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BRICS Without Mortar

CAMBRIDGE – Last month, China’s new president, Xi Jinping, chose Moscow for his first foreign visit. He and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a number of agreements and then traveled to Durban, South Africa, for the fifth “BRICS” summit, where they joined with the leaders of India, Brazil, and South Africa to announce the creation of a new development bank that could challenge the dominance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The five leaders’ speeches referred to a shifting world order, and Xi said “the potential of BRICS development is infinite.”

It looked as if the BRICS had finally come of age. Three years ago, I was skeptical about the BRICS. And, despite the recent summit’s apparent success, I still am.