Posted by: williamjsykes | December 31, 2008

The Rise of BRIC Nations and How This Will Reshape World’s Geopolitics in a Near Future – And Why the United States Must Care

This essay is essentially an expansion of a final project I did for a class I took in a college here in the United States. Everyone in the United States -amongst those who bother to be concerned about his country’s stature in a near future- talks about the rise of European Union or People’s Republic of China, whereby people hardly are aware of the rise of a new diplomatic paradigm amongst the nations the Goldman-Sachs institution dubbed as BRIC- Brazil, Russia, India and China. On the center of such transformation was Putin’s Russia, whose influence within these nations is surprisingly high due to its abundant possession of petroleum -arguably the world’s most talked-about raw material in recent years. Russia’s transition from its constant attempt to become a member of a small clique of the western world to its current form of diplomacy, I observe, was at least in part accelerated by the western intent not to include Russia in its group as shown in the ongoing expansion of NATO* and the European Union. With this in regard, I’d like to address in this essay how these nations have formed an impressive degree of mutual collaboration within a short period of time -the BRIC thesis came out in 2003- and how an alliance of these nations would become a formidable world power in not a distant future and thus become a major counterpart against the current dominance of the United States in the contemporary global geopolitics- presumably more so than the rather fluctuating European Union.

*NATO began as an alliance of non-Communist Nations in Europe and North America in an attempt to contain the communist military behind the Iron Curtain. As of 2008 –about two decades after the end of the Cold War– the NATO includes a greater amount of member states and military power than ever.

Note: This essay could be subject to an ongoing modification.

The Rise of BRIC Nations and How This Will Reshape World’s Geopolitics in a Near Future – And Why the United States Must Care

For almost half a century following the aftermath of the World War II, the global hegemony was divided between two factions: one was the “free world” led by the United States and the British Empire,[i] the western wing of the victorious Allied Powers, while the other being the Communist Bloc spearheaded by the Soviet Union and Communist China. The world order as it was known during the Cold War era, however, went through a massive amount of changes after the breakdown of the Communist Bloc and ultimately the Soviet Union that occurred between 1989 and 1991. The Russian Federation, a non-communist reincarnation of the RSFSR within the Soviet Union, assumed the role as a major world power from its Bolshevik counterpart. For much part of the 1990s, the newly-born Russian Federation attempted to recreate its image as a legitimate member of the western world. Some of such attempts proved successful to an extent, as seen in the Russian entry in the Group of Seven (now G8), which was initially meant to be a forum of influential nations within the western world.

Furthermore, many Russian politicians started pointing that while Russia seemed to pioneer a more constructive relationship with the west through its participation in the G8, the western world in reality put effort to mount a greater geopolitical pressure to Russia, as seen in the entry of former Communist Bloc nations (e.g. Poland, Czech Republic, and the Baltic States to name a few) into NATO, a military alliance that was designed as the western counterpart to the Warsaw Pact, which went defunct for nearly two decades. To counter such pressures, Russia has aligned with the People’s Republic of China, another non-western member of the United Nations’ Security Council. At the same time, Russia’s economic dependence towards the western world with its burgeoning oil industry could be alleviated through realignment with other emerging economies across the world, as vividly seen in a recent Goldman-Sachs thesis known as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and the PRC). In this essay, indeed, I would like to present the course of Russia’s disillusion from its involvement in G8 and an attempt to assimilate in the western world in general -that resulted in the rise of Putin and current “Strong Russia” agenda, and how this could result in a diplomatic realignment as predicted by Goldman-Sachs’ BRIC thesis, which projected that a mutual collaboration between these states will be “inevitable” in not a distant future.

