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Benefits, not values, define BRICS unity

(Global Times)

13:49, March 28, 2012

Leaders from the BRICS countries meet in New Delhi today and tomorrow for the group's fourth summit. It is reported that the gathering will discuss the feasibility of a BRICS development bank. The bloc of five emerging countries is showing positive signs of cooperation. A unified BRICS will no doubt benefit China. As the five countries all develop fast, the organization can divert from the international focus on China's rise.

Few people are seemingly optimistic about the future influence of the BRICS. The top reason cited is the lack of unified values among BRICS countries.

The claim makes some sense, but is not totally convincing. The G20 group for example has more contradictory values among its member countries. During the Cold War, organizations were often bonded together by values. NATO, the Warsaw Pact, and the G7 were all products of global political pressure around the time of the Cold War. Defining sets of values for international organizations have been broken since then. Russia is included in the G7, but the group is gradually marginalized due to its dwindling economic power. The G20 is hailed, but the group is still in the process of integration.

The mission of the BRICS is not directly related to values. After all values are not central to today's world. Too much preaching on values today is as absurd as class struggle was in China in the 50s and 60s. Human rights tend to be centered on values, but the issue never really dominates world politics. Other pressing issues such as climate change and trade disputes are not directly linked to values.

Whether the BRICS nations can deepen cooperation depends on necessity. In fact, all the newly-emerged world organizations in recent years have to prove their vitality through the benefit they bring for member countries, not the values they adhere to.

Robust growth is the prime factor shared by BRICS countries. They also face oppression by developed countries in the current global political system. The conflicts between them and developed nations are based on interests, not ideology.

India is the host country of this summit. Its identity as an emerging country far overwhelms its identity as a democratic country. The latter is just a label the Western media like to use to balance China.

The BRICS nations need to coordinate and support each other more. Wasting this opportunity would be a loss to them all. The BRICS nations should be clear on why they have come together.


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