Monday, September 26

The BRICS break the isolation of the West from Putin

  • Xi Jinping, Chinese president and host of the virtual summit, abounded in his sympathy with Russia against US expansionism

The agenda for the annual meeting of the BRICS considers the challenges it poses for emerging economies the delicate global context of wars, pandemics and galloping inflation, but it is unlikely that more than bombastic and vacuous statements will come out of it. More interest arouses the photo of Vladimir Putin sharing the screen with his colleagues from Brazil, India, China and South Africa to deny his status as a pariah.

None of these countries has supported the economic sanctions against Russia and only one signed the UN declaration condemning the invasion of Ukraine. It was Brazil and it quickly clarified that its position in the conflict was one of scrupulous neutrality. It will not be difficult for Putin to prove to his internal audience the distance between that isolation that the West repeats, with barely 17% of the world’s population, globally. Already in the video sent on the eve he advanced that the summit It will accelerate the renewal of your client portfolio. The traditional trade with Europe, he said, will be directed from the “most reliable international partners” of the BRICS. It is not a negligible market: it brings together 40% of the population and 25% of global GDP.

chinese leadership

The summit will also serve as a way for China to show its global leadership in the week leading up to the G-7 and NATO meetings. In both, Beijing takes hostile speeches for granted. Xi Jinping, Chinese president and host of the virtual summit, elaborated on his sympathy with Russia against US expansionism. “The Ukraine crisis is another warning to the world. He reminds us that blind faith in the so-called position of strength and attempts to expand military alliances and pursue one’s own security at the expense of others only provoke conflicts”. He already integrates the casuistry that acid criticism of the bloc policy and US military harassment will seal any Xi-Putin meeting but India, the epitome of diplomatic pragmatism, is unlikely to allow it this time.

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India participates in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a military organization sponsored by Beijing, and in the QUAD, a supranational security group under the orbit of Washington and that China describes as Asian NATO. The largest collaboration of startups within the BRICS that its prime minister requested the day before, NarendraModi, he already anticipated his lack of enthusiasm for staining himself in other people’s scrubs. His South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, alluded to poverty and lack of access to vaccines, while the Brazilian, Jair Bolsonaro, emphasized economic integration.

The dissonance of the previous speeches set the problem of the group. It was born in 2009 out of an understandable lament: emerging economies were underrepresented in the global financial architecture built by the West after World War II. They sought a new order that was more understanding of the developing world and, judging by those expectations, the failure is obvious. It influences the tenacity of Washington and Brussels to cling to their privileges and the lack of harmony of its members, with different political systems, opposing geostrategic claims and historical quarrels. India and China, the world’s biggest demographic powers, have been unable to resolve their old border disputes for decades. Their latent distrust hampers the progress of a healthy alternative to the current order of rich and selfish nations. China intends to expand the number of BRICS countries to give it more weight, but India is opposed for fear that the new members will be closer to Beijing.

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