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Joint Site of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of BRICS Member States

Friday, October 13, 2017

BRICS: Making the Peace

Anna M. Leenders

“When you really want something,the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Paolo Coehlo, Brazil

The BRICS has the promise of being a great story, and certainly an exciting one, for all the lands of BRICS have a colorful distinctiveness that has marked our imagination and sparked our passions.BRICS begins at the great heights of the gathering of civilizations at the summit of modern accomplishment at the opening of the third millennia. The historical struggle with expedited societal transformation spurs these unique powers to approach the global challenges they face from a people-conscious perspective, intended to achieve a maximally sustainable approach. Let’s consider the criticism and skepticism that is vocalized towards BRICS, which some argue is a part of the information war. How can such a diverse set of nations, in terms of their historical, political, cultural and economic paths, converge and cooperate in a sustainable manner? It is the diversity that unites and empowers the BRICS. Each BRICS state is fully independent, self-sufficient, culturally unique, militarily entirely assertive, and adaptable, enforcing mutually constructive coexistence.

The objective of the BRICS is to create a tradition of cooperation, first and foremost. The objective of that cooperation is constantly shifting. Modulating in one direction or another, shifting forms and space to correspond to the ever altering landscape of conflicts and challenges manifesting in the world.

BRICS arises itself as one of the leading power nodes, potentially a pole, dynamically developing into the habits and procedures of global governance. A qualitatively new model for the polycentric order based not only on economic and military equivalence, but drawing upon the wealth of its sociopolitical diversity, symbolically and also concretely. Of course, the figures are in place. The amalgamation of their diplomatic efforts would secure and align nearly one half of the global employable population. BRICS stretches across nearly one third of the global landmass. The currencies are backed not only by resources, but also by mighty economies, growing at rates at time four times more rapidly than during the Industrial Revolution.

The economic indicators are relevant because initially the RIC project was discussed as a strictly economic approach to resolving the economic crisis faced not only by the RIC but by the world. The initial discourse arising from the core discussion of the G20, overcoming national inequality and global marginality, is transformed into an effort to provide an assertive stance of self-sufficiency and stability. The effect is that the BRICS are contributing to the maintenance of global regulation of economics. How close are these countries to converging to each other remains a question to be crafted through negotiated joint work and implementation. Forecasts expect BRICS to surpass the 2014 G7 figure by 2030.

The political indicators are equally significant due to the reasoned, wise manner these states comport themselves through their foreign policy. What kind of network of states are the BRICS forming and how strongly is this network reflected amongst the other international institutions and groups? The BRICS countries demonstrate a strong correlation in terms of the global and regional organizations they are participatory members of. Whereas each BRICS member is also a critical player in his respective regional governance infrastructures, with global reach and clout. The BRICS members not only act concertedly coordinating voting and resolutions through the existing international organizations, but their global influence is also extended regionally.

Russia as a viable center of world governance norms

“Change is one thing. Acceptance is another.” Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things, India

The intricate clarity of the Russian language gives an identical word for world and peace “ мир”. Respectively, the terms for peacemaking and world governance converge in one joint word “миростроение”. Literally миростроение means world construction, whereas the Russians understand world construction as its literal and figurative synonym of construction of peace. The Russian diplomatic formula is all about constructing order and integrating partners through networked diplomacy.

Whereas order in classical Greek philosophy is associated with the ideas of cosmos, the teleological progression through the Orthodox Christian, third Rome, which is Moscow, parallely teaches peaceful and evolutionary behavior. Interestingly, what has begun manifesting itself from these diplomatic overtures, in which the Russians demonstrate such foresight, is networking countries through horizontal interlinkages across various levels. The “comprehensive sovereignty” of each state is respected, whereas the state joins a networked horizontal international structure that transcends the expected conditions of anarchy. Global networking is how the block structures being transformed with the announcement of the rules of new membership for the BRICS++.