Russia’s pro-western initiatives practically began with Yeltsin’s takeover of power in 1991. Many speculated that such cooperation with the west was necessary, as Russia, formerly the largest command economy in the world, was now obliged to transform itself into a free market economy in order to survive. While the reform itself proved to be a fiasco, Yeltsin attempted to implement yet another policy that would strengthen the ties between the western world and the Russian Federation, namely the Russian membership in the G8, then known as the Group of Seven. The G7, as mentioned earlier, was initially created as an international forum between the world’s major industrial democratic polities. Henceforth, it was viewed by many –amongst both western and Russian politicians– that such a transition would accelerate the Russian effort to integrate itself into the western world, whereas the alliance of established western industrial powers will obtain an undisputable hegemony over the world following the collapse of the Communist Bloc. Nonetheless, the failure of Yeltsin’s economic policies that was largely designed by western economists forced many to reconsider whether the aftermath of such transition would be positive for Russia’s future. Further, the conflict of interest between Russia and the western world with regards to many geopolitical issues surrounding the globe also played a major role in making Russian political leaders to turn skeptical of a further collaboration with the west. Another major concern was Russia’s political system, which many westerners view as somewhat quasi-democratic or not democratic at all. While the western world has been known for its alignment with some of the world’s most loathed dictators in necessary cases, this clearly is an obstacle for Russia and the west to engage in a respectable degree of mutual collaboration. These factors, I observe, are the main causes of the recent split between Russia and the western world as seen in the Putin years, as I will clearly show during the course of this paper.

Before addressing this point, however, I intend to briefly assess the state of the Russian Federation in the years where there was a continuum of endeavor in favor of the westernization of the Russian state. This, I observe, would consolidate our understanding of Russia’s eventual skepticism on cooperation with the western world, thereby offering a better explanation regarding why a diplomatic realignment as projected by the BRIC thesis could occur in a near future.

In the initial stage of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the advent of the Russian Federation, the west generally believed that a rapid transition towards free market economy would work for Russia, as it did –or seemed to– work in many former members of the Communist Bloc, including Poland and Czech Republic. Behind this was the reality of western politics at the time, which hailed the kind of ideology embraced by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher as a viable alternative to a form of social democracy that lasted for decades in these countries, more popularly known as the Postwar Consensus. It did not, however, fare so well in Russia for a number of reasons. For the first if not foremost reason, we could cite the hasty implementation of neoliberal-oriented “Shock Therapy” into the Russian economic structure. Throughout the course of modern history, it became apparent that the implantation of western political or economic structure without adequate preparation beforehand could result in an utter catastrophe in regard to both the development of the nation itself and the well-being of its citizens, as perhaps most vividly seen in a vast array of African states that became independent in the latter half of the 20th Century. Despite proving itself to be a formidable political and economic superpower during the Soviet era, Russia was extremely prone to such drawbacks from rapid westernization, as proved in the economic disaster of that happened through the grim decade of 1990s. Another major bottleneck was a division of labor within the former Soviet Union that became null and void since the breakdown of the Bolshevik dominion in 1991. This proved to be a disaster to not only minor former Soviet Republics, but to many regions in the Russian Federation, as the rapid privatization of such assets left the collapse of the country’s vast working class populace virtually unchecked. This, in turn, resulted in the breakdown of the potential consumer market in Russia’s newly operated market economy, which –with the ever-growing effect of hyperinflation caused by Yeltsin’s rather clumsy handling on price control– plunged Russia into an unprecedented economic depression that plagued the Yeltsin Administration till its very end.

Despite such setbacks, Russia remained as a respectable world power throughout the 1990s, perhaps owing to its vast nuclear arsenal from the Soviet era bolstered by its status as one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Thus, there was a series of attempts to groom Russia into the prestigious Group of Seven throughout the 1990s, most notably by the United States President Bill Clinton. The Russian Federation became an official member of the G8 in 1997, which –to an extent– seemed to prove that Russia was now a member of an exclusive group of major western industrial powerhouses. For the western world, Russia’s entry into the G8 meant the expansion of the sphere of influence of the market economy. Some even speculated that the inclusion of Russia into such an exclusive group would lead to the emergence of the United States as a sole superpower across the globe, as no other member of the nation did not seem to possess any chance to eclipse the United States, which was hailed as the leader of the “free world” for a long period of time, in its military and economic powers.[ii] The age of reconciliation between Russia and the western world fell short, however, for several reasons. These reasons are what I intend to present in the latter part of this essay.

