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Who has laid BRICs?
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14:29, June 15, 2009

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First BRIC Summit to discuss major issues - special

By Li Hongmei People's Daily Online

President Hu Jintao departed Sunday for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the first formal meeting of BRIC countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India and China, to be held in Yekaterinburg in central Russia. The leaders of the four BRIC members will discuss the major issues such as the international financial crisis, reform of the financial institutions, food and energy security, climate change, trade, and the future of the BRIC dialogue.

Perhaps, the first formal meeting of the BRIC top leaders will make Goldman Sachs much pride itself on its talent and creativity, now that the acronym BRIC, or BRICs, with reference to the fast growing developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, was first coined and prominently used by the worldwide notable investment bank in 2001; and in addition, the famous BRIC thesis came into being in 2003, when Goldman Sachs published its report entitled 'Dreaming with BRICs: The path to 2050.'

BRIC thesis has since found its way on the arena of international opinions. But the economic bloc of the four emerging economies is more of a symbolic one than a substantial trading association like, say, the European Union. And it is highly arguable that whether they would seek to form a 'political club' and, thereby, convert their growing economic power into greater geopolitical clout, as always is an illusion created by some Western powers.

In light of the analysis by Goldman Sachs, by 2050, the combined economies of the BRICs could eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world, as the nascent economies are developing rapidly. This statement seemed plausible considering the fact that BRIC countries account for 42 percent of the world's population, 14.6 percent of global GDP and 12.8 percent of the global trade volume.

As a matter of course, the BRICs seem to have become more ready to accept the 'arranged marriage' reaching out more frequently to each other for closer contact and more intimate relations. More importantly, they began to develop a sense of 'self identity' and consider each as being one of the BRICS.

Viewed from the more objective prism, however, the four emerging economies vary a lot in terms of geography, nationality, economic make-up, political system, and culture and tradition, all of which are regarded vital and desirable to the build-up of an economic bloc. That a term invented by Goldman Sachs grouped them together revealed again a simple but very profound idea that many of the world's communities are created by human agents instead of resulting from natural bonds, and even some of the communities take shape all by accident.

The U.S. is, as it were, quite fond of grouping the world, just as it did immediately after the 9.11 terrorist attack. The Bush administration blacklisted a group of countries and labeled them as members of 'Axis of Evils.' Henceforth, a community of 'anti-American forces' have been loosely but literally forged, and was later found seeping as widely as across the globe. And sarcastically, it was none other than President Bush, an over-zealous man, who had established the brotherly ties between the two fervent and even irritable men, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Since the world was ushered into the 'modern age', the natural ties determined by geographic vicinity and national or cultural connection have gradually receded and finally vanished. In times of the 'Cold War', countries went together mainly based on ideologies and visible interests. But today, the ongoing globalization and multi-polarization tends to smash the old structures and shake the then well-established communities, as the emerging powers have mushroomed and are seeking to build up a new mode of international cooperation featuring more equality and fairness. Thus, all this will also complicate the layout on the world chessboard.

China may learn a good lesson from what the U.S. has so far insistently, or perhaps, insidiously committed to and, especially from what it has been paid back as a return-- if a power unwisely put up a false enemy front to alienate and antagonize, the power, mighty as it is, will be hoisted by its petard.

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