On one side of the Atlantic scholars at the turn of the century like G. John Ikenberry, discussed how a rights-based international system could through institutionalism prolong the order thus far maintained by the solitary superpower of the United States, after its projected relative decline in power vis à vis the rest of the world. Whereas practitioners like Robert Kaplan and Barnett by the foresaw a polycentric world destabilized at its core, a destabilization that is ever increasing in the Middle East. Subsequent events have put to question to what extent US policies are contributing to the resolution or the unintended widening instability at the core. By 2008, a polycentric world destabilized by rising medium powers seemed to predominate the possible scenarios to a multipolar counterbalance by emergent great powers. As the poles, which must give balance to this system are in a process of formation or reconfiguration, it’s difficult to forecast in which direction the multiple rising centers could regionally associate themselves with. The BRICS founding states form a promising set of regional leaders, including due to their global reach and stabilizing force due to efforts to adapt to each other.

In Russia, Tatiana Shakleina vocalized as early as the year 2000, that multipolarity was imminent, and further specified that Russia was not precisely emergent, like the other rising powers, but rather in the process of reconfiguring its great power status. Shakleina argues that the Russian approach to dealing with the widening gap has an evolutionary nature, based on complex and consensual diplomacy.

Russia had a head start to the United States in challenging process of redefining its identity and policies to answer to a rapidly evolving global political and economic environment. Both former super powers are seeking to preserve a peaceful order, domestically and internationally. The simultaneous rise of other centers modifies external constraints and possibilities. BRICS is an organic process creating order despite and within this new undulating field of centers.

It’s as if two different worlds exist intermeshed with each other. The vision from Moscow is more elevated than that seen from Brussels. In Moscow one has the sentiment of sitting upon a dome. Scholars and policymakers see the world as if defined by the contours of international law, institutions, formal and informal gatherings and procedures are the ligaments of diplomatic thought and action. In this respect there has been and continues to be a degree of incredulity in Russia, as to why its country is being sidelined for so many decades since relaunched its free market and transitioned to democracy. There is what in French is called bon foi towards European integration with Russian academics and policymakers eager to modernize and assume their thought and practice. Substantively there isn’t a trace of a single textbook or theory from a distant Soviet history. A lot of attention is consecrated to the process and procedure of international diplomacy and law.

The view of the BRICS from Moscow, Beijing, Sao Paolo, Pretoria and New Delhi is starkly contrary to the criticism heard in Western capitals. The effort of BRICS is to transcend the stark contrast of a world of anarchy, with a world of cooperative institutions or at least procedures and traditions of diplomatic debate and exchanges. The meaning of security as speech act is palpable on this side of the world governance efforts. The entire discourse is towards nonviolence, there is an overall atmosphere of safety in the daily lives of citizens and residents. Of course, this atmosphere is enabled by the existence of high moral and organization of the effective security forces, which matter much more to deterring external threat.

Whilst the Russian diplomacy influenced by the bipolar tandem and defense to the American one, each of the BRICS members has an exceptional diplomatic history, with formidable diplomatic feats that transformed our modern world for the better.

Yet, the theoretical origins of BRICS from the Russian foreign policy perspective come from the continued attempt to resolve the underlying conflictual situation that led to the Second World War. This is a war that is increasingly forgotten in the foreign policy approach of most states. What is also often neglected in the mainstream media and analysis is that the Second World War was global, respectively, the BRICS answers to the global peacekeeping challenge defined in the previous century as the unification of Europe which was the culmination of the Potsdam Yalta system. The stabilization of peaceful relations between and within the states on the European continent, was achieved with the active participation of the Soviet Union and then Russia. Following this peacemaking and peacekeeping mission, which lasted half a century, Russia is jointly leading, together with China and Brazil to the establishment of the stabilization of a large portion of the rest of the world. The US and EU, are currently free-riders of the organization of the BRICS grouping and the stability it begins to offer to the world. Furthermore, the approach is compatible with the US and European integration due to its educational and technological focus for advancement.

