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Towards the end of the liberal order: BRICS Summit

By Ibrahim Orçun Göktürk | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-09-08 10:53


Founded in 2009, BRICS, which was initially about cooperation in finance, development and trade, is evolving into a structure that will have major geopolitical and geostrategic significance for the peoples of the world with the accession of new members at the latest summit in South Africa, in the third week of the last month.

What was more remarkable than the accession of six new countries from three continents was the fact that more than 40 countries applied for membership. This shows us once again that the "international order" inherited from the 20th century and demarcated by imperialist hegemonies is not working and that the developing countries of the world, need a new order.

The impasse of Western hegemonism

The imperialist plunderers ensured their own development at the expense of the rest of the world. But by the last quarter of the 20th century, the rise of Asian countries, China in particular, continued steadily into the 21st century. This has been accompanied by continued independence movements in Africa and Latin America, even with some setbacks. From the second half of the last century to today, there were those who called for a "flat world" and those who proclaimed the "end of history", those who tried to explain the new situation as a "convergence" of development between the Global South and the North... Now that almost all of them have shelved their liberal credo, it did not take them long to realize that the irreconcilable contradictions between the exploiters and the exploited persist and that the majority of the world is against them.

The BRICS summit, which was held in Johannesburg on August 22-24, came together for all oppressed nations with the aim of determining the course of the world after the US-centered liberal order. It was decided that Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ethiopia will officially become BRICS members from the beginning of next year, sending a strong message to Washington. Thus, a period has entered in which the interests of the developing countries of the world will be better brought to the world agenda and the struggle against imperialism will be strengthened.

BRICS overtake G7

It seems that BRICS will provide new solutions to the problem of "accumulation of private and public debts", which Russian President Putin emphasized at the beginning of his video message to the Summit. Putin also emphasized "unilateral sanctions that violate international law" and reassured confidence by talking about the economic superiority of the 5 BRICS founding countries over the US-based G7 with empirical data. By the way, Russia will assume the BRICS presidency next year. Russia's slogan for the first summit of the expanded BRICS+, expected to be held in Kazan in October 2024, is expected to be "Strengthening Multilateralism for Global Development and Security Justice".

Building the financial infrastructure for a multi-polar order

One of the unofficial agenda items of the summit was "de-dollarization". Although some Western experts said after the summit that this was "unsustainable", the process of de-dollarization has already begun. Although the BRICS Summit in South Africa did not officially include a "reserve currency" agenda, there was a will to increase trade in local currencies.

In 2015, BRICS established the "New Development Bank" to counter US-dominated financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF. The bank already loans in the Chinese renminbi, and after the summit it was announced that the national currencies of South Africa and Brazil would be added to this. The bank also aims to announce the first Indian rupee bond by October (note that India recently signed a trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates to trade in national currencies instead of US dollars).

Lifeline to Türkiye and all developing world

At a time when international developments have become almost entropic, BRICS is now on the verge of a new era in the 21st century with 6 new developing countries. Moreover, most of the new countries are from West Asia and are energy giants. In this way, we can say that BRICS has taken an advantageous position in the geopolitical rupture in terms of pricing energy products and managing the responsibilities and vulnerabilities of countries in terms of the cost of oil. The fact that more than 40 countries have joined the membership queue shows that the developing world, uncomfortable with the liberal world order, is more firmly committed to real alternatives.

In the last 5 years, Türkiye and the developing world countries have been increasingly facing foreign exchange shortages amid major geopolitical transformations such as the pandemic and the Ukraine issue. The main problem, of course, is that these countries have been detached from their national production and their national currencies have been constantly devalued in the last 50 years within the international imperialist division of labor based on neoliberalism. The oppressed countries of the world, looking for an alternative to the Paris Club, needing more loans from the New Development Bank. But even more important is the need for a new order that does not achieve its development by plundering other countries, but by making common, equal, just, people-centered and non-interference in each other's internal affairs as the basic principle of its foreign policy. This is what BRICS offers to the world.

The author is president of the Turkish-Chinese Belt and Road Institute. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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