China's BRICS front group expands, thanks to Joe Biden
China is in the catbird seat these days.
Six nations, out of a much larger pool of applicants, have been accepted into its favored bloc, the BRICS.
According to the Associated Press:
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Iran and Saudi Arabia were among six countries invited Thursday to join the BRICS bloc of developing economies in a move that showed signs of strengthening a China-Russia coalition as tensions with the West spiral higher.
The United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Egypt and Ethiopia were also set to enter BRICS from Jan. 1, 2024, joining current members Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to make an 11-nation bloc.
The announcement came after two days of talks at a summit in Johannesburg involving Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Russian President Vladimir Putin participated in the discussions virtually after his travel to the summit was complicated by an International Criminal Court arrest warrant issued against him over the war in Ukraine.
So there's Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran. What an alliance.
So instead of striving for democracy and prosperity, and perhaps hoping to be let into the G-7 or the G-20, or NATO, or the IMF, or the World Bank, or any of the other global institutions where the U.S. has an outsized say, or focusing on trade with the U.S. and its once-almighty dollar, six nations have cast their lot with the China-led BRICS, the bloc composed of China, Russia, Brazil and India, plus much smaller South Africa which was added later.
Who needs democracy and all its human-rights activist scolds and lawyers constantly finding fault, when China holds out an alliance where anything goes? After all, China is not exactly anyone's idea of an example of a human rights paragon or a democracy. Got a dispute with your neighbor? Go ahead and invade them -- China and Russia already do or will. Big government and might-makes-right is the name of the game with this group.
And while there's lots of pretty talk about this being alliance equals, there's no such thing, given human nature. All wolf packs pick a leader, and that's the same with all human groupings. China's the boss here and the Financial Times laid it out that they were:
South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa was the official host of the Brics summit this week that agreed to more than double the membership of the emerging-markets bloc, but the true VIP was his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
The Chinese president was given special treatment from the minute he arrived ahead of the other leaders for a state visit that saw him inducted into the ‘Order of South Africa’, a recently created honour.
I believe this is a nonsubscription article and it must be read to be believed. Not only did Xi get a fancy honor from the South Africans, nobody else did. He got greeted special by South Africa's leader at the airport, the rest had to make do with deputy prime ministers. They sure did seem to want to suck up to Xi.
The Chinese ostentatiously carted in an entire hotel's worth of stuff for Xi's visit, the beds, the blankets, the curtains, the entire setup. China provided the entire fleet of cars to ferry the dignitaries around the summit showing everyone just how special he was.
The FT observed that the whole idea of expansion came under China's chairmanship, meaning, it was China's idea to create this big counteralliance to the U.S. to cut it down a peg or two. They don't really stand for anything other than opposing the U.S.
Now, odds are, this group is overhyped and many of these formerly close nations will de facto slip back into the fold of the U.S. when reality bites.
Argentina, for one, if it elects frontrunner Javier Milei, who seeks to dollarize his country, reportedly wants nothing to do with this bloc, and will probably yank membership.
Indonesia, which is a truly large country with a very large economy and a rising GDP and thus, a perfect candidate for BRICS, didn't seem to want to get involved at this point, they've opted for wait and see.
But Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE going over to this bloc is sad stuff, given that it need never have happened -- they were solid allies of the U.S. until Joe Biden came along and insulted and alienated them.
Worse still, he showed them what a U.S. military alliance is worth -- by abandoning our allies in Afghanistan, not just the domestic Afghans, but even their European allies who had been bullied into it. Who'd trust an ally like that? A Republican president might change that but with election fraud the name of the game here, who knows if that will happen? The horse may be out of the barn now.
Ethiopia has been ignored for too long -- it's a huge country with a growing population and a bright future and one can understand why they'd go for this opportunity.
Iran looks for any opportunity to cause trouble, so yeah, they sound just right for a China-Russia organization and their entry changes nothing.
China succeeded very well with its One Belt One Road initiative with underdeveloped countries, putting them on its string and getting them into debt. Now it's courting the mostly self-sufficient larger developing economies to get them on its string, too. China's economy is in trouble, so they may not be able to use that as an alliance tool as they normally would. But surprise, surprise, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have lots of money and could be used for the investment bank they'd like to set up to challenged the U.S. and its dollar with. They are openly speaking of toppling the dollar as a means of global trade and if that happens, we will be in a world of trouble.
But whether they can do it is still up in the air. Their own economy is falling. Brazil or India certainly aren't going to pick up the slack.
Nobody in the long run is going to like taking orders from China and they are heavy-handed.
Things tend to not pan out the way they are hyped.
And let's be honest here -- the really desperate nation among these 11 is Argentina and the only thing it wants to do right now to fix itself is adopt the U.S. dollar. They have tried literally everything else, and yeah, they already know the dollar will work. They've been keeping them under their mattresses for years.
And which way do the world's migrants flow? Russia gets a lot of them based on conditions being worse from the incoming countries, but the others do not. The U.S. is where people still strive to go to, and Joe Biden's open borders, bad as it is for the U.S., does demonstrate that.
This is obviously a China show intended to prop up bad and non-democratic governments around the world through an alliance of sorts to challenge the U.S. Already we have seen a lot of signs of this, with India not supporting Ukraine against Russia, this same India which has been the worlde leader in the non-aligned movement centered around non-interference in the foreign affairs of other countries. Yeah, sure thing, India. The others have been oddly supportive of Russia, too.
That leaves the U.S. with egg all over its face. That's Joe Biden's doing. A Republican president will have a heck of a lot of cleanup to do after this, mending fences and trying to get these nations back into our trade and military alliances. Right now, they don't see anything to gain from them.
Image: GDJ on Pixabay, via Creazilla // public domain