Behind the Russia’s admittance to the G8, there was a rather naïve assumption on the western part that Yeltsin and the Russian Federation was a democratic successor of the oppressive Soviet regime, which was, of course, quite distant from reality. On the other side of the coin, Russia and its leaders had intended to reassert Russia’s geopolitical influence in the Soviet era once domestic affairs became stabilized. Russia also had to be cautious towards the growing insurgency within its own borders following the independence of various ethnic groups after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as vividly seen in the Chechnya crisis that nearly annihilated Yeltsin’s image as a democratic liberator in the eyes of the western populace. The Russian Federation’s skeptical attitude towards the Chechen independence and a subsequent war, though condemned by the west, is somewhat understandable from Russian standpoint, as a lax reaction towards such movement may have resulted in a series of violent uprising across the country that could have transformed this minor disorder into a full-scale chaos. Conversely, the western criticism of Russia’s decision to wage a war against Chechnya –which, from a Russian perspective, could be seen as a mere act to stabilize the already fluctuating nation– made many Russians question its alignment with the west, as the western world now seemed to be a threat to Russia’s domestic tranquility, not a reliable partner for mutual coexistence and prosperity.

Another major factor that brought many Russian politicians into the brink was the ongoing expansion of the NATO, beginning in 1997 when the NATO invited Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland[iii]. A notable fact besides an expansion itself is that these nations –along with most if not all of the subsequent new members of the NATO– were formerly under the Soviet sphere of influence, whereby these nations aligning themselves with the western powers could also pose a direct threat to Russia’s status as a major player in the world politics. During the course of such events, a horde of formerly pro-western Russian politicians became increasingly skeptical of their views, with two of whom being the current President Vladimir Putin and the President-elect Dmitry Medvenev. With this in regard, one could as well argue that Putin’s reconstruction of a military state in Russia was based upon fear and uncertainty on the part of the Russian populace regarding Russia’s stature as a global world power in the 21st Century, a concern Putin and his proteges in the Duma did manage to address following their rise to power about a decade ago.

It shall be noted that a sign which showed that Yeltsin was hardly a liberal democrat could be seen as early as 1993, when he dissolved the democratically-elected Parliament to issue what is now known as the Constitution of 1993, which significantly extended the rights of a president, including the rights to dissolve the Parliament –now known as the State Duma– if necessary. Nonetheless, many believed that as Russia still preserved some aspects of democracy and is a newly-born nation, as seen in the Presidential Election of 1996, where Yeltsin once again proved himself as a somewhat legitimate democratic leader through his victory in the election. One could also observe that perhaps some of the western leaders feared a potential for a Communist thermidor if there was not any support towards Yeltsin, as the most formidable opponent of Yeltsin at the time was the Communist Party of the Russian Federation led by Gennady Zyuganov. Further, the inclusion of Russia in what was formerly seen as a consortium exclusively within the western world have arguably increased the group’s legitimacy as a group of the world’s major economic and political powers, as one Russian journalist stated in a recent source.[iv] Even this journalist, however, agrees on a fact that there has been a series of disagreements between Russia and practically the rest of the G8 regarding many if not most geopolitical issues across the world. That includes the deployment of strategic missiles in former Communist Bloc states –of which are now members of the NATO– as clearly seen in the recent Bush-Putin summit in Sochi, and Russia’s continuing alignment with People’s Republic of China –currently its most reliable ally–[v] in the United Nations’ Security Council.

