UVA Today asked Potter about BRICS and why the United States shouldn’t worry.
Q. What makes BRICS less threatening?
A. I have a rather negative view of BRICS as an effective political entity. These countries don’t have much in common except that they are large and opposed to the United States. Russia and China supposedly enjoy a “boundless friendship,” but in reality view each other with suspicion. India has a risky relationship with China at best. It is a story from the South, a response from the South to the G7. But when we look at the composition of the G7, these are countries that cooperate in many areas and have entered into strategic alliances with each other. They train militarily together, they operate in the same global economy.
Q. What brings the BRICS countries together?
A. Opposition to the United States. And that is the problem. They all know they are against a US-dominated world order.
As for their usefulness, aligned interests are comparatively fewer in number. It’s difficult for them to come up with an alternative, because that’s when their divergent interests begin to emerge.
Q. How did the recent summit in South Africa go?
A. My understanding is that they have failed to reach deep agreements on currency and broader cooperation. They added several countries to the bloc that do not fundamentally change the equation. Argentina faces long-standing economic and political challenges. Egypt is chronically mismanaged. Ethiopia recently experienced a civil war and continues to face challenges. Iran is Iran. Saudi Arabia is a serious player with significant resources, but it plays both sides with interests that sometimes align with those of the West and sometimes with those of countries like China and Russia.
In my opinion, the accession of the Gulf States was the most interesting thing to come out of this summit. That said, I didn’t find it very surprising that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were willing to sign, at least in principle.
Q.W.What is the BRICS Development Bank and what does it do?
A. It was supposed to be a response to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, a global lender that would help invest in growth, bail out economies, reduce instability, that sort of thing. China and Russia have offered to invest a lot of money in the IMF in exchange for changing voting rules and a system less dominated by the West. It didn’t work and the New Development Bank proved to be the best solution.
They invested considerable sums in the BRICS Development Bank, at least in principle, and then suffered a series of false starts. The participants had difficulty agreeing on who would put what, how it would be controlled, what its objectives would be. It’s part of the same larger stories. It is relatively easy for a bloc of countries to unite on what they do not like, but as soon as it comes to putting something concrete in its place, they come up against the reality of their capabilities and interests. divergent.
Q. Periodically, we are talking about the creation of a currency by the BRICS countries. Where we are ?
A. In my opinion, it is a total failure.
What they oppose is dollar hegemony, the ability of the United States to weaponize the financial system and impose sanctions against it or others. The United States derives enormous benefits from the dollar and the financial system in terms of global power. It is not surprising that the BRICS countries want to challenge this.