Several experts from the Valdai international debate club have evaluated the reasons why the bloc is attractive to more and more countries and the challenges that could arise both internally and externally.
The BRICS group can face challenges linked to the expectations of non-Western countries in the field of reform of the current international order, Timofei Bordachiov, program director of the Valdai international debate club and scientific director of the Center for Integrated Studies, said on Thursday. European and International School of Economics based in Moscow.
“Many countries in the world see in the BRICS the group that could, if not pick up the banner of world governance from the West, at least become its second pillar, fairer and less selfish towards small and medium-sized states,” Bordachiov comments. In this context, the expert maintains that the bloc is a community of revisionists, that is, “powers that did not establish the goal of destroying the world order, but rather sought to guarantee the inclusion of their interests in this order.”
“As contradictions accumulated in the world, even the modest revisionist wishes of the BRICS participants became a factor leading if not to the destruction of the existing international order, then to its own revision. Accordingly, expectations are set towards BRICS countries by major partners and rivals,” he says. He adds that these expectations are formed independently of the countries of the bloc and are determined by the current evolution of the international order.
However, the analyst believes that there are several challenges to the expectations about the role of the BRICS in world governance. First, will the group be able to maintain its internal unity “even when the strongest associations are put to the test”? In this challenge, according to Bordachiov, may lie the difference between the formation of an alternative agenda to the hegemony of the West and the creation of methods to solve the global problems of development and security for the whole world or at least countries of the global majority, which is a more complicated task.
In turn, this task may require the “capacity to offer others new instruments to solve the fundamental problems of development”, which means that “the level of unity of the group on key issues will have to go beyond the political declarations of weight”.
The second challenge for the BRICS is to preserve its revisionist nature towards the international order that “was created given its minimal participation and to some extent at the expense of its interests.” “None of the BRICS countries want the collapse of globalization, institutions and international law. This means that their task is more complicated: to create, within the existing order, rules, norms and methods of cooperation that allow them to preserve their advantages and get rid of its disadvantages. That the revision and not the revolution is the objective of the BRICS countries is the basis of the sustainability of this association and its relations with other countries of the global majority”, points out the expert, adding that maintaining the character bloc revisionist redounds in the interests of the group itself and of the international community. The only alternative may be the division of the BRICS and the continuation of Western hegemony, concludes Bordachiov.
The BRICS as a positive alternative in the context of transformation of the world order
In addition, the ambassador of the special mission of the Russian Foreign Ministry to the BRICS, Pavel Kniazev, asserted this Thursday in a discussion at the Valdai club that the interest of the countries of the global South towards the group continues to grow in light of the crisis of the western model of globalization. The diplomat pointed out that, despite the fact that the BRICS is a fairly young union, it has already developed a multidimensional architecture of interaction, dialogue and cooperation, has created interaction mechanisms in the economic, social and cultural spheres, and shows its willingness to work on the basis of consensus. He added that the abuse of the status of the dollar in international trade led to the trend towards de-dollarization, and in this regard, there is a proposal to create a common BRICS currency.
Meanwhile, Feng Shaolei, a Chinese international relations expert, asserted that despite the worsening economic and political situation in the West and the conflict in Ukraine, the countries of the global South maintain stability and continue to increase their economic potential, as well as they try to act as intermediaries in the crisis. According to Feng, this approach will contribute to the interest of the global South towards the BRICS, which advocates the ideas of inclusion, development and independence against hegemonism.
Likewise, the vice-rector of the Higher School of Economics for International Relations, Viktoria Panova, said that the BRICS is perceived as a positive alternative, which means that the group should maintain both its effectiveness and inclusion. “We do not have the right to refuse the cooperation of all the countries that believed in the BRICS,” she pointed out, pointing to the comprehensive nature of cooperation within the framework of the group.
Nivedita Das Kundu, Senior Research Fellow at York University (Canada), affirmed that the BRICS reconfigures the world order, guaranteeing the transition of leadership from the West to the global South, as well as advocating for the reforms of multilateral institutions such as the UN, the IMF or the World Bank. “One of the strengths of the BRICS is that it helps less favored countries without imposing a political agenda or manipulating local economies,” she said.
For his part, Philani Mthembu, executive director of the Institute for Global Dialogue in South Africa, described the BRICS summit to be held in August and will be the first face-to-face meeting of the bloc’s leaders after the covid-19 pandemic as the most important in several years. Furthermore, he argued that the differences between the BRICS countries only strengthen the group. “Precisely because of these differences we will continue to cooperate, because we live in an increasingly complex world order,” he explained.