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BRICS Summit & The West

BRICS Summit 2014

BRICS Development Bank & Implications For The Western World

August 2014 / International Affairs / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz. The sixth annual BRICS Summit was held in Fortaleza, Brazil beginning July 14 and ending July 16. BRICS is an international group comprised of five of the largest developing countries in the world. The name of the group includes the first letter of each nation's name and includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

This year South Africa was added as an offical member. South Africa had attended prior sessions as a special guest. This year Argentina was invited as a special guest.

BRICS Development Bank Created With $100 Billion

The biggest achievement of the summit was the creation of the BRICS Development Bank which was to be headquartered in Shanghai, China. This is a significant step for China becoming the banker to the developing world. Financing developing nation's growth is an effort that the Chinese have been working on for over a decade and hence this is another step in that direction. The BRICS Development Bank will start with $100 billion, with an additional $100 billion in a reserve currency pool.

The BRICS Development Bank is considered a rival to the United Nations administered World Bank which is based in Washington, D.C. as well as to the International Monetary Fund [IMF] which is also based in Washington, D.C. The BRICS nations have been frustrated in their calls for reforms of what appear to be a half century old world view.

Click here to view our report on the BRICS Summit & BRICS Development Bank.

BRICS Summit 2014

Implications For The Western World

August 2014 / International Affairs / Queens Buzz. Continued.

BRICS Members Represent 20% Of The Global Economy

The BRICS member countries have the second [China], seventh [Brazil], eighth [Russia], tenth [India] and 29th [South Africa] largest economies in the world. Together they represent about 20% or $15 trillion of the world's economy - $8.4 trillion [China], $2.2 trillion [Brazil], $2.0 trillion [Russia], $1.9 trillion [India] and $.4 trillion [South Africa].

In 2013 the global economy grew about 2.7%. The BRICS nations, lead by China, generally appear to be growing faster than the rest of the world. China grew about 8%, Brazil about 3%, India about 5%, Russia about 1% and South Africa about 2%.

BRICS Members Represent 42% Of The Global Populace

These countries also represent about 42% or 3.1 billion of the world's 7.4 billion people population - China [#1 with 1.4 billion people], India [#2 with 1.3 billion people], Brazil [#5 with 200 million people], Russia [#9 with 146 million], and South Africa [#24 with 54 million people].

In 2013 the world population grew by about 1%. The BRICS nations appear to be about on trend with the rest of the world, which given they represent over 40% of it, should come as no surprise. Brazil's population grew .9%, China's .5%, India's 1.2%, Russia .2% and South Africa 1.3%. Historically there has been an inverse relationship between economic development and population growth rates. This means more developed nations have slower population growth rates and less developed nations have higher population growth rates.

The raw numbers were provided by Wikipedia and the growth rates provided by the World Bank.

Global Economics & Politics Steadily Changing - Western Foreign Policies Reflect Entrenched Interests

Much has changed since the end of the Cold War in 1991. China, Russia, India and Brazil have all come into their own as modern superpowers. All of these nations have sophisticated technologies and economies, but not without significant portions of the population that remain locked in poverty. But all of that has been changing.

Meanwhile, the United States, which was the only standing economic superpower in the wake of WWII, has participated in administering its own decline, as large multi-national companies began trading high paying manufacturing jobs for low cost imported goods. The imports were frequently financed on credit - some of which has been provided by the emerging nations. Most of those goods and some of the loans have come from the developing nations - most notably China - but also from other Asian and Latin American nations.

American Policy, The Middle East & Oil

During the Bush years American foreign policy was almost entirely devoted to securing American oil interests in the Middle East. During the Obama years, the American Administration has been focused on addressing domestic issues including stabilizing a near financial melt down in 2008 - 2009, followed by a soft economy / slow employment growth, and most recently the rollout of a national healthcare plan.

Nonetheless, the American world view continues to be preoccupied with the Middle East and oil, while the rest of the world is changing at a rapid rate. The Western World should take note of the emerging instituations and bilaterial relationships being established by the emerging tier of BRICS nations.

Establishment Of BRICS Summit, BRICS Development Bank & Evolving Bilateral Ties

In 2008 the BRIC nations held their first summit in Brazil. This gathering was one of the first exclusive public gatherings of these nations as a bloc. Since then these nations have continued to evolve their diplomatic and economic ties, without the aid or even involvement of the developed western world.

At the 2014 BRICS Summit the group added South Africa as a member and invited Argentina in what appears to be a membership recruitment / screening process. They also created the BRICS Development Bank as reported above.

The most recent example of growing relations was in a visit by the Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Tuesday. This was considered a possible prelude to a higher level conversation between the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chinese President about settling the border disputes between the two nations.

Western & American Foreign Policies Needs Major Upgrades

The last century may have been dominated by the G8 nations, but the century in which we live likely will not be. American Foreign policy needs to modifed to adapt to the changing world - not just the oil politics of the Middle East. American leaders need to begin to expand their focus from a Middle Eastern centric foreign policy, involving oil and military dominance; to a larger view of the world that includes establishing strong diplomatic and economic ties with the BRICS nations and transitioning from nearly complete reliance on depleting quantities of fossil fuels, to more rapid development of ecological energy sources such as solar, wind, thermal and hydro.

America began losing touch with the changing global realities during the Bush years, and American foreign policy has taken a back seat during the Obama years. The next American president needs to come to office with a new foreign policy vision - one that encompasses a more inclusive view of the developing world and one that encompasses a transition to environmentally and human friendly energy sources.

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