Since June 16, 2009, when the first BRIC summit was held in Yekaterinburg — the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China (South Africa joined in 2011 and BRIC became BRICS) — almost all serious and non-serious Western analysts and experts have been predicting a slow death for the bloc. The collective West pinned special hopes on the imprisoned Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, without whom BRICS is not BRICS.
But the bloc survived. Lula became president of Brazil again, and BRICS held its 15th summit on August 22, 2023 in Johannesburg, a major South African city, which brought together, in addition to the «five» founders, 55 representatives of the highest authorities of African countries, more than 20 heads of state and government of other continents, as well as high-ranking officials of international organizations, including the UN, and the most influential geopoliticians of the world.
I won’t speak for the entire planet, but let’s consider the interests in BRICS of the «American cesspit,» which the U.S. has historically considered Latin America and the Caribbean.
Lula, who has said it is «very important for Argentina to be in BRICS» and criticized the IMF’s predatory loans as «strangling» his neighbor, has once again become enemy №1 of the collective West, pressing for Buenos Aires’ admission to the new bloc.
The European Union immediately, not without U.S. pressure, demanded that Argentina not join the bloc during the conflict in Ukraine, Bloomberg quoted an unnamed NATO official as saying.
However, Argentina, along with Egypt, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Egypt, has joined the most obvious process of transforming the structures of the outdated unipolar world and establishing a new multipolar system. At the same time, Buenos Aires is neither under sanctions nor facing international isolation.
«A new phase is opening for Argentina, we will be the protagonists of a common destiny in a bloc that represents more than 40 percent of the world’s population, and at the same time we continue to strengthen our fruitful, autonomous and diverse relations with other countries of the world,» Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said in his address to the nation, which he defined as «the foundation of our foreign policy.» The Argentine president said in his address that joining BRICS represents an economic opportunity for the country to «emerge from one of the worst financial crises in decades, with annual inflation exceeding 100 percent.»
The move has potentially significant geopolitical implications for South America. Argentina, the continent’s third-largest economy, joined Brazil in the final months of the current president’s administration.
«Argentina must not miss any case of integration that would contribute to its growth,» Argentine newspaper Pagina 12 quoted the outgoing president as saying.
But the «extreme right-wing» Javier Milei and the center-right Patricia Bullrich, who topped the list in the recent national primaries, have expressed, to put it mildly, skepticism about Argentina joining BRICS. Although both contenders for the future head of state could realistically «take» the country out of BRICS if they win, Argentina’s business elite, eager to maintain friendly ties with Beijing and, to a lesser extent, Russia, will likely pressure them to avoid confronting the Chinese government at a time of extreme vulnerability in Argentina’s geopolitical present and future.
And this is at a time when the United States together with the European Union are really competing in Latin America with China, and in this confrontation, the LAC seems to be tilting in favor of the BRICS. The current bodies of world economic distribution, in particular the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO, are far from a fair settlement of the processes of economic and international financial equilibrium.
In contrast, the G5 promotes the concept of sustainable development, adopted in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro by the UN International Conference on Environment and Development. It implies the formation of fundamentally new models of production and consumption, redistribution of wealth, realization of models of development of economic and social relations predetermined by special values of orientation and long-term goals.
The BRICS gravitational force is expanding, and already more than 20 states of the so-called Third World have submitted official applications to join BRICS. Among them in Latin America are Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua. Other countries, such as Uruguay, are still taking a closer look and prefer financial relations with the BRICS New Development Bank, which, incidentally, is headed by former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
The strategic priorities and prospects of the BRICS formation point to a geocivilizational alliance of a new type, believes Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. This is not so much a trade or financial alliance, but an alliance based on the principle of partnership of civilizations. According to the Venezuelan president, joining BRICS could restore Venezuela’s legitimacy in the diplomatic arena after decades of isolation and neglect by a number of countries in the region.
«There is a vacuum of regionalism, but this does not mean that we are a region that is insufficiently attentive or little concerned about international affairs, nor that we are not looking for a path in international reality that will help us improve our few realities, — Maduro emphasized. — BRICS plays a fundamental role in the geopolitical dynamics that builds trust among the peoples and governments of Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.»
On July 12 this year, Bolivian President Luis Arce sent a letter to BRICS leaders expressing his country’s readiness to become part of the bloc. «Bolivia is in the process of industrialization, which means that we will need the cooperation with the BRICS countries, which have already advanced, are several steps ahead of us,» the Bolivian president said.
According to Arce, «BRICS represents an alternative for all countries that have always suffered from the plundering of our natural resources». La Paz is ready, the Bolivian leader said, to become a «strategic partner» of BRICS thanks to its reserves of lithium, minerals and rare earth metals, as well as food, livestock and energy.
The rise of BRICS, the decline of the unipolar and the consolidation of a multipolar world in which an integrated Latin America will play a decisive role, says the Argentine newspaper Pagina 12, increases «our chances of opening new markets, consolidating existing ones, stimulating investment flows through job creation, increasing exports and developing the application of new and better technologies.»
Brazilian President Lula is categorical: «BRICS is not a counterweight to the G7, G20 or anyone else. We want to organize ourselves as the Global South, which was not possible before. We play an important role in the global debate, sitting at the table as equals with the European Union and the United States.»
In Washington, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was dismissive of the southern neighbors’ aspirations. «This is about a very diverse group of countries … with different points of view on critical issues,» he quipped.
The US knows very well that huge debts prevent many states from pursuing independent sustainable policies to fight domestic problems. They know that the dollar remains «king» for the time being. And they do everything — legally or illegally — to preserve the shaken “royal” power.
Growing debt, determined by the urgency of interest payments, leads to increasing debt of «vassals». The example of Argentina is obvious: since 2000, it has been suffering from a chronic disease. The same problem is already «strangling» Chile, Uruguay and other Latin American countries.
What will happen next? The global South on one side, the collective West on the other. And between them, the BRICS with now 11 countries that want to establish a multipolar just world.
«Today’s global structures reflect the realities of the past. We are talking about the UN Security Council and the institutions of the Bretton Woods system. They should reflect the realities of the modern economy, not the realities after World War II,» UN Secretary-General António Guterres was forced to admit at the BRICS summit.
Guterres emphasized that for multipolarity to become a factor for peace and justice, «it must be supported by reformed multilateral structures» based on the UN Charter and international law.
With this he confirmed what Russian President Vladimir Putin had said: «The main thing is that we are all unanimous in favor of the formation of a multipolar world order, truly just and based on international law, respecting the key principles of the UN Charter, including the sovereign right and respect for the right of every nation to its own model of development. We are against hegemony of any kind, the exceptionalism promoted by some countries and the new policy based on this postulate — the policy of continued neo-colonialism».
«It encourages us to be experienced, well-timed and strong in the real game of the 21st century. The BRICS countries are telling us of a new alternative. From here, from Chile and from Latin America, we must accept the challenge: nothing can be achieved apart,» states the Chilean newspaper La Tercera.
“Like the Churchill monument in Washington, D.C., which has one foot in America and the other in England, Latin American capitals must stand with one foot in the West and the other in the East. This is the key to the foreign economic and foreign policy relations of the Global South and the Global North of the 21st century,” argues the Uruguayan newspaper El Observador. It is time to choose.