With BRICS five founding members and several important countries currently applying for membership, the group is growing in number, capacity and influence. But what is the BRICS all about?
Since the beginning of time, the world has evolved into groups of nations with similar interests and political ideologies. Countries are developing and forming alliances based on trade, security and defense. During the Cold War, two worlds existed: East and West; today, it's the influential world of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), EU (European Union), AU (African Union) and the BRICS, etc.
BRICS is an acronym where each letter represents one of the five original members: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. BRICS, founded in 2001, promotes its security interests, quality of life, economic growth and development. Some of the benefits the group enjoys include the information-sharing platform and the offering forum focusing on issues of mutual interests like the economy, national security and public health.
BRICS represents 41 percent of the global population, 24 percent of the global GDP and 16 percent of the world trade. In 2022, China's 18 trillion-dollar GDP more than doubled that of the remaining four members, compared with India ($3.2 trillion), Russia ($1.8 trillion), Brazil ($1.6 trillion) and South Africa ($400 billion). In contrast, the United States had a 2022 GDP of 25.46 trillion dollars, slightly more than all the BRICS countries combined GDP.
BRICS has its disadvantages. They criticized the group for its lack of understanding of policy and political actions, which were the reason for the delay in setting up a BRICS Bank.
Also, the dominance of the Chinese economy and its role in trade relations make the BRICS much more a China-with-partners group than a union of equal members. The group faces a diversity of cultures and a lack of mutual economic interests and understandings about priorities that become necessary for the productive sharing of experiences. Despite all these setbacks, the group is expanding.
Sergey Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister, stated that Algeria, Argentina and Iran had all applied; Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Afghanistan, along with Indonesia, are expected to make a formal application to join at the upcoming G20 meeting.
Some BRICS countries have become adversarial to the United States, mainly Russia, China and Iran. Lately, Saudi Arabia has become politically disgruntled with the United States. Needless to speculate where the Saudis will stand once they become a BRICS member.
In this case, will the group become powerful enough to threaten the U.S. global domination? In turn, will the Saudi Kingdom turn its back on the United States? And will it undo former U.S. Pres. Richard Nixon's 1973 Petrodollar agreement?
BRICS is a political and an economic/business alliance. With all those countries about to join in, will the group grow big enough to become a military alliance similar to NATO? Will it also become an economic power base like the European Union? BRICS can achieve what it sets out to do if it acts as a driving force in the global economy and in reducing tensions between East and West. Time will tell.
Source: World Economic Forum Articles.