BRICS Posing Serious Eastern Challenge To Western Hegemony

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BRIC BY BRIC!

By Dr. Sawraj Singh

The 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil just concluded. Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil; Vladimir Putin, President of Russia; Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India; Xi Jinping, President of China; Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa; attended. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina was the invited leader. The main agenda was to set up a BRICS development bank. The group signed a document to create a $100 billion BRICS development bank and a revenue currency pool worth over $100 billion.  The bank will be located in Shanghai and an Indian will be the first President of the bank.

The BRICS countries together form about 46% of the world’s population and about 20% of the world’s economy. Their share of the world economy is rapidly increasing. The investment banking firm Goldman Sachs Group has projected that by 2030, the Chinese economy is going to supersede the American economy, and by 2050, the Chinese economy will be double the size of the American economy. The same projection shows that after 2050, India’s economy will also supersede the American economy. It is obvious that the BRICS countries will play an ever-increasing role in the world economy and world affairs. Many other countries have shown interest to join BRICS. Argentina is almost sure to join. South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, and Indonesia have shown strong interest in joining the organization. Not only the area and population base of the organization will represent more than 50% of the world, but eventually, the organization will also represent more than 50% of the world’s economy.

After World War II, the present global economic institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, came into existence. They openly promoted western monopoly and hegemony. It is not an exaggeration to say that these institutions were based upon inequality and injustice. Their constitutions did not let them give a fair representation. The western countries were given more voting rights and control. As the share of the West in world economy and world trade continued to decline, and that of the East continued to rise, there were repeated attempts by eastern countries to change these institutions so that they reflected more the changing equations and shifts in world power. However, the western powers refused to bring any meaningful changes. This led the eastern countries to develop parallel institutions. BRICS is one of such institutions which are challenging western hegemony.

The summit brought the three major eastern countries, Russia, China, and India, together. Prime Minister Modi of India had a very lengthy meeting with President Xi Jinping of China. It was scheduled for 40 minutes, but the meeting lasted 80 minutes. The two countries want to promote mutual understanding and cooperation, particularly in the economic field. The Chinese President will visit India and the Indian Prime Minister is expected to visit China later this year. China will help to develop infrastructure in India. China will also try to narrow the trade gap between the two countries. China and India will try to develop their economies in a mutually complementary fashion.

India and Russia also got a chance to revive their traditional and time-tested friendship. Prime Minister Modi told Putin that the Indian people have always considered Russia as their most trusted friend who has always stood by them. Putin also thanked India for taking stands different than the western countries, and that these Indian stands have helped Russia to fight western efforts to isolate Russia.

It became clear in the Summit that Russia, China, and India have a lot more in common than differences among them. All three countries have realized that they are not going to get an equal, fair, or respectable status in the present western-dominated world order. Therefore, they have to work together to change the present unipolar world order to a multipolar world.

The western domination of the last two centuries and American hegemony of the last half century are not going to last much longer. The 6th BRICS Summit and the interest shown by other countries, particularly the Latin American countries, to join and work with BRICS shows that there is very broad support in opposing western domination and hegemony. The BRICS Bank will challenge the World Bank and IMF, eventually forcing these institutions to either fundamentally change their attitude or become irrelevant and marginalized.

The rise of BRICS represents the rise of the East. The rise of the East does not mean that western domination and hegemony will be replaced by Eastern domination and hegemony. The overwhelming response BRICS is getting in Latin America shows that as opposed to the western narrow-minded approach, the eastern approach is universal. Eastern philosophy has always been universal. Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which I believe represents the highest evolution of Eastern philosophy and the zenith of Eastern spirituality, is truly universal and has a true global perspective. The world needs such philosophy which is truly universal and can impart a true global perspective, which the present globalization lacks.

BRICS Bank will create competition for the World Bank, IMF, and other similar regional funds. BRCIS nations have criticized the World Bank and the IMF for not giving developing nations enough voting rights. One of the goals of the Bank is to increase the amount of money loaned to developing countries to help with infrastructure and those programs which help majority of people by improving the quality of their lives. Healthcare and education are some such fields. As John Perkins pointed in his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, the U.S. and the World Bank forced the developing countries to abandon such programs and instead adopt those programs which would increase gap between the rich and the poor. Concentration of wealth created a comprador wealthy class which could be easily controlled by the U.S. The BRICS Bank will hopefully try to reverse such practices.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at [email protected].

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