5 countries, 40% of the world’s population; a global semi-political economic organization that dwarfs any other on almost any metric. Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are some of the largest developing nations in the world and form the organization known by the acronym BRICS. The organization, started in 2010, serves as a forum for economic cooperation among the non-western powers of the world and a pseudo-alliance to counter American hegemony over global markets.
On paper, the organization seems to possess significant potential. China and India are the two most populous nations in the world, each possessing enormous workforces and leading both industry and services globally. Russia and Brazil additionally exercise control over vast swaths of natural resources. With South Africa rounding up the pack with its strategic geographic location, BRICS is a formidable force for any potential foe.
Economic activity and cooperation between BRICS members may be detrimental to American foreign policy interests. India and China notably consumed Russian oil in large quantities following the large nation’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent western sanctions. The oil revenue undermined global efforts to stifle the Russian war economy and signaled the former two nation’s willingness to cooperate with American adversaries for mutual gain.
Were the geopolitical situation to develop as it was, America could still conceivably keep the individual members of BRICS under its thumb. However, the BRICS summit this week demonstrated that more distant US allies and non-ideologically aligned international partners are willing to diminish American relations in favor of the new economic order. At the conclusion of the summit, the organization announced that six additional nations, Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates would be joining effective January 2024.
The new revelation serves as one of the rare moments in recent history witnessing cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Iran. With the addition of the UAE, Brics will add the triumvirate of Middle Eastern oil powers to its ranks. The decision by Saudi Arabia to join BRICS comes as a surprise due to the wealthy oil nation’s traditionally pro-American stance. However, it is important to note that Saudi Arabia’s vested interest in its American alliance lies in the economic opportunity and weapons technology to be gained from the world’s most powerful nation. Saudi Arabia’s desire for weapons and investment can be and already is easily satiated by China and the other members of BRICS. Thus, the petroleum-rich nation may no longer require US cooperation.
As America is eclipsed by China and other members of BRICS, the threat of a new global order is imminent. In order to keep its position on the world stage, our nation must commit all of the resources at its disposal to ensure the socioeconomic alignment of the free world.