The BRICS attempt steps upon the foundations of the successful stabilization and peaceful liberalization domestically of the BRICS members towards democracy. The BRICS initiative is the extension of the Greater Europe concept, which the EU has decided to put on hold. Russia was a great supporter of the Greater Europe concept, not only throughout the previous decade. Russia’s contribution to a peaceful Europe through the Second World War and the Cold War is immeasurably significant, and was the main thrust of its foreign policy. Belief in the success of this mission, of maintaining peace in Europe, is what gave the Russian people and their representative leaders the opportunity to liberalize their political and economic situation through perestroika and ultimately democratization and free market economy. Notably, totalitarian societal organization was very much a product of the need to survive in the total war of 1942 until 1945, the planned economy is the most effective organization in the time of war. Unfortunately, in the current international pressures liberalization efforts of the emerging democracies is being directly and unintentionally stifled. The international atmosphere that enables fostering democratic regimes is one of stability and continuity.

We can have confidence that if the monetary and economic union between France and Germany after the first and second world war has been able to succeed, then certainly a potential conflictual situation between Asian hegemons can be prevented by peaceful economic and diplomatic cooperation. BRICS is not against the EU, it is inspired by aspects of this peace seeking dialoguing format.

Since the end of the Cold War, the Russian society has been particularly democratized and capitalized, while the American society had been veering in the opposite direction due to the increased international insecurity and economic downturn. Altering roles in terms of taking the lead in making the global order great again. At this juncture, oddly instead of merging, the troubles stoked around the borders of Russia, and the failure of the NATO alliance system of rooting out the problem of terrorism or answering to the societal upheavals in the smaller and medium sized states, has climaxed with the Ukraine war in center stage of the Eurasian union with its Western counterparts. This is because the existing institutions are not equipped to answer to the asymetrical power struggles being mounted by terrorists and populists and extremists.

New lighter institutions are necessary instead of the block alliance model, with a horizontal orientation, and most of all a culturally sensitive socioeconomic approach that tunes the small to medium economies to fit into that of the major economies.

The BRICS is attempting to do what the G20 has eluded achieving. Notably, because of the isolation of Russia from its integration into the top leadership club, despite meeting all criteria in terms of debt payment. The challenge is that national identities, especially and including those of minorities, matter greatly. The Russian culture and language is still not free from the perceived communist stigma from its external perception, whereas domestically Russians have completely embraced the free market economy and their transition to democracy.

Although Russia is a European power as well as an Asian one, Russia, being so aggressively isolated for so many decades, tends to distance itself from the more negative aspects of the European legacy such as colonialization, slavery, virulent capitalist exploitation, and the initiation of two world wars, in which Russia was provoked to sacrifice the lives of more than thirty million of its citizens. Russia’s foreign policy is one based on a concept of justice, and international law. At each critical historical juncture where Russia was embroiled into a major war, leading to the death of or potential death of a majority of its population, Russia has completely transformed its natural characteristics and internal identity to improve and save the lives of its citizens and where possible and especially where necessary, such as, withdrawing from the first world war, freeing the Jewish people from concentration camps, or weeding out terrorists from the Middle East grey zones. The BRICS capacity is one of adaptation in foreign policy orientation, inspired by the members’ inventive and peacefully implemented transformational foreign and modernization policy initiatives.

A Diplomatic Mosaic

“The way is arduous and long.” The Social Mode of Qi, China

Whilst the Indian and Chinese states, each of continental size and might, yet sharing the same geographic space as Russia, developed separately due to the natural divide of the ever-rising Himalayas there is a similarity of their underlying assumptions. Notably, the concept of a respecting sovereignty and securitization, in postmodern terms, of a classical concept of concentric circles of alliances. These concentric circles of alliances can fit into and temper the post-modern conception of Kondratiev cycles of political and technological fluxes.

The thought of Kautilya, likened by Kissinger to a supremely machiavellian Machiavelli, is fundamental like the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu. The BRICS members stand together against injustice and inequality through their recent diplomatic history of peaceful transition, walking in the footsteps of Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev. Their most recent domestic socioeconomic transformations of revolutionary scale were implemented by reformers of grand bureaucratic skill in a rapidly compressed evolutionary form, in China and Brazil. The fastest projected economic growth risers, Brazil and South Africa, contribute an exemplary nonnuclear path to great power status.