In the meantime, the mutual trust between the west and the Russian Federation further deteriorated during the Kosovo War of 1999. The conflict in Kosovo erupted from an internal disorder within the former Yugoslavia that many speculated was bound to happen at some point following the collapse of the Communist Bloc. From the moment of its creation, Yugoslavia was a rather unstable multiethnic nation that was held together by a charismatic yet ruthless leader, Josip Broz Tito. Thus, after a series of events that saw a rapid change in world order spearheaded by the fall of the Soviet Union, the old Yugoslavia became rapidly disintegrated, giving birth to a number of nation states that refused to remain loyal to the artificial state[vi] that had endured decades of internal grievance through Tito’s leadership and the presence of Soviet influence. Despite the Serbian[vii] aggression in some of these countries that persisted throughout the early half of the 1990s,[viii] these republics secured their independence within relatively short period of time. The ethnic minorities within the remaining Serbian realm, however, were not as fortunate, as they were now put under an iron-fist control by the leader of the remnant of the former Yugoslavia, a Serbian nationalist Slobodan Milosevic. The conflict itself, however, did not seem to strain the relationship between Russia and the western world until NATO, a predominantly[ix] western military alliance, decided to impose military action on the Federated Republic of Yugoslavia. The western world –especially the United States– viewed the attack as justifiable, as the NATO military operation began only after the alleged humanitarian crisis in Kosovo became apparent. For the west, therefore, its intervention was an endeavor to stop a large-scale massacre committed by the oppressive Serbian regime, not a menacing reminiscent of western imperialism under the disguise of justice.

The non-western members of the United Nations Security Council, however, viewed the attack as an example of a vivid display of arrogance of power, as the NATO’s aggression flatly disregarded the decision made by the Security Council not to intervene. In addition, the former Yugoslavia was largely under the Soviet sphere of influence[x] till the collapse of the Communist Bloc, whereby a NATO military operation in this area meant Russia’s status as a major world power was fluctuating. In his attempt to address such concerns, Yeltsin clearly stated in the wake of the conflict that there could be a full-scale war between Russia and the west if there shall be a NATO aggression in Kosovo.[xi] While this never happened, Russia still chose to involve itself throughout the conflict, assuming the role as a mediator between the NATO and the Serbs. Russia initially achieved some success in convincing Milosevic to withdraw troops from Kosovo, thus ensuring non-NATO occupation of the area following the Serbian withdrawal.

Nonetheless, the relationship between Moscow and the west once again suffered during the occupation of Kosovo by multinational forces including Russian troops, as the NATO command attempted to control all members of the coalition including the regions with Russian garrison. Outraged, Russian troops started acting on its own, even disrupting operations of NATO troops on multiple occasions.[xii] The NATO command, however, was not willing to give up exercising its rights as a chief coordinator of the occupation. At this point of time, the split between Moscow and the western world became more obvious than ever, to a degree where Russian delegation in G8 openly disagreed with the rest of the member states regarding the Kosovo issue.[xiii] Russia, which was opposed to the western intervention in Kosovo from the very beginning, became severely disgruntled with the west and started seeking an alternative answer to its foreign policy.[xiv] Amid such disillusion came Vladimir Putin, then the Prime Minister who assumed the role as President of the Russian Federation after Yeltsin’s unexpected resignation in December 31, 1999. As the new leader of Russia, Putin’s chief platform was “strong Russia,” the phrase that reflected Russia’s fallout with the western world and a sign for a new paradigm in terms of Moscow’s directions in its foreign policies.

