New interstate formats in global governance: the role of BRICS« Back
Modern world political situation is becoming more and more turbulent, which does not give an unambiguous answer to the question of the future architecture of global governance, the balance of power and a role in the future world order such units as the SCO and BRICS: future prospects now seem highly controversial. However, the BRICS has a significant, yet not fully used the potential, as a structure of a new type of interstate and not regional but global.
Against BRICS "information war" is turning out: in recent years, especially in the West, a campaign to discredit the interstate associations has intensified. At different levels, statements about the "sunset" of BRICS are made that the BRICS countries are divided. On the one hand, it's good: it means that the BRICS became such important factor in global politics and economics, which it is paid attention for; it has to be considered with. On the other, it shows a large deficit of objective information about what is really happening and being done in BRICS today.
It is time for social sciences to fill this gap. First of all, a few figures give an idea of the intensity of the contact group of the participating countries. During the year of the Russian Presidency in BRICS (2105-2016) more than 100 official events were carried out. The main one - the culmination of this process was the July summit in Ufa, combined with the SCO summit, which brought together not only representatives of the participating countries, but also almost all of the most important states of Eurasia. This means that in fact was the Ufa became consolidation area of the Eurasian space, despite the fact that the summit itself has been very successful and effective. Among the most important documents adopted in Ufa, deserves special attention " BRICS Economic Partnership Strategy ". In fact, this is the first attempt to have at the level of ministries and departments to agree on specific areas of cooperation within the group. In addition, Russia has initiated the preparation of a road map for economic and investment cooperation till 2020.
Launch of the project of the New Development Bank and Pull of contingent of foreign exchange reserves of the BRICS is another example of a quite specific result of cooperation within the five members last year. And the result, which was able to be achieved in a very short time - in just three years, which in turn breaks down the arguments of those who speak about the ineffectiveness of the BRICS mechanism. The bank is on the eve of the approval of the first projects, although there are complaints regarding the mechanisms of its work and transparency.
Group of five members has achieved serious progress on the way to mobilize as yet not fully "selected" reserve of the extensive development format. In particular, it launched a number of new sectorial areas of cooperation such as environmental protection, youth policy, migration, industry, communications, international development assistance and energy. Moreover, in the latter case the question of the creation of the Energy Association, or BRICS Energy Agency was raised.
With our supply exchanges and activities were initiated concerning non-governmental, academic line, in social, cultural and human dimension. For example the Civil Forum, which will now take place regularly. This means that the BRICS is connected not only with government agencies, but also with civil society. For such a big country, with such a large population as the BRICS, it is extremely important. This is a guarantee that the integration process gets quite a solid basis in society.
Of course, everything was not rosy. For most of the BRICS countries, the situation is characterized by a severe economic downturn, domestic political problems and complication of foreign policy situation. And, of course, it was a definite challenge for the BRICS strength. Terms and nature of activity of the BRICS have not changed, but have become more complex. Its demand has been proven, but it is more evident that there is the need for more constructive and effective interaction with the "old" centers of power, not confrontation. It is necessary to prove that the global challenges alone, and even by a group of powerful countries cannot be solved - and it was shown once again by the recent developments (the growth of terrorism, migration, climate change). For the BRICS countries issues of poverty alleviation, education and health are also extremely vital.
How to avoid an open confrontation with the West, to promote its own agenda? Which model of the BRICS is optimal taking into account the interests of all member countries? What task confronts BRICS: improve the existing global governance system or build a parallel?
It should be noted that Western interests are in something opposite to the interests of the BRICS countries, but in some ways the same. Therefore, it is crucial that development of the BRICS should not be accompanied by a confrontation with the West. One needs to find common and concerted recipes.
The danger is that a new division of the world into blocks (although the West is to blame the BRICS countries which are not willing to play by the "common universal rules", omitting the fact that they are beneficial primarily developed countries) is possible. In this way, it seems, China can go. There is some attempt to create an alternative group (for example, on the basis of comprehensive regional economic partnership - VREP or "Economic Belt of the "Silk Road"and "its integration" zone with the Eurasian Economic Union). This Asian-European structure risks to become secondary, and be characterized by less progressive interaction parameters of national economy that it is possible to lead to the inhibition of development and conflicts.
It seems that the best way - is the way to find a compromise within the existing global governance and regulation. It should not be assumed that the BRICS and other emerging associations would soon displace existing ones. This position is not only wrong, but also dangerous, because it helps strengthening confrontation instead of seeking cooperation and interaction pathways. The existing global governance institutions - the UN and the IMF, in particular, cannot be discounted. Moreover, the West pre-emptively begins to create new institutions under its control, which may become the "germs" of new international regimes - example is the US-initiated Trans-Pacific Partnership projects, Transatlantic Partnership and the Agreement on trade in services.
It is clear that the desire to transform the BRICS (in their favor) of the existing institutions of the system of international relations does not meet with understanding of the forces that dominate in these institutions. But one can try to strengthen the quantitative BRICS positions that are already built into the current global economic and financial architecture, for example, to achieve the redistribution of quotas in the IMF. However, there is a danger that the decision-making center of the definition of "rules of the game", including in an informal way, the Western countries will remain in force, as experience shows, mostly in their own interests. Securing existing roles (China - labor-intensive products, Russia - resources) are hardly in the interests of the BRICS countries. Moreover, in this way aggravation of contradictions among themselves (producers-consumers of raw materials, etc.) will take place including contradictions artificially fueled from outside.
In parallel, the BRICS does not exclude the alternative path - the creation of "mirror" structures. The first such structures have become new Bank for Development and Pull of contingent foreign exchange reserves. It is important that their activities are not just commercially successful, but it would create a new dimension of macroeconomic policy coordination. However, the creation of structures and tracks to the dominance of the BRICS promises more problems than gains.
After analyzing all the variety of factors affecting the formation and further development of the BRICS, competition formats of new participants in the economic growth and regional economic and trade unions, one can assume that it will remain an important factor of international life in the foreseeable future. It seems that the BRICS must remain a strategic priority for Russia.
With the participation of Russia it is necessary to try to negotiate with developed countries on the redistribution of roles, the assignment of the rights and privileges in exchange for prospects of a harmonious global development and minimize the threat of conflict. That is, it should be based on negotiation and diplomatic means. BRICS-G7 seems a good platform for such a dialogue. Though it is necessary to realize that the US does not want to discuss the problems in this format, insisting that it would be engaged in dialogue with the countries individually.
In the conditions of clearly acquiring a long-term nature of geopolitical confrontation with the West for Russia it seems that this is the optimal strategy that would allow it to stay on the positions of the world's center of power.
Georgy Toloraja - Executive Director of the NKI BRICS, Head of the Center of Russia's strategy in the Asia Institute of Economics, Professor of MGIMO Oriental Studies Department, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.