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BRICS Hold World’s Least Important Meeting

The”BRICS” are holding their fourth annual summit in India today; don’t expect world-shaping events to come from it. The grouping may have been heralded as an alternative to the Western-dominated international system, but it can‘t even establish coherent policy agenda, much less assume a global leadership role.

It shouldn’t be surprising the BRICS can’t find much to agree on. Its five countries span four continents, and its peoples span diverse languages, cultures, and histories. Brazil, South Africa and India are relatively stable democracies; Russia and China are two of the world’s largest authoritarian regimes. Four of the group’s members are leery of dominance of any new international order by the fifth member (China). In past years, these countries haven’t even been able to unite around picks for symbolic posts like the World Bank and IMF chiefs; it’s hard to imagine them agreeing on anything more significant. They have failed to stake out common positions on Iran and Syria, two of the most important issues of the day, and their plans for a rival to the World Bank have yet to get off the ground due to internal squabbles. In Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut coined a word from groups like this: “granfalloons“—a group that isn’t really a group, because its members have nothing in common.

As the meeting progresses, we’re bound to hear stories about the decline of the West and the rise of the developing world. Take them with a grain of salt.

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  • Gene

    Five stars to our host for getting granfalloons into a blog post.

  • Jim.

    If the US, Russia, and Japan had gotten together in 1870, what would they have had to say to one another? Would they have agreed on anything?

    WRM is confusing BRICs and Blocs. The members of the one don’t need to be the other together to be significant.

    The fact that they are divided, and the fact that Europe is fracturing, is simply a set of lovely openings for savvy diplomats to exploit.

    History has not ended. The Game is more important than ever.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    And the Desperate search for Hegemonic power continues, as America continues to sit in the catbird seat. I’m not sure why a new power block is necessary to counter balance America’s benevolent hegemony which is responsible for the enrichment of all the BRICS. But I do know that such a power block would have to be made up from allies economically integrated. I cannot see the BRICS which are in competition with each other, ever being economically integrated allies.

  • Bob from Ohio

    Why is South Africa there? It is a declining nation. I guess they need an african state.

    India and China are already rivals. So are Russia and China.

    Just an excuse for a nice trip and some photos.

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