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BRICS: Illusion of an Alternative to US Dominance

Despite making up 40% of the world's population and a quarter of its economy, the BRICS have found it difficult to have a significant impact on the global scene since their inception in 2010. Its greatest accomplishment was the founding of the New Development Bank, which had its main office in Shanghai and aspired to lend money to developing nations.

These loans were, however, handled within the parameters of World Bank and IMF rules, preventing a disruption of the current global financial order. In essence, the BRICS's actions seemed to support the idea that it is preferable to cooperate with the system as opposed to challenging it.

Due to the finance ministers of the BRICS countries' unwillingness to support this idea, the desire to challenge the US dollar's dominance in international trade has mostly remained theoretical. Further restricting the likelihood of a real alternative forming from inside the BRICS are member nations like Brazil, India, and South Africa, who have strong relations with traditional international financial institutions and major powers.

The varied makeup of BRICS, which consists of capitalist-imperialist and sub-imperialist states, further complicates issues. Despite being part of BRICS, countries like Brazil and South Africa have a history of taking advantage of their local economies, casting doubt on the group's progressive credentials.

Leadership from individuals like India's Narendra Modi and Brazil's Jair Bolsinaro, both of whom are known for their contentious policies and behaviours, raises questions.

There is also the discussion of whether to create a BRICS+ bloc by enlarging the BRICS group. The priority seems to be on economic factors rather than a common radical or socialist objective. Potential allies and former rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran serve as a reminder of the alliance's preference for pragmatism over ideological unity.

Even when faced with international issues, like Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis, BRICS showed a lack of consensus-building skills. The group's evasive reaction highlighted the inherent obstacles of resolving geopolitical conflicts among countries with various worldviews. While some BRICS leaders express anti-imperialist views, their behaviour frequently contradicts what they say.

The idea of a socialist-leaning or "progressive" BRICS remains untenable in the face of these complicated circumstances. The alliance can't be a transformational force because of its ingrained capitalist structure and lack of agreement on important issues.

This deviation from Marxism's historical teachings highlights the need for organised, independent working-class movements to bring about lasting change as opposed to trying to alter a system that is intrinsically built to favour elite interests.


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