The Wrong BRICS Expansion
The BRICS group's planned enlargement is a missed opportunity. The world does not need more countries to fall under Chinese and Russian influence, or to align against the United States; rather, it needs a genuinely independent third grouping that can provide emerging economies a counterweight against both camps.
BOSTON – At first blush, it may seem like good news that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) group will expand to include Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Argentina. An 11-strong BRICS+ could be more representative of the world’s emerging economies, providing a useful counterweight against American hegemony.
Yet, in many ways, the announced enlargement represents a major lost opportunity. The world does not need more countries to fall under Chinese and Russian influence, or to align against the United States; rather, it needs a genuinely independent third grouping to provide a counterweight against both the China-Russia axis and US power.
Because the enlargement includes only countries that already have friendly relations with China, BRICS+ is poised to be merely another tool of Chinese diplomacy. Rather than representing the interests of emerging economies, it will allow for greater Chinese involvement in them. Most likely, this will come at the expense of their workers and people, because Chinese foreign investors tend to tolerate – or even encourage – corruption, reduced transparency, and wasteful megaprojects financed with loans that cannot be easily restructured.
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