The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa concluded a summit that was held in China on April 14, 2011 in what has come to be a new club known as BRICS. The countries have announced a Sanya Declaration and have agreed to co-operate on many economic and cultural activities. Among other things, there has also been the talk of establishing a common trading currency and also of facilitating trade outside the U. S. dollar.
There has been significant excitement in many sections of business houses and analysts in the member countries, even though many differences sit persist between some of the members. There has also been some alarm in certain think tanks in the USA who have been watching these events with some discomfort.
What lies at the heart of the love affair between these countries is that the ruling circles in each of them are infatuated by delusional dreams of greatness, and of themselves arriving as big power players on the world stage, and identify their ambitions as those of their home countries. Admittedly China has already been a Big Power now for several decades and is known for its intransigence and stubbornness when it comes to dealing with other powers, while Russia is now emerging from the embers of the collapsed Soviet empire and is nurturing dreams of reemerging as a Superpower that it once was. India for its part has been scheming for decades now to find a place for itself under the sun, but is persistently dogged by its contradictions with China and Pakistan. The picture is less complicated for Brazil which sees itself as the Latin American superpower, and South Africa is spoken of as the undisputed leader of Africa.
Behind all this romanticism lies the bitter truth that in each of these countries, the same ruling circles run roughshod on the rights of all their workers, tillers and the conditions of impoverishment and destitution resulting from their rule are there for everyone to see. So when the ruling circles in these countries begin to speak of rising as leaders in their (expanding) spheres of influence, the peoples in the countries and in their neighbourhoods had better set alarm bells ringing.
The BRICS club has come into being at a time when these ruling circles have sensed a great opportunity to further their aims: the established imperial powers such as the USA and the European Union countries and Japan continue to find their economies in a state of permanent and deepening crises. Furthermore, the USA and some of the members of the European Union find themselves embroiled in unpopular wars and forces of various hues have denounced their imperial activities and at a time when their prestige is at a new low across the length and breadth of the world. In this background, the BRICS countries on the one hand have found encouragement from the flight of capital into their economies as the rates of return promise to be significantly higher than in the advanced economies, while on the other their prestige has not suffered blows like that of the USA, the UK and France to name a couple of examples. The US dollar continues to be dogged by weakness with no end appearing in sight and is also a symbol of the imperialist strangulation of the world; hence the talk among the BRICS members of finding a common trading currency, all of which they hope will assist them in making a headway.
Given the scenarios above, the peoples of the BRICS countries and elsewhere must realize that history has taught us that embarking on the path of superpower-dom and imperial dreams has brought nothing but disaster to the peoples the world over. The lessons of the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries are that these will sooner or later lead to devastating wars. Before it is too late the peoples must wake up from their stupor and organize themselves to steer clear of the path of destruction, and not be swayed by any illusions that there can be a bloc of less vicious imperialism that the type the world is accustomed to.
by B. Ananthanarayan