With the end of World War II, the eras of conflicting multipolarities over colonial supremacy ended in the traditional form, and the occupation took on a more elegant appearance represented in economic domination, in an attempt to avoid falling into the bottomless well of a third world war.
Political domination developed into two global blocs, namely the Soviet Union in the east as the body of the communist economy, and as a destination for the politically marginalised and the war-defeated on the one hand, and the US, followed by the Old Continent, Europe, as the head of the capitalist economy in the west on the other hand. To complete the manifestations of control, the Eastern Bloc established the Warsaw military pact to confront the Western NATO.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the communist dream collapsed, and the Warsaw Pact collapsed with it, while the American pole and its European ally got to have the entire cake. Communism did not die and tried to rise through small blocs that were able to achieve some economic gains, but they did not reach the level of being able to compete with the capitalist entity that did not, does not, and will not allow the expansion of its opponent’s victories.
Gradually, China took steps and changed its political structure somewhat until it was able to compete with the major capitalist countries in its markets and colonies in the Middle East and Africa. India did the same until they both became a weight that Western capital viewed with an eagle’s eye.
In 2001, British economist Jim O’Neill, director of Goldman Sachs at the time, coined the term “BRIC” as an abbreviated name for the countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, referring to their growing economic weight as rising powers. “BRIC” was formed in 2006 and founded in 2009, and South Africa joined in 2011, making its new name “BRICS”.
The five countries are members of the G20, but they maintain their annual formal meetings. Observers believe that the importance of BRICS comes from the expansion of its total area, the large increase in the number of residents and consumers, its richness in natural resources and the rapid increase in national income.
I consider the emergence of BRICS as an attempt by the mutated communism to dig a tunnel under the strong mountain of capitalism, as it seeks to move towards a multi-polar world and intends to play a major role in organising international relations. It has created its political link based on their rejection of Western domination over the economy and global politics.
BRICS began to establish its own financial institutions, which it is attempting to have as an alternative to elements of the current international system, as it is unable to increase its influence within its institutions. Therefore, it established the New Development Bank in Shanghai, the economic capital of China, in 2014 as counterparts to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).BRICS is trying to compete with the European Union, the G20 and the G7, but some drawbacks to the structure of the new bloc may not get it where it wants to be.
BRICS is not an official organisation subject to international law, its annual summits are consultative meetings and it is difficult for its member states to represent a joint market for free trade or to forge a unified currency for it.
The BRICS countries are distributed on four continents and are a distinct mixture of different civilisations that lack historical, traditional, cultural, or ideological cohesion and suffer from differences in social, legal and political systems, the lack of similarity of the priorities of their economic policies, the conflicts between some of their countries, and the deterioration of economic and social conditions for others.
BRICS agreed to include six new countries that align with it politically at the beginning of 2024, namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia and Iran, which will change the name of the group to BRICS Plus.
Egypt’s acceptance into BRICS coincided with the acceptance of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the founders of the Egyptian regime, and in line with Russia’s oversight on maintaining its current leadership. The Russian Ambassador in Cairo, Georgiy Borisenko, revealed that Russia supported Egypt’s request to join the group.
The Egyptian media expressed the Egyptian ruling establishment’s celebration of the event, its abundant gratitude and its great aspirations to reach magical solutions to Egypt’s crises. I believe that what the Egyptian media is doing is an attempt to save face globally due to the escalating failure of policies, and locally in order to promote the current president because the date of the presidential elections, with predetermined results, is approaching.
All the agreements that are reached globally between strong countries and others that are helpless fundamentally rely on the size of the concessions that the weak party will make and the amount of benefits that the strong will reap. A quick look at Egypt’s exhausted economy easily shows us that BRICS will take more from it than it will give, as the different world economic systems continue to keep Egypt between life and death.
So, what are the reasons for Egypt’s inclusion into BRICS? First, Egypt is considered the sole mouth of the Maritime Silk Road, which represents a major target for China to expand transport traffic by land and sea. Secondly, the Egyptian regime is the military in the region that stands as a stumbling block in the face of the expansion of the Western capitalist system. Third, the Egyptian regime is the promoter of BRICS countries’ policies in the region. Fourth, Egypt has a huge share of consumers of non-good commodities. Fifth, Egypt is distinguished as the entrance to North Africa, just as Ethiopia is the key to its middle, and South Africa is controlling the bottom. Hence, BRICS will expand into Africa and Asia and some countries of the European and South American continents.
This is ambitious planning on the part of the BRICS founders, but will it continue?
Let’s watch and see.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.