We can already see that their positions within and vis a vis the various international forums and organizations are not conflictual, even if and when no conscious effort is made to act together as a voting group. On the fundamental declarations and resolutions addressing megatrends and challenges of global importance, their voting and ratification history coincide. There is a tremendous potential for mutual adaptation and accommodation at the state level. The work to be done is to acclimate and introduce their mutual populations to each other.

These principal regional players are distinct from the overall culture of the region they represent within the BRICS infrastructure. They have maintained and established within themselves a political and economic aspect that distinguishes them from their neighbors. They are representative of a culture and history, but have done things in their own way. The Lusophone Brazil, maintains a green energy foreign policy through the Amazon and Ethanol, in the context of the Spanish speaking, petroleum oriented Latin American continental dwellers. Russia, for much of its history through evidently a European power, has established itself in contrast to its Western neighbors, and has developed expertise in constructively dialoguing with its Asian and Middle Eastern neighbors and dealing with the insecurity in the Near East.

China which self identified itself as a continent of its own right during centuries was at the center of a geopolitical tributary hierarchy. India, in opposition to its Islamic neighbors, has developed a cosmological vision that achieved, through peaceful means its independence from the British Empire, and continues to demonstrate its ability to mediate with the Anglo Saxon states, working closely with the United States, but also maintaining a significant trade and cooperation with the Middle East and China. South Africa’s experience, is in and of itself, quite distinct in the History of Africa, due to apartheid and delayed decolonization from settler governance, and respectively an accelerated modernization process. In brief, these countries are unique in their regions, distinct but significant, and ultimately essential. Respectively, they have highly developed and adaptable diplomatic formulas to accommodate a diverse set of partners of any background. Economically, Brazil and South Africa are projected to demonstrated the fastest and greatest economic growth rates, whereas Russia, due to its over-dependence on the price of petroleum is subject to economic fluctuations.

At the pinnacle of their creativity, the BRICS begin by upper level interaction amongst the highest echelons of the respective nationally elected governments. By the time of the 2017 Xiamen conference, the expansive emotive declaration plans more than seventy projects of mutual cooperation across all sectors, and specifically aims to the convergence and mutual comprehension between the respective societies. Thereby, we find that across the levels of society, not only at the multi sectoral (business, economy, academic and governance) level of habitual international actors, the BRICS aim to overcome the Clash of Civilizations predicted by Samuel Huntington. It’s a twist on Fukuyama, because the end of history that is the peaceful status of a world order is established by regimes of different kinds (though all shaped by the people’s will), aligning in an economic cooperation in the capitalist market economy.

It is a pity that European and the North American states, have become skeptical and to distance themselves from BRICS as contributing to global governance structures. Opening the BRICS to new members and establishing a procedure for admission goes well beyond the originally discussed aim of including Indonesia, as the most populous yet distinct representative of the Muslim peoples and states. Indeed, theoretically and perhaps even foresightedly, the BRICS would and could consider applications from European and North American states, just as of others. There is time yet for mutual trust building and cooperation, especially upon the order established by the BRICS. Georgiy Toloraya, Executive director of the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research at MGIMO, argues that the BRICS is a multilateral framework that seeks to open dialogue including with those that may have currently hostile stances towards Russia.

Concretely the BRICS declaration have a power to for example condemn the use of sanctions against any of its members or any state, as was officially declared two years ago. This year three concrete mechanisms for resolving disputes diplomatically have come to the forefront.

So what is BRICS? Is it a threat to the West? A brilliant political counterbalance? Or is BRICS establishing itself as a peaceful ordering of a vast expanse of the planet, which can be configured into the new global patchwork of governance?

At its core, RIC, comprised at the initiation of China, a core partnership extending to India and Russia. Unlike the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, whose primary task is to prevent and root out terrorism, especially from Central Asia, the core that touches the borders and bridges these three states, RIC has a broader scope that seeks to promote an understanding between the wealth of these three civilizations. These peacefully transitioning free market states are overcoming the threat of civilization discord. Subsequently joined by Brazil and South Africa as representatives of their continents, at the request of other states, BRICS is expanding to a BRICS ++ concept, which will not be limited to a core periphery approach but will have a networked interaction and horizontal leadership. Fluidity is also apparent from its conference format which stretches across several months and all aspects of the levels of the states.

