10 years ago, the term BRIC was launched – Brazil, Russia, India, China. In 2009, the BRIC countries met for the first time – as part of a regular cooperation – with Russia as host. The second meeting took place in Brazil in 2010, and this year it was China’s turn. South Africa was also invited there. Thus, BRIC has been expanded to BRICS.
- What is meant by BRIC?
- What global changes illustrate the emergence of BRICS?
- What do the West and the BRICS countries have in common?
- Where do they separate layers?
According to wholevehicles, BRICS has a total of close to 3 billion inhabitants and is the core of what is sometimes called the World without the West , which includes a majority of the world’s countries. These countries increase co-operation between themselves and become less dependent on the West.
China is the central country . Trade flows between the BRIC countries illustrate this: China’s trade with the other four is large and rapidly increasing, while the four have far less trade between them. The BRIC countries are located in different continents and naturally have different views on many things, but they are characterized by optimism and increasing self-confidence. States that are strong and on the way to becoming even stronger are acting – often powerfully.
2: What do they collaborate on?
BRICS is the counterpart of the G7 (G8 with Russia). Like the G7, the emphasis is on co-operation in the economic field, but the countries are also seeking common positions on security issues – on issues of food and energy security and on current security policy issues. In 2010, it was Iran : the BRICS is skeptical of the sanctions policy that the UN Security Council has adopted for this country (tougher US and European sanctions will be added). They therefore oppose a new round of sanctions in the Security Council.
This year it was Libya : the BRIC countries (before the BRICS) abstained from voting when the Security Council Resolution 1973 was adopted in March 2011, while South Africa voted in favor. BRIC did not vote because they would not be taken to Gaddafi’s income. However, they called for a peaceful solution to the conflict, citing the initiative of the African Union in particular. In addition to the summits, the BRIC countries hold their own high-level meetings on security issues.
In 2008, the G20 cooperation forum gained great importance during the first truly global financial crisis. The western countries then realized that they had to include leading countries in the east and south – especially the BRIC countries – in the work of overcoming the crisis. G20 cooperation is an important expression of the major shifts in the world economy in the last couple of decades. While the G7 countries’ share of world GDP (gross product, all goods and services) has fallen from almost 70 per cent to almost 50 per cent in less than 20 years, China in particular has increased its share sharply.
3: What values control BRICS?
The rules that govern the BRICS and the World without the West are the provisions of the UN Charter
- state sovereignty- a country’s right to self – determine its own social, economic and political systems
- territorial integrity- a state’s right to inviolable borders and to defend its territory – land and sea area – from being invaded
- non-interference in internal affairs.
In Asia in particular, the states are behaving in line with the wording of the UN Charter – less in India, South Korea and Japan, more in China, Russia and Iran. The emphasis on state sovereignty means that the BRICS countries reject many of the key elements of liberal internationalism, such as global civil societies; development aid conditional on good governance; and international obligations to protect peoples who are abused or neglected by their own governments. A UN decision on the latter – responsibility for protection – was admittedly widely endorsed by the UN in 2005, but in practice the BRIC countries are reluctant to refer to this.
As sovereign states, they manage their own domestic affairs and relate to each other on a market basis – including as trading partners and investors. Collective traditions are stronger and individual rights weaker than in the West. Government control of the economy is a dominant ideology . The BRICS countries want international organizations to facilitate relations between sovereign states, but not to encourage political integration.
State sovereignty and non-interference go hand in hand with nation building and nationalism. China has had only 30 years of continuous nation-building after what they call the “century of shame” (from the opium wars around 1840), the civil war (1920s − 1949) and the turbulent years with the great leap forward (1958−1961) and the Cultural Revolution ( 1966−1976). Now the nationalist currents are strong.
Russia , which has risen after the humiliations of the end of the Cold War, is also in a strong nationalist phase. Brazil , which emerged better from the financial crisis than many others, has become one of the major energy exporters and is growing rapidly both economically and politically. India is more aware of its size and significance than ever before. Nationalism is strong there as well: it was a Hindu nationalist government that tested the Indian nuclear weapons in 1998.
In many other countries in the east and south, the same forces are at work: rapid economic growth and renewed vitality, cultural upswing, greater military self-confidence and growing national pride. In some of them, nationalism is also a protest against Western news angles, historical descriptions and contemporary interpretations.