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BRICS can help promote a fairer world order

By Maya Majueran | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-01-09 07:33


BRICS is focused on building a fairer world order for the Global South. The United States and its Western allies have long dominated the world order, imposing their own values and policies on the rest of the world in the name of promoting "democracy" and "defending" human rights while smearing countries whose political systems are different from theirs. Worse, they have been bullying some emerging market and developing economies, forcing them to take sides in disputes with countries that don't adhere to the Western-centric ideology and policies.

There is no justification for killing innocent civilians, whether by Hamas or Israeli forces. Both Hamas and Israeli forces should be condemned for their actions. However, the Global South has been witness to the US' double standard, as seen in its support for Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip despite pressuring the Global South earlier to take sides and condemn Russia for its actions in Ukraine.

The US even vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Thirteen Security Council members voted in favour of a brief draft resolution put forward by the United Arab Emirates, while the United Kingdom abstained. Clearly, war is a business for some Western countries which spend hundreds of billions of dollars to advance their interests both at home and abroad.

In contrast, China, through its Global Security Initiative, has taken multiple steps to fulfil its commitment to global peace and sustainable development. It is due to the arduous efforts of China that Iran and Saudi Arabia re-established diplomatic ties on March 10, 2023, seven years after severing ties.

The Global South wants to improve the existing world order because it is unfair and Western-centric. With the reform of the world order high on its agenda, the BRICS member states, which now comprise the five original BRICS members (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and five new members (Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE). At the last BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August 2023, the original BRICS leaders admitted six new members — effective from Jan 1, 2024 — but Argentina recently announced it would not join BRICS now.

The BRICS member states together accounted for more than 40 percent of the global population and over 25 percent of global GDP. With five new members, BRICS will further counterbalance the G7's global influence as its share of global GDP will increase to 36 percent while it will account for nearly half of the world's population.

With more than 30 economies ready to deepen relations with the grouping, BRICS is committed to strengthening the Global South coalition as a collective force and upholding multipolarism in order to help establish a world order that is not dominated by the US and its allies.

The inclusion of five new members will add to BRICS' weight, extend its global influence and strengthen trade ties with a wide range of emerging market and developing economies by establishing a fair payment system which cannot be exploited by the US and its Western allies.

The weaponization of the US dollar has helped Washington maintain its global economic and geopolitical supremacy. The US has imposed economic sanctions on nearly 40 countries, including Cuba, Russia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran and Venezuela, apart from levying sanctions, punitive tariffs and export controls measures on China, affecting nearly half of the world's population and causing untold hardships to ordinary people in those countries, thus hampering their economic growth. These are the prime reasons why many emerging market economies have been calling for global trade to be conducted in currencies other than the dollar.

If BRICS' plan to adopt a common currency to conduct global trade is successful, it will have a huge impact on the US dollar as a default international currency, because the 10 member states of BRICS account for 36 percent of global GDP. In fact, a common BRICS currency could be a game-changer; it could break the dollar's global hegemony and make it easy for emerging economies to conduct free trade in currencies other than the dollar.

Whether the US and its Western allies like it or not, the world order is changing, and the Global South is emerging as a key player in international relations. So the US and its Western allies should heed the Global South's concerns and help build a global governance system and financial architecture which benefits all.

The author is a director of BRISL, an independent and pioneering Sri Lankan-led organization, with strong expertise in BRI advice and support.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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