Besides the failure of neoliberal-inspired economic reform and a series of diplomatic crises, the discordance between Russia and the western world throughout the 1990s largely owed to the vast difference of value system between the leadership and perhaps the populous of the west and the Russian Federation, despite the Russian attempt to integrate itself into the established, capitalistic west. Perhaps, the most vivid contrasts were made during the conflict in Chechnya and Kosovo. In these conflicts, one of the main rationales behind the western causes was “human rights,” which was to an extent a valid concern. It did not, however, consider what could happen if Russia did not make the kind of decisions it made, especially in the Chechen crisis where Russia could have been disintegrated had Moscow chosen not to take a tough stand.[xv] As a matter of fact, Putin, with his tough stance on Chechnya, proved himself to be more compatible in running a “War on Terrorism” when compared to his counterparts in Pentagon, whose incredibly expensive and prolonged attempt in Iraq hardly put down any potential terrorist threat to the United States. Similar case could be made on the war in Kosovo, where the NATO decided to attack Serbia in a hardly multilateral manner, a move that could have provoked Russia into a war by a direct perception of threat. After these years, it became apparent that Russia and the west do not exactly adhere to the same kind of philosophy behind its governance, whereby a new school of thought that would differentiate Russia from its western counterparts became under a heavy demand. One school of thought became immensely popular during this era. This school of thought was called Eurasianism,[xvi] which insisted that Russia never was a purely European nation, whereby its identity as a nation is quite distant from a western standard. Such philosophy played a major role for Russia to seek a new diplomatic alignment besides its involvement in the G8 and its not-so-successful attempt throughout the 1990s to assimilate in the western world.

There were, however, a number of problems to be addressed before Russia could make such a large-scale diplomatic realignment. One of such problems was the lack of potential partners besides People’s Republic of China and a handful of former Soviet nations. The western world led by the United States was perceived to be the sole superpower of the new world order at the time, while an alliance consisted of just Russia and China was not thought to become a formidable counterpart of the western alliance. Another major concern stemmed from the structure of Russian economy, whose export heavily relied upon raw materials, especially oil. This, in turn, made Russia somewhat economically dependent towards the west, as these countries constituted the region where there was a substantial amount of consumer market that required a large amount of raw materials –especially oil– to meet the demands from its domestic market. In recent years, however, Russia was capable of distancing itself from the western circle and making a certain degree of progress in befriending countries outside the west. How could that happen despite the obstacles stated above in such a short amount of time? There is a variety of answers that could be offered to this question, yet the one of the key reasons this could happen was a relatively new paradigm that was theorized in a recent Goldman-Sachs thesis, commonly known as BRIC.

First introduced in 2003, the BRIC thesis argues that Brazil, Russia, India, and the People’s Republic of China are the world’s emerging economic powerhouses, with Brazil and Russia specializing in natural resources and India and China having an expertise in manufacturing industry. Though dismissed by some as a mere list of countries with recent economic breakthrough, there have been a considerable amount of signs where the concept –and mutual collaboration between each BRIC state– is real. And on the center of such paradigm was Vladimir Putin, the man who also is a chief architect of the current Russian system whose capabilities in most fields vastly supercedes its predecessor led by Boris Yeltsin. While we will discuss this aspect of the BRIC thesis subsequently, let us briefly assess the economic achievements these countries have made during recent years.

The cases where the BRIC nations proved themselves the world’s emerging economies could be most clearly shown in the private sector, as the BRIC thesis itself was developed in Wall Street, not the Capitol Hill. The British Telecommunications Group,[xvii] for instance, emphasizes the potential of these countries in terms of their capability to adjust themselves in technological progress to a greater degree than established nations, while showing avid interest in working with these nations as part of the company’s venture.[xviii] The recent outsourcing of information technology firms to India must rank high among actual cases where the BRIC nations started playing a huge role in global economy, as an incredibly large portion of private enterprises from developed nations flocked into India looking for an effective, yet more affordable manpower. Outsourcing industries, most notably in the field of information technology, is also burgeoning in Russia to a limited degree.[xix]

