BRICS – a protest or an alternative?
The time has come for the rest of the world to tell the US and its allies that enough is enough. In some odd way the BRICS summit (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) has done just that. The alliance threatens to derail the way the world operated post the collapse of the Soviet Union. A Uni-polar world was never one that was welcomed by the rest of the world. It was thrust on the world. The alternatives were just not emerging. In that sense, BRICS is a breath of fresh air and a sort of candle light in the darkness that says: “We differ”.
BRICS may, however, just be the product of a negative energy. Anti-imperialism is not good enough as a cause to unite. The BRICS nations do not have too much to write home about when it comes to creating new paradigms of development in their own countries. Each is ruled by elite who operate on ‘exclusivist’ economic practices. The label ‘emerging economy’ by itself is an empty idea when one considers that their emergence has created humongous wealth for small numbers and left behind colossal numbers of people in abject poverty.
The problem is that simply because there are no alternatives, the rich and the middle class get carried away by a sense of victory over the so-called imperialist overlooking the fact that groupings like BRICS are imperialist in their own ideological foundations. They merely feign being the contesters of the imperialist. Each of these countries has their own designs of dominance in their own regions and, moreover, is not the designated spokespersons of their regional formations. There is a sense in which they are united by self interest – a place in the UN Security Council and other ‘high’ tables.
And yet… there seems to be a flip side. In their declaration in Delhi the BRICS leaders seemed to be saying we are fed up of being the second wrung. We are big not only because we have huge populations and vast geographical areas, but also because we have the human and natural resources to be measured as big fish. They are now standing up and demanded they be counted. They are the new pretenders for the ‘rallying space’ that will contest western supremist pretensions.
Take, for example, their bravado: “The situation concerning Iran cannot be allowed to escalate into conflict, the disastrous consequences of which will be in no one’s interest.” Now one must ask: Is this concern a form of self protection or real intent to provide the balance of power in an offensively asymmetric world?
In the final analysis, we do not need more economic and political ‘blocs’. Imperialism in any form must die and the day that the Uni-polar world comes to an end will be a victory for the world’s common folk. It is time when the US and the EU-Japan and other rich and powerful nations even within the EU cease to exercise brute power and pursue selfish agendas. The BRICS group of nations will, at the end of the day, have to admit that even within their own nations lie skeletons in cupboards that make their calls for fairness and justice hollow. In the ideal world, things must function in a way by which there exists a culture of a community of nations based on a sense of inter-dependence, cohesion, and solidarity.
BRICS has stated its intentions in well couched words. They claim they will “remain engaged with the world community as we address these challenges to global well-being and stability in a responsible and constructive manner….We envision a future marked by global peace, economic and social progress and enlightened scientific temper. We stand ready to work with others, developed and developing countries together, on the basis of universally recognized norms of international law and multilateral decision making, to deal with the challenges and the opportunities before the world today.”
Did BRICS initiate its parallel to the World Bank simply because they were snubbed by Obama on their claim for one of their people to head the World Bank? Or, is there something genuine to it? Perhaps, we must abandon wholly cynical thoughts and abandon the temptation to indulge in pessimism. May be we should give BRICS a chance!
What can we offer though at the level of people who care? A BRICS accompanied and audited by a ‘Peoples BRICS’ may just be the new mantra the world needed. ‘We the People’ of BRICS in solidarity with others could offer to work to create freedom, justice, human rights, and development for all.
The coming days and years will put BRICS to the test. If the stated intentions and continuing actions match, then the big powers of yesteryears are in for a stiff contest- especially if BRICS is backed up by peoples’ power. BRICS represent 43% of the world’s population. If, as is claimed, BRICS will advance “peace, security and development in a multi-polar, inter-dependent and increasingly complex, globalizing world” and these fine words transcend mere rhetoric, may be there is hope.
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