assistance and access to Western technology has significantly increased, and the West-India relationship is entering a new phase. This has considerable economic advantages for India, which makes Prime Minister Modi highly sensitive to the perception of India as a “counterweight” to the G-7. 

These divisions have taken a toll on other big global balancing organizations like the OIC, G77, and the NAM. Washington won’t like the rise of other countries like Argentina, Saudi, and Nigeria, which all have their own unique foreign policy needs. But a quickly expanding BRICS won’t necessarily make it stronger, it could just make it more divided and make it harder for it to come to an agreement on anything important.

If BRICS does not work, something else will be invented because this is a GLOBAL IRREVERSIBLE TREND, a BRICK or a BRICKLESS world is solidly evolving towards MULTIPOLARITY. To balance the global power it will happen for sure. Now we’re viewing BRICS as the balancing factor. If it fails then another one will emerge for sure.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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