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BRICS and Global Security: new challenges and new opportunities

Marcelo Rech

Hardly the senior analyst of Goldman Sachs, Jim O'Neill, could imagine that after ten years of his predilection on what would be the BRICS, the bloc would become not only a commercial mechanism, but also a political forum able to impose itself with authority.

In this last decade, South Africa was added up to the bloc, which also changed in terms of conception and works for solid reforms in the system of the International Relations – still dominated by a country that ties the others through military-political arrangements.

The BRICS understands that sooner or later the financial-economic model imposed by the West will exhaust itself. The signs are conclusive. At present, the world faces a situation in which a country and the international financial institutions cannot control consolidating economies like those of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Accept it or not, the fact is that there is a transformation of the world order, unfavorable to the traditional policies adopted for the rest in Washington.

The BRICS enters in a consolidation phase. There is political interest of its leaders regarding the need of solving punctually some natural divergences. Besides, they are aware of the potential to be explored.

Russia is a net exporter of energetic resources, Brazil, of agricultural raw materials, India, of services and information technology, and China, one of the main manufacturers of industrial products.

That allows them to act consensually not only in the context of the commercial and economic cooperation, but also in the discussion and solution of the subjects of the international agenda.

The member-countries of the BRICS defend the need of preserving the role of the UN and its Security Council in the maintenance of peace and security, based on the United Nations Charter and on the universally recognized standards of the international law.

Its activities aim to preserve the peace having as pillars the struggle against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the pacific resolution of conflicts. The basic strategy of the BRICS is the non-intervention in internal subjects of other countries.

Let's remember that in its first three summits, the BRICS emphasized the political coordination. In the fourth summit, carried out in 2012, in New Delhi, an advanced agenda contemplated the partnerships of the bloc regarding global stability, security and prosperity, with highlights for the role fulfilled regarding the Iranian Nuclear Program, the situation in Afghanistan, the peacemaking process in the Middle East and the crisis of Syria.

Of course, like any mechanism under construction, very often the understanding and the consensus are impossible. For example, in the Syrian case. In the beginning of 2013, Russia and China vetoed the resolution that would make way for a foreign intervention in that country, whilst Brazil, India and South Africa chose to abstain from voting.

On the other hand, in the G-20 Summit in Saint Petersburg, in September of the same year, they were unanimous in stand opposite to a new war in the Middle East. All the leaders of the BRICS countries were conclusive in their speeches against the intentions of creating a new front of conflict in the region. Inclusive, it was recorded that the smaller countries feel increasingly vulnerable and unprotected.

This position certainly contributed so that the United States and the NATO did not invade Syria as they did in Libya.

It is still necessary to record that in the crisis involving Russia and Ukraine, 64 countries voted against the UN resolution on the Crimea and showed sympathetic to the Russian actions, considering the historical aspects of the problem and the desire of the local population in joining that country.

The growing perception is that the North American dominance conquered after the end of the Cold War is declining and a new world order arises. In this context, the BRICS will have an even bigger role reinforcing its position while bloc, in the field of international security.

Marcelo Rech is a journalist, specialist in International Relations; Strategies and Policies of Defense; Terrorism and Counterinsurgency; Human Rights in the Armed Conflicts; and director of the Instituto InfoRel de Relações Internacionais e Defesa. E-mail:

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