The rapid development of these nations, however, brought in the necessity for them to find sources for adequate amount of natural resources to sustain their recent economic growth, on which their western investors are not always so sympathetic with. A recent example of such cooperative act between the BRIC nations was a joint effort made by China’s China National Petroleum Corporation and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation in their bid to obtain a $573 million worth of oilfields formerly owned by a firm in Canada, a member state of the G8, in December 2005.[xx] At a similar timescale, the Russian president Vladimir Putin put forth endeavor to cement the cooperation between BRIC states during the nationalization of Yukos, the largest oil producer in Russia, through offering assets from the defunct company to the fellow BRIC states, especially China and India.[xxi] From the Russian standpoint, the construction of such alliance will help the country not only in economic means, but in terms of Russia’s political stature across the globe as well, as Russia is in dire need of finding a group of formidable allies to counter the loss of the former Communist Bloc and the mounting pressure from the ever-growing western political alliance spearheaded by NATO. The other BRIC nations, on the other hand, need natural resources a la oil to sustain their fast-growing industries. In an era where many observe that there is a tense competition between countries looking for natural resources, an amicable relationship with Russia would serve as a ticket for these nations to avoid future shortage of such needs. Even the United States -which produces a sizable amount of petroleum by itself and thus did not have much problems in gas price control- has lately experienced a stunning disaster in ensuring enough amount of oil to stabilize its prices in domestic market. With this in regard, Russia’s possession of vast amount of oil –one of the key resources of the 21st century in terms of economic and political bargains– could make Russia a key player in coordinating a collective political agenda by the BRIC nations, as this would make the other states in the BRIC thesis to rely upon Russia in terms of oil without pressure or competition from the west, while Russia, in turn, receive support from these nations in terms of a vast array of geopolitical issues concerning Russia’s interests.

From we could observe from the events above, the realization of a somewhat political entity between the countries in the BRIC thesis is already in progress. Before we move on to conclusion, however, let us shortly assess the geopolitical reasons why this alliance will persist for a long period of time. Besides the economic rationale behind the political and economic agreements we have observed, there are some fundamental reasons why an alliance between BRIC nations will be further solidified as time goes on. One major factor we shall look over is the political status of Russia and the People’s Republic of China, who now seem to have common goal in their attempt to prevent a full hegemony of global geopolitics by the western circle.[xxii] This, as I mentioned earlier, is especially true in Russia’s case, because of Russia’s visible marginalization from the G8 and its undeniable reduction in sphere of influence following the collapse of the Communist Bloc. Even from the Chinese standpoint, Beijing would be aware of the need to sustain itself from its rapid growth that has lasted for decades, with one of the top priorities being securing a large amount of natural resources including petroleum. China’s effort to meet such goals could be seen also in its collaboration with India in their joint acquisition of Syrian oil assets, which also cemented India’s involvement in the collaborative process between the four nations mentioned in the BRIC thesis. China also is in need of a neighboring political alliance facing a group of pro-American nations surrounding it, including Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Further, the geopolitical -let alone China’s vast line of production of manufactured goods in our everyday lives- the amount of tensions between China and the west is soaring day after day, as seen in Summer Olympics of Beijing, where many westerners -including the relatively conservative German chancellor Angela Merkel- have openly refused to celebrate an Olympic held in what they perceive as a rigid, oppressive polity. While Brazil and India do not have much of their self-interest directly at stake in these issues, they were never treated as a full member of the established circle of industrialized nations, whereby the realization of an alliance between the BRIC nations will be good for their self-interest as well, given these countries’ need for a reliable supplier of natural resources and inability to become a full-fledged member of the western establishment.

After the collapse of its former incarnation the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has gone through a series of setbacks and recoveries in terms of both its economic strength and political stature across the globe, with most of decline coming during the Yeltsin Years and a surprising degree of recovery occuring under Putin’s leadership. In its early years, Russia tried to become a legitimate member of the club of western industrialized nations as seen in its involvement in the G8, which seemed to consolidate Russia’s new image as a democratic successor of the former Soviet Union. There was, however, a vast array of obstacles in this way that neither Russia nor the west could perceive at the beginning that ultimately doomed the Russian effort to join the western rank. The major factors behind this failure included the clash of self-interest between Moscow and its western counterpart in terms of geopolitical issues as seen in the expansion of NATO and Kosovo War, the miserable fiasco of western-advised economic reform during the Yeltsin years, the Russian distrust towards the west after the western reaction towards the Chechen crisis, and an enormous gap of values between the two side in terms of political philosophy[xxiii]. True