Joining BRICS might turn out to be one of the most important international initiatives of Argentina in recent years.
Currently consisting of Brasil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, this alliance already is an important global axis whose political and economic influence is bound to increase in the decades to come should the trend towards a new multipolar geopolitics continue, which is capable to provide an alternative to the apparently overwhelming power of the United States today.
Data of the World Bank suggest that the BRICS countries constitute 22 % of global land mass, 42 % of world population and 26 % of GDP today, controlling a dollar reserve of more than 4 trillion.
According to the International Monetary Fund, China is the biggest economy of the group with more than 70 % of its joint economic power, followed by India with 13 %, Russia and Brazil with about 7 % each and finally South Africa with 3 %.
Its main strength seems to be the partnership of China as the world’s largest manufacturer and Russia as the world’s leading energy supplier. While India is already one of the most important economic powers based on its export of natural resources and grain, Brazil is currently upgrading its position as one of main actors on the global food and agriculture market, South Africa on the other hand is developing into a key nation exporting metal and minerals with far-reaching technological implications.
The acceptance of Argentinca into BRICS, supported mainly by India, Russia and China (currently chairing the group), is based on their capacity to provide food such as soy and grain as well as strategic resources including natural gas, fracking gas, several minerals and most notably the increasingly valuable lithium. Moreover Argentina’s scientific potential is fully developed, including specialisation on biotechnology and applied logistics.
However, Argentina is not the only nation to announce their intention to join the bloc: at present there are governments of about twenty states from all continents whose applications are pending. And one glance at the list of applicants, especially those from the Middle East, is enough to debunk the idea that their political orientation would make them all sympathisers of the axis Moscow-Beijing.
In this sense not only Iran but also NATO member states such as Turkey have opted to join, as well as countries who have historically always been allies of the United States: Saudi Arabia, recently Egypt and even the United Arab Emirates despite being one of the protagonists of the 2020 Abraham peace accord1 together with Israel, the United States and Bahrain.
The appeal emanating from BRICS today might challenge traditional alliances and even historical conflicts, for instance some of those still maintained by several states in the Middle East. It would come as no surprise should the growing bloc contribute to a review of the international relations and geopolitical maps of a big part of the world as shaped by the United States over the last 30 years.
BRICS is no longer the group of emerging markets as it had been conceived in 2006 and launched in 2009 as a reaction to the financial crisis which had erupted one year previously in the US and eventually affected the entire world. Today BRICS follow a developmental model of their own which is no longer informed by the axioms of neoliberal capitalism.
Instead, BRICS favour South-South cooperation and networking between complementary economies with similar economic, political and social goals.
For this reason and acknowledged by FAO one of the most ambitious aims by 2030 is to achieve a leading role in the abolishment of hunger globally, by producing more than 30 % of grain worldwide.
While BRICS have had to face several difficult moments since their foundation, due to the trade war between China and the Unites States and the economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the current crisis in Ukraine constitutes the biggest threat to its survival so far.
Contrary to the expectations of the US and other NATO governments though, their sanctions against Russia achieved nothing but strengthened ties within the bloc, paving its way to future by their search to find solutions to the resulting problems on the basis of concrete proposals and new long-term initiatives.
Argentina’s admission to BRICS would come at a moment of accelerated bankruptcy of the international financial system which coincides with increasing weakness of the dollar, imminent inflation fuelled by an overexpanded amount of circulating money and an out of control budget deficit which shows clear signs of strain and which the US Congressional Budget Office states to exceed 100 trillion in 2022.
It is in this context that the most ambitious project, promoted mainly by Russia and China, aims for de-dollarisation as a main pillar of sovereignty and protection of vital means of production against US hegemony and their politics of permanent siege.
As argued by many political and economic analysts this process is uncorrectable and therefore only anticipated by BRICS. The re-introduction of a series of currencies as an alternative to the dollar will contribute to a multipolar world and at the same time provide security to the countries within this expanding bloc without vulnerabilities to enforced conditions or even blackmailing from the outside.
For many BRICS appears as a beacon of hope for a more balanced global power structure in which seemingly unstoppable powers may find their limits and checks. In the decades to come, the overthrow of neoliberalism with worldwide hunger a misery of millions of people as its most devastating consequences seems possible. Without any doubt the imminent admission of Argentina to this group is good news. •
1 «Series of joint normalization statements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain», effective since September 15, 2020, signed in Washington, D.C.
Source: Página 12 of 11 October 2022; https://www.pagina12.com.ar/autores/422097-daniel-kersfeld
(Translation Current Concerns)
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