BRICS Summit with no surprisesVasyl Filipchuk
The BRICS summit will hardly bring any decisions that will significantly affect Ukraine in the near future. This week, the foreign media suggested that, by hosting this summit, Russia seeks to ease the Western sanctions. This is impossible, as the BRICS is not comprised of any of the "Western" states (the EU, or the G7 states).
The BRICS brings together countries commonly identified as "emerging economies" - Russia, Brazil, India, and China. Of course, there is a question of how these economies have been emerging… Russia has not shown any impressive results, remaining a widely resource-dependent economy. China’s growth has somewhat slowed down, but the obsolete political system may at some point completely undermine its powerful enough economy. This week’s collapse of Chinese stock markets rang some bells and is indicative that not all is going well in the Celestial Empire. The situation in Brazil, India, and South Africa regarding a wide range of issues, from poverty to infrastructure problems, is far from rosy. Therefore, the modern western economies, with their effective government mechanisms are out of reach for the BRICS.
None of the BRICS member states spoke up against Russian aggression and none of these countries can influence the decision makers in the United States and in the European Union. Any action within the BRICS framework, even if agreed upon, endorsed and implemented, could only be of an indirect influence.
However, it is unlikely that the BRICS leaders will “stick up” for Russia. Most likely, Russia is now trying to show global community that it does not walk alone, but on the other hand, India and China are showing the West that they are independent.
But none of these countries would favor any confrontation with the United States or other Western countries, as the volume of trade and political ties with the West is so massive that even the relations with Russia cannot compensate for it. So, there is no need to panic that Russia is about to win over the BRICS member states’ strong support.
Experts believe that even the signing of an agreement on July 07 on mutual support between the BRICS central banks can in no case be compared to the IMF. The difference between the GDP volume of Brasil, India and China is getting closer to that of the US, the EU, and the G7, but it still has a long way to rise. Therefore, any structure created by the BRICS cannot even be considered a real competitor of the IMF or other global institutions. At least, in the next three to five years.
Possibly, the most radical step by BRICS would be creating a new concept of global currency. It has long been discussed that the US has been abusing its authority as the owner of global currency, printing more dollars to resolve internal problems and using its status to resolve external arguments. This may be an incentive for the BRICS member states to develop the concept of creating a new parallel currency. But it's not a matter of days, or even years. This might take decades. Meanwhile, we should not expect any major unpleasant surprises from the BRICS.
Vasyl Filipchuk is a Ukrainian diplomat, head of the International Centre for Policy Studies (ICPC).