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Daily News Analysis

BRICS doubled its membership as the midnight clock struck

Crescent International

As the midnight clock struck, ushering in the new Gregorian year (2024), BRICS doubled in size.

To the original five—Brazil, Russia, India, China and Brazil, hence the acronym BRICS—another five countries were added.

These are: Egypt, Ethiopia, Islamic Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The sixth member, Argentina, whose membership was approved at the Johannesburg summit in August 23, 2023 decided not to join.

This came about after the election of the right-wing pro-US, pro-zionist Javier Milei as president of the country.

During his election campaign, he had vowed to remain close to the west and not join BRICS.

Argentina’s absence will not cramp BRICS’ style.

Its population of 46 million and $640 billion GDP will not mean much loss for BRICS.

Even before its expansion, BRICS accounted for 36 percent of the global GDP.

If Argentina wishes to continue clinging to the coat-tails of the west, that is its choice.

The rest of the Global South wishes to move on.

The most significant development is the membership of Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The three are energy heavyweights and will add heft to Russia’s policy of consolidating its influence in the global energy markets.

It is evident from BRICS membership composition that it is becoming an alternative platform to the US-led imperialist world order.

Much of the Global South and indeed some countries even in Europe are fed up with US unilateralism and bullying but are unable to establish an alternative platform.

BRICS is providing that much-needed platform.

True, not all its members are able to detach themselves from the US-led order but others are decidedly anti-American.

India and Brazil want to play both sides. Will they succeed is yet to be seen.

Egypt and Ethiopia are basket cases.

Russia, China and new member Islamic Iran are determined to challenge US hegemony.

BRICS had started as an economic bloc but its pronouncements have taken on decidedly political overtones.

On the economic and financial fronts, the possibility of a shared BRICS currency may be some distance away but members appear keen to trade in each other’s currency.

Some, like Russia, China, Iran and India are already trading in each other’s currency.

Barter trade agreements have also been put in place.

China is keen to promote the New Development Bank.

This will act as an alternative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

BRICS’ expansion is good not only economically but also politically because the US-led unipolar world order has been an unmitigated disaster.

An alternative consensus-driven bloc is what is needed.

Who knows, BRICS may even come to replace the United Nations since it has been hijacked by the Americans and their European allies frustrating its work.

An organization created to prevent wars has failed so miserably—the most recent example being Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza—that few members repose any trust in the UN.

As US power declines, alternative platforms will emerge.

BRICS is one of them and perhaps a very important platform.

The good thing is that some Muslim countries are part of this effort.

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