BRICS is an intermediate step between regionalization and global level cooperation. Rather than simply extending to other state-members of the represented civilizational and continental groupings, the BRICS is constructing the value system and economic infrastructure that could enable global governance.

Taming the Economy

“Unimagined perhaps, but the unimaginable is there to be imagined.” J.M.Coetze

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and benhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela, South Africa

BRICS is a conscious effort to secure the effectiveness of the financial system on the basis of the BRICS members’ own and mutual inward reform and reorganization. The demand for new financial and governance mechanisms will construct a viable global infrastructure.

At the conclusion of the 2017 Xiamen Summit the BRICS contribution to international economic infrastructure is ushered in with the establishment of the New Development Bank’s regional HQ in South Africa (the Russian branch will only open in by 2019). The NDB has an equal share from each of the BRICS and amounts to a 2014 start capital of 100 billion USD. The Contingency Reserve Arrangement, the Inter-Bank Cooperation Mechanism and the Local Currency Bond Markets and Fund complete the range of economic mechanisms being put into effect. These inter BRICS supportive mechanisms also reach globally to contribute to the international financial system.

The Word Bank director in Moscow, Andras Horvai, indicates that the Bretton Woods institutions, already receive and expect to continue to receive contributions and support from the BRICS members. Thereby the BRICS shall not replace the existing order, nor exist in parallel to the Bretton Woods. The BRICS do not seek offensive conflict with the nonmembers. Yaroslav Lissovolik, chief economist of the Eurasian Development Bank, explians that “BRICS cooperation with the Bretton Woods institutions is important. The R5 initiative is meant to raise the importance of the national currencies, something that in fact may be done in tandem with the IMF. The R5 is viable because it makes economic sense, there is scope and a need to forge ahead with de-dollarization. It may be the wrong kind of benefit that the US economy is getting from the US dollar being used everywhere instead of national currencies.” Furthermore, this kind of currency initiatives and gold resource, may even alleviate the politically risky dyad that exists between the USD and the Renminbi.

This current stance of Russia for the intention of BRICS follows a progression that responds to how the international community is responsive or adaptive to the BRICS countries: In the inception period of 2005 to 2008, some experts questioned whether the BRICS could be the new wealth of the IMF. It was argued, following the limitation of the sale of gold to 403,3 MT, that Brazil, Russia, India and China, jointly hold more than 4300 Billions USD and could very well participate in the financing of the IMF. Subsequently following the increased security uncertainty unleashed by the founders of the Bretton Woods institutions for the BRICS members, the BRICS members have found it necessary in the period of 2015 to 2016 to create their own development bank. Today we have returned to a cooperative dialogue and vision that encompasses the whole world, as BRICS seeks new members including Western ones.

Of the Potsdam Yalta order, the United Nations and the Bretton Woods global infrastructure persist, but are challenged by the new realities. No one, least of all Russia in its currently restricted economical state, is seeking to overtake singlehandedly, or even jointly, the international responsibility that the United States has taken up during the previous four decades. The vision for how the BRICS states will facilitate UN reform is by jointly imagining and evolving towards the reform of the UN, and coordinating regional peaceful relations and global interaction.

From a geopolitical and humanitarian perspective, could BRICS replace the Security Council? Andrey Kortunov argues that the United Nations remains the most significant global decision making architecture, but that BRICS can act as regional peacemaking and peacekeeping dialogues. The 2017 Xiamen Summit provides the Zones of Peace and Cooperation System, which can manage conflicts of continental scale. Brazil has proposed an Intelligence Forum. The Summit itself was utilized to temper the Doklan brinkmanship, and discussions are underway to use the trilateral RIC to systematically address border disputes along the Himalayan geographic boundary, and to assuage the effective Indian separation from the Chinese Silk Road Initiative, the One Belt One Road continental pathway to Europe via Russia, the China Pakistan Trade Route and the Eurasian Union. Ultimately the maritime Silk Route would bring India into the economic infrastructure underpinning the new global governance coordination.

