In Brazil, will BRIC summit unify or reinforce their rifts?
While the BRICs are four emerging economic powerhouses (Brazil, Russia, India, China), post-financial crisis differences are creating problems, says some analysts. Will today's summit mend those rifts or widen them?
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In that sense, one of the most important outcomes of the meeting could be how to create a united front at the upcoming G20 meeting in Canada, Ferracioli says. “If they can get together and establish a common proposal to be presented at international forums, they will be much more important than they would be individually,” he says. “Brazil has positions, India has positions, China has positions,” he says. “Maybe there are 30 points and they have 20 in common and if they can take them forward and force debate on them - leaving the diverging points aside - they will consider that a success.”Skip to next paragraph
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Emerging strains with Russia
But how long is success likely to be sustained, especially under strains? The economic crisis has forced them to focus on their own domestic problems. Each is contending with rising inflation, particularly Russia. “The differences are becoming more visible again,” says Mr. Stuenkel. “I don’t think they are all even emerging, Russia is not emerging and China can’t be regarded as an unprivileged nation. There are commonalities between China, India, and Brazil in that they are all growing quickly. But Russia faces incredible challenges.”
Another main obstacle is Brazil’s desire to take a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. It’s been trying to shore up support but the Chinese are not interested in changing the status quo. “That might not be in China’s interests. These topics need to be addressed more deeply. What they will want to do is sit down and debate them,” says Charles Pennaforte, the director general of the Center for Studies on Geopolitics and Foreign Affairs in Rio de Janeiro, and author of the book “China, 21st Century Giant.”
What BRIC means at home for each nation differs too.
What Brazil wants?
Brazil, for example, probably seeks to deepen its relationship with BRIC partners, says Michael Shifter, the president of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington. “That reflects their vision of themselves as a global player. But there is a lot of pressure for them to focus a lot more on South America, and ensure there is stability and cooperation in the Western hemisphere,” Mr. Shifter says. “The BRIC meeting highlights the challenge of how to mange the new global role that I think it relishes, but at the same time exercise responsibility closer to home where there is lots of turbulence. … There is a risk of them stretching themselves too thin.”
And some just dismiss the concept outright. Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, says that it’s useful inasmuch as developing country leaders can gather together and exchange views, thereby raising their own profiles in a sense. “But my personal view is that whole BRIC formulation is artificial,” he says. “There are four countries that have nothing in common.”