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Amid an unprecedented surge in global geopolitical risks, the world is becoming increasingly aware that the architecture that underpins the old world order is giving way to a new configuration of international relations and regional blocs. . The countries of the South are establishing their own institutions, regional integration alliances and payment systems, which are becoming a crucial force in the transformation of the global economy. The biggest developing markets, mainly the BRICS countries, are among the leaders here. In March 2022, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov declared that the BRICS will form the basis of a new world order, stating: “I believe that the BRICS states, totaling almost half of the world’s population and representing a large portion of global GDP, will be among the pillars of the emerging new world order.
However, for the BRICS states to become the foundation of a new world order, the bloc must offer other countries in the global economy new development paradigms on a global scale. These areas of the new economic architecture may include the revival of globalization on a platform of new states and regions, the establishment of a new institutional system for the modernization of nations engaged in the global economy, the agreement on a new reserve currency pool with the currencies of developing countries, creating a global system development path as an alternative to that promoted by the West, and forming new regional blocs and platforms to coordinate and develop these blocks.
Virtually all possible paradigms globally could be implemented under the broad BRICS+ format which provides BRICS states with various options to cooperate with other states in the global economy. Led by China in 2017, BRICS+ has yet to acquire its concrete outlines of development in many respects, although some possible models of cooperation within BRICS+ have already been announced by representatives of BRICS states. China’s BRICS presidency in 2022 provides a favorable basis for facilitating BRICS+, with Chinese officials saying they are considering options for developing the BRICS+ concept through interactions, among others, between integration alliances region of southern countries.
Regarding the implementation of the idea, a format that seems most appropriate for BRICS+ is an alliance of three pan-continental alliances: the African Union, CELAC (the Community of Latin American States) and the ‘OCS/OCS+ in Eurasia. Such an alliance covers as many countries of the Global South as possible, while it does not require any deep and complex economic integration or alignment of economic interactions across the three continents. Such an extensive format offers developing countries the opportunity to coordinate interaction on the international stage, advancing the priority agenda of countries in the South in terms of sustainable development.
This year, we are witnessing quite favorable conditions for the emergence of such a wide circle of interactions between developing countries: Argentina, which currently chairs CELAC in Latin America, has recently intensified its efforts to set up interactions with the BRICS. Brazil’s suspension of its participation in CELAC in 2020 is however a limiting factor, but it will probably be temporary. Uzbekistan, which now chairs the SCO through 2022, is increasingly involved in Eurasia integration processes after a period of closure. The presidency of the African Union in 2022 passed to Senegal, a nation that actively promotes the coordination and cooperation of regional integration alliances and establishes tangible interactions with BRICS states, mainly with China.
A platform for interactions between regional integration blocs involving BRICS states could become another avenue for interaction within BRICS+. Such a platform could include priority regional integration projects involving BRICS states, such as MERCOSUR, SACU, BIMSTEC, EAEU, as well as RCEP or the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area. All of these regional blocs could cooperate in coordination, moving towards aligning their standards and creating a more open economic space for trade and investment by BRICS states and their regional partners. It is important to note that most BRICS states currently choose to shape their foreign policies in the form of regional integration blocs (Russia – EAEU, Brazil – MERCOSUR, South Africa – SACU), and therefore , the BRICS+ based on “the integration of integrations” is the only possible format for economic integration and for the opening of markets between the BRICS States.
The spirit of multilateralism and building a new architecture that responds to the interests of the entire Global South is important in establishing such platforms. Attempts to base BRICS solely on narrow national interests could harm the development prospects of BRICS+ as such and other multilateral initiatives led by BRICS states. As a new format for interaction between BRICS states, BRICS+ depends for its success on multi-modal interaction formats within BRICS+ that would take into account all national interests and priorities of BRICS states and their regional partners.
Therefore, BRICS+ could shape two pathways of interaction between countries of the South: SCO + AU + CELAC, the more inclusive one oriented towards broad interactions between developing states within international organizations; such a format could primarily reflect China’s vision announced by its Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2017 when he proclaimed BRICS+ as the most inclusive interaction platform for developing states. A platform for the “integration of integrations” between regional economic groups led by BRICS states could become another path of development for BRICS+. This format better reflects Russia’s BRICS+ concept announced by Sergey Ryabkov in early 2018: “We suggest our partners consider BRICS+ as a platform to develop what could be called an ‘integration of integrations’,” said Ryabkov. If the Chinese vision of BRICS+ provides largest horizontal span in the Global South, Russia’s BRICS+ vision prioritizes depth and alignment of integration Priority Regional Projects from BRICS States.
Typically, the number of avenues and formats of interaction between developing countries can be much larger, reflecting the globalizing outlook of each BRICS member. In other words, unlike the unipolar approach to integration in developed countries, the BRICS+ can serve as a basis for diversifying the models and platforms of development and economic integration. In this regard, to develop the BRICS+ within the framework of diversified development models, it is important that India, Brazil and South Africa also present their visions of BRICS+ and globalization in the South and beyond. India, Brazil and South Africa may see a more attractive option in expanding membership in the new BRICS development bank by admitting regional partners; this paradigm was used after Egypt was admitted to the NDB as South Africa’s partner in the African Union, Uruguay was admitted as Brazil’s partner in MERCOSUR and Bangladesh as India’s partner in BIMSTEC and the South Asian Free Trade Area.
Improving the functioning of the BRICS Provisional Currency Pool (PMRP) could also be a direction for the intensification of BRICS international activities. Recently, the BRICS PMRP has intensified coordination with other regional financial organizations (RFOs) as part of the IMF’s regular consultations with the RFOs. At the same time, the BRICS PMRP has been significantly less active in its responses to crisis phenomena in the BRICS states than the BRICS NDB. Another option envisages, within the framework of BRICS+, the possibility of strengthening the mandate of the BRICS PMRP to monitor the macroeconomic situation in the BRICS states, to develop coordinated anti-crisis measures and to interact with other RFBs of the states. developing and regional regions of the BRICS states. the partners. In particular, there could be formed a regular coordination mechanism comprising the BRICS PMRP, the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD), the ASEAN Chiang Mai Initiative and their regional partners (CMIM) and the RFO Latin American FLAR. Another area here could be expanding BRICS PMRP membership by admitting regional partners from BRICS states, including several states admitted to the BRICS NDB.
Overall, the prospects for transformation of the global economy today are closely linked to the coordination of the activities of the larger countries of the South, mainly the BRICS states. However, a global restart of global economic development requires a broader format of interaction, BRICS+, which will allow other developing countries to be involved in the process. In this case, the process of reforming the global economy will become truly inclusive and stable. The “integration of integrations” format involving cooperation between regional integration blocks of countries in the South can become an important tool to intensify global economic transformation. China’s BRICS presidency in 2022 could give additional impetus to creating platforms for interactions among regional groups of developing states.
The progress made by the BRICS countries towards new platforms for cooperation between alliances of developing states could form the basis of a common cooperation platform for all the states of the South. This expanded platform could advance inclusiveness and openness in the development of countries of the South, accelerate the dynamics and structuring of integration processes, fill gaps and gaps on the map of integration processes in the developing world. So far, we can only say that the developed countries are much better endowed with dynamic and well-structured integration alliances than the countries of the South.
From our partner RIAC