Cooperative associations and groupings like the BRICS are significant stepping stones to Security Council reform, which could be effected through a peaceful transition based on regional orders. Based on the mutually enforcing overlapping memberships of international organizations, the BRICS are posed as potential voting blocks on issues of mutual concern.

What is significant is that the BRICS are transcending the Modernization discourse. Colin Flint’s geopolitical code is a means of positioning oneself within international society. There was a significant revolution in the geopolitical order at the peaceful de-federalization and regime transformation of the USSR. As a result of which BRICS is a domestically designed approach to correct the missed opportunity of a peaceful great power transition to a polycentric order of a multipolar world.

Furthermore, jointly with the peaceful international environment and economic support, they offer the necessary preconditions of democratic consolidation, especially now that the dialogue has shifted to empowering and connecting their vast civil societies in the cultural and educational spheres.

Managing the Fourth Revolution: Transcending to the Knowledge Economy

“I do not know Whether he is god or not But that day the stars change course Destiny is not pre-established Every moment, human decisions make or erase it”. (Krishna speaking GV 3,372)

“Be the change, you want to see.”Mahatma Gandi

The world is what we make of it, and so are the processes of mortaring the bricks together. The emerging BRICS leaders are guiding the transnational democratization process of global governance. Weaving the multicultural tapestry of colors, literary an ecosystem that will capitalize on the advances of some of the world’s most ancient systems of knowledge. This historical plurality and wealth is transferred through to the contemporary structure of intellectual thought, from the think tanks and academic research institutes, to R&D departments in corporations to One could say that like the guilds of stonemasons of the middle ages, transmitting the essence their craft of construction, today there are guilds of diplomats and peacemakers, some adorned in spiritual garb, that have across generations developed methods of peace construction.

Although the BRICS was an attempt to create a more equivocal participation in the rule making of the international financial and economic regime, it is quickly transforming itself to answer to the challenges of the new knowledge economy. The shift of the BRICS gatherings is increasingly shifting away from crisis management and neutralizing shocks from international instability in the immediate term, to planning cooperative movements towards economic growth through mutually beneficial engagement, encouraging healthy competition in contrast to confrontation. This is why its main thrust, that is the content of its expansive series of meetings, gatherings and colloquia, stretching across several months, is a discussion for how to interweave these multicultural systems, which hold some of our world’s most pronounced unique aspects.

The group’s early discussions, dubbed BRIC by a Goldman Sachs executive, focused on how to stabilize itself in view of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Though some indicate China as the main initiator, mainly the formation, which foresees equality amongst its members, is perceived as a Russian venture. Others argue that the origins of the BRICS concept arise from the BASIC grouping of non aligned states that formulated at the heart of the Copenhagen meeting in 1956. Each of the members of BRICS, as diverse as their socio-economic and political landscapes are, share a common objective of transitioning peacefully through the turbulent international economic and political environment. This is why the keynote gatherings of the heads of state and ministerial level meetings is bolstered by cooperative discussions across the economic and humanitarian scope of Russia. For economically less developed members, the BRICS is a development strategy. BRICS could also provide humanitarian assistance. Russia’s predominant initiative within the BRICS is business cooperation.

From a realist’s perspective, BRICS is now also a way of exiting economic isolation policies, and hence maintaining peace and wellbeing including of its own population. It’s also a real chance to demonstrate its global governance construction potential. Though one questions whether the isolationist policies are reactions to Russian efforts to cooperate with other global regions.

The 2017 Global Innovation Index prepared by Cornell, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) indicates that the BRICS employs a relatively greater proportion of its workforce in the knowledge intensive services, more than 77% with the Russian Federation. A threshold of a knowledge enabled and intensive labor force, could be a criterion or objective of future membership.

There is great excitement about meeting this objective. For those states that have travelling the difficult postcolonial route of lifting their citizens out of extreme poverty, the innovation threshold is bound the sustainability and equitability goals of economic and social development. It’s not an economic war, but it’s an education war. The battle for access to knowledge, as well as, its use and implementation determines which state can reach across to great power status. Finally, education enables the transformation of economic and technical potential to military defense systems.

