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.
BRICS Hold World’s Least Important Meeting
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