15 July 2014, 17:57

BRICS countries to challenge unipolar world order - experts

BRICS countries to challenge unipolar world order - experts
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BRICS countries are about to contest the global over-reliance on the US financial system and strengthen international legislation, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview on the eve of the Sixth BRICS summit in Fortaleza, BrazilCould BRICS countries challenge the old and crumbling unipolar world order? Is the Sixth BRICS Summit likely to suggest a solution?

The five States - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – account for 28 percent of the world's GDP and 42 percent of the global population, which puts them in a good position to offer a relevant solution challenging the US hegemony, which is making our world increasingly insecure. 

"Together we should think about a system of measures that would help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with some foreign policy decisions made by the United States and their allies, but would promote a civilized dialogue on all points based on mutual respect," Putin said. 

Radio VR discusses the issue with Veronika Krasheninnikova, Head of the Center for International Journalism and Research Rossiya Segodnya, Ambassador Tom Wheeler, Senior Fellow at the South African Institute of international affairs, and Jagannath P. Panda, Research Fellow, at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, India.

Veronika Krasheninnikova Head of the Center for International Journalism and Research Rossiya Segodnya:

Today the situation is that Washington forces other countries, its European allies, to apply sanctions on Russia for the decisions that Washington judges contrary to its interests. The good thing is that all the BRICS countries have an objective view of the situation and have the critical perception of the discourse that the American administration is taking.

Indeed, BRICS has enough influence in the world to prevent a unilateral punitive initiative and BRICS economies are still the fastest growing economies in the world. This gives the countries the power to add some balance to the international economic situation and also to provide something that would ensure the development of international trade even in the conditions of the punitive sanctions that some countries in the world might decide to impose in the future to on one of the BRICS member states.

The current situation that indeed is unfolding in different regions of the world is only a stimulus for the development of associations such as BRICS. Definitely, BRICS can provide a number of solutions for international economic and political problems.

BRICS is an association of five major countries with size-growing economies, interested in sustainable development and in the farther growth of the economies in the interest of the people. Also an important attribute of BRICS members is the significant influence in the respective continents. The countries of BRICS can be powerful brokers for peaceful solutions of the economic and political problems in the world as opposed to some other associations.

BRICS provides fair conditions for political and economic cooperation. It is important that BRICS creates a number of additional institutions for its members such as the Joint Development Bank, the currency institutions. 

Amb. Tom Wheeler, Senior Fellow at the South African Institute of international affairs:

What will characterize this summit if it is successful is the formal creation of the BRICS development bank. This is being discussed for some time, but it hasn’t taken up a formal form yet. And they also have to decide where they are going to locate the head-office. On the last question it seems as though Shanghai is the favoured location for the head-office of the BRICS bank. But the other formalities of establishing have to be agreed by the five heads of states. 

Many observers are saying that this time the BRICS countries might form some kind of an opposition to the American influence.

This also relates to the BRICS bank. It is seen as a counter to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund which are based in Washington. The idea would be that the BRICS bank would give to non-western countries, African countries, in particular, the opportunity of obtaining funding from a source other than the World Bank and the IMF with their various requirements that they place.

And the currency issues?

Issues like currency and even trade are really on a bilateral basis. There is relatively little trade between most of the BRICS countries, with possible exception of China - there is a lot of exports and imports from China. But Brazil and South Africa are main export markets of the EU and North America, with China, of course, a very important importer of raw-materials from Brazil and South Africa. And China is also a major exporter of manufactured goods at prices which our own manufacturers can’t match.

Jagannath P. Panda, Research Fellow, at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses:

The summit is a different one primarily because of the kind of political development which is taking place in the global politics currently. For example, the development which started in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, the issue of the Crimean crisis, particularly the crisis in the Ukraine, then the issues like maritime politics in the China Sea. To sum up, these issues actually make this BRICS leadership summit very interesting. Not to forget, most of these countries who are the members of the BRICS forum, are important countries, they are the real decision-makers of most of the global politics. Let's talk about China. It is a P5 country which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Russia is also a permanent member of the Security Council. Finally, India and Brazil are the emerging economies, they continue to prevail and influence the global politics. In that context, taking all these issues into account, this leadership summit is an important one because most of the BRICS members have some say, some view of the world politics, particularly of the current development which is happening in different parts of the world.

The summit is also going to look into financial issues. Do you think they could come up with some kind of solution that would counterbalance with the unilateral U.S. influence in the world? 

I think so. I think that probably this time in the leadership summit there will be a greater consensus about financial issues, particularly on the issues of the BRICS Development bank due to the idea of the BRICS development bank is going around for many years, let’s say for 3-4 years, but still they look with misunderstanding on this bank yet. I think in the current summit meeting they are going to have some kind of decision about how to go about this development bank, what its currency could be, what the strings could be, how much commitment is it going to gather, who is going to fund this development bank, what the grouping fares of the member countries of this bank will be, where the headquarters will be. The place of the headquarter is only one of the key issues. On the key issues there is currently lack of consensus. I think this summit will definitely help the member countries figure out the consensus, figure out climate of the BRICS development bank. Everything may not be settled, but this summit is going to give a concrete plan of the BRICS development bank. It may take a year to find an agreement,

So, a lot of issues are involved in the creation of the development bank. I hope, in this summit there will be some discussion and we will see some positive outcome coming out of this moment. I think, the BRICS development bank is not the only one, so there are greater financial issues. For example, reforming the global financial institutions such as the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank. Some of these issues the leaders of this summit will discuss. I think in this context this summit is going to be very beneficial, and I think there will be greater understanding emerging from this summit.

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