The Brics Think Tank Council

Brics Academic Forum

Brics Network University NU

Brics University League UL

are only a few of the initiatives launched to empower knowledge communities. That these educational efforts are being done jointly is of exceptional significance, not only due to the symbolism and the potential of durable cooperation, but also because only cooperation can optimize the results in the sphere of: macro-data, knowhow, ICT, best practices, high tech innovations, and academic mobility. The focused for innovation and cooperation include:

Energy

IT and Cybersecurity

Ecology and Climate Preservation

Water Resources and Waste Management

Space

The current ideological challenge, facing the US, EU and BRICS is not the political regime, but how to composite the states of variable degrees and methods of democratization to deal with the challenges arising from the free market. Hence, at the initiative of Brazil, South Africa, India, Russia and China, the BRICS think tanks anticipate the shape of a new economy. Like the EU digital and cultural diplomacy programs, the BRICS are digitizing their cooperation in the academic, innovation and cultural spheres. One can expect a convergence based on this compatibility in the decades to come.

It is also a mutual forecasting opportunity with studies being conducted on the longterm trends of the BRICS members. Mutual projects would also enable a more tailored solution to transcending economic challenges. The main thrust of the Russian efforts is joint business ventures. These cultures, in their plurality, are comparative economically, but they are also comparative culturally, each system has a way to ascend to the next level of knowledge, and consecutively the fourth industrial revolution.

Doubts about the possibility of a successful BRICS group arise from an under-appreciation of the relative might of the BRICS economies and the universal cultural plurality that the rainbow that BRICS members form. BRICS, like the EU, is a conscious attempt to assuage the differences of a Huntingtonian clash of civilization.

Diverse cultures are merely different reasons and symbols and ways to understand life and to order life. Within a system of symbols people can rise to higher levels of wellbeing and overall consciousness. At present the BRICS countries are establishing organic conditions of compatibility. For societies to be able to cooperate their populations must be raised to the same level of enlightenment and erudition, i.e. to be one the same wavelength. This is a matter of education as per UNESCO’s motto that peace arises, and is cultivated in the minds of men, but also as a preparation for the knowledge economy. The central objective is to stabilize a situation of peace.

For a more realist interpretation of the implications of BRICS, one might consider how the West might benefit from the continued discord between these states. The pre-BRICS scenario of Indo-Chinese rivalry or Russian discord with Asian states, led to a reverse alienation of and from the East, whereas now these conflictual positioning are transformed into economic and at times strategic partnerships. This rapprochement could be fitted into a global mosaic with the EU and US as continental powers.

A predominant aim of the BRICS is that each state has the ability to shape and express its identity within the structural arrangements. The strategic vision is of a poly-centric and multi-civilizational international system, a type of transnational consociationalism. The structural impact refers to the ability to shape one’s identity or future configuration, and address matters of domestic and international inequality. In a nutshell, BRICS is tuning domestic politics and economics to peace. BRICS is an effort to jointly construct an international knowledge regime, by enforcing the development of national knowledge regime. This enforcement is an enabling process by creating international environment of peace. The symbolic nature of the gatherings has transforming into substantive discussions, inventive policy implementation, and effective action plans at the 9th BRICS summit hosted in China.

BRICS is a just network of empowered states

These states are all trying to reach the same destination. All of them, for brief or prolonged periods reached a pinnacle of elevation that have been beneficial for the people and exemplary for the world. Which path to follow? No one has the certain answers, especially when there is so much resistance not only due to competition between them, but due to many threats, including terrorism. Only one answer is certain, that cooperation is necessary between the responsible powers. Those powers that refuse to cooperate within and with even the ad hoc dialoguing format of the BRICS, declare themselves threats to peaceful, pluralistic, democratic global order. To date and without provocation, we can say that none of the R5 members wish to pursue any form of domestic or international violence. The battle is for knowledge and economic development.

“The strongest of all warriors are these two Time and Patience.” Leo Tolstoy, Russia

Source: BRICS National Research Committee