Joe Biden has often billed himself as a “foreign policy expert” ever since he began running for president, which was back in 1988. Now, as the BRICS bloc of countries expands as a counterweight to the West, Bloomberg’s editorial board suggests that it “marks a failure of US leadership.” They write:
At their recent summit, governments of the five BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — invited six more to join their group. Adding Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates won’t mark the end of their effort to enlarge the pact, they say. It’s only the first stage of a wider expansion intended to give developing nations more say in global governance.
The new group won’t find aligning members’ interests and policies any easier than the old one did. Most likely, the enlargement will make effective coordination even harder. In that sense, the announcement is less momentous than its authors would like to believe. Yet this is hardly a nonevent. It could weaken existing channels of cooperation at a time when collective action on global threats has never been more urgent. The growing appetite for an alternative to the prevailing international order is important in itself — and marks a failure of US leadership.
China is the main architect and long-time advocate of the expansion, seeing it as a way to exercise its own economic and geopolitical leadership. Russia, eager to find new economic partners and defray the costs of its war on Ukraine, was also enthusiastic. Although the other BRICS initially had doubts, not wanting to see the group align more firmly against the US and its Group of Seven partners, they agreed to the enlargement regardless. Despite their differences, the BRICS-11 evidently agree that current global rules and institutions don’t adequately serve their interests.
The scope for the group to do better is limited at best. In 2016, members established a joint liquidity facility, allowing them to lend to each other in emergencies, offering an alternative to the International Monetary Fund. They set up the New Development Bank modeled on the World Bank, and China funded infrastructure programs as part of its “Belt and Road” initiative. They’ve hoped to develop new trading arrangements outside the ambit of the World Trade Organization. They’ve even talked about creating a new currency that might somehow shield them from the dominance of the US dollar.
Action Line: Bloomberg’s editors don’t think the BRICS nations will accomplish very much, and they may be correct. But when the leaders of India and Brazil, two countries whose relations with the U.S. bloomed under Donald Trump, are now eagerly expanding their counterweight to America, it shines a light on Biden’s poor leadership. Click here to subscribe to Your Survival Guy’s free monthly Survive & Thrive letter, and become a Survivor.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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