ANALYSES

The rising of the BRICS

Tribune
25 juillet 2014
Brazil has always perceived this group as an opportunity to increase its restless search for a permanent position in the UN Security Council. It was believed the BRICS would provide the required legitimacy, while offering a counterpoint to the “Western World”, which would be strong enough to rebalance the world’s power balance. Such rebalancing would be the ‘clue’ for Brazil to claim for what it considers to be its right since 1947: the permanent seat.

Russia is fully aware about the role it plays in the world; it is not experiencing a crisis of identity, and holds the privileged office permanent member to the Security Council. However, it fails in getting something that is theoretically quite simple: credibility. According to Vladimir Putin the BRICS could – and still can – serve as a strong means for the country to recover that priceless intangible value. Still under the effects of an intensive Cold War the country remains playing an antagonistic role in face of the USA. And that antagonism ensures that Russia is feared, but never loved. This is the reason why the recovery of credibility would be the greatest prize granted by the BRICS to that country.

Although it joined the group only in April 2011, South Africa has always perceived the BRICS as a double possibility of reaching its objectives: on one hand, the country could take great advantages from the trade among members, mainly due to its geographic location; on the other hand, South Africa believed the BRICS were the driver required to consolidate its position as an economic and political power in Africa, also expanding its sphere of influence in the continent. Neither of the two expected outcomes took place, leading the South African government to face internal criticisms, and criticisms by the opposition, regarding the actual value of being part of the BRICS.

For India, the block serves as an outstanding mechanism to maintain the geopolitical stability in the region. Finally, China was and continues to be the great leader of the BRICS. The materialization of an interest shared by all members – the creation of the bank – was triggered by China, as since the outset the country understood the possibility of trying to restructure the global financial system. After all, the country held the capital, demand, partners and the political centralization required for making quick decisions. However, the legitimacy and credibility of a movement of that kind would only be achieved if the other members – each one with its own uniqueness – participated in the project.

The BRICS Bank is still young, somewhat vague and bears more questions than answers. Nonetheless, it has already broken the traditional way how countries can seek for credit in the international market. Argentina - a renowned client of international credits to solve its cyclical crises – has already claimed the position of #001 client of the Bank. There would be nothing better for the BRICS members than to have as client # 1 a country that is big enough to draw the world’s attention, and small enough to prevent damaging the power consolidation sought by each partner in the group. Therefore, it is not surprising that Argentina was promptly refused as a potential member of the BRICS, but is much welcomed as a client.

The BRICS Bank and Argentina stand for much more than the simple gathering of a new financial institution and a country consistently drown in problems. What happened during the 2014 Summit in Fortaleza went much farther than that, standing out for a mechanism that is financially strong, and countries facing legitimate problems that decided to challenge the global financial logic, whose capital is New York. Since when Argentina “denounced” New York as an unsafe site for international financial negotiations and blamed the 'vulture funds” for the country’s problems, here came a bank riding a white horse, and which does not fit into the traditional standards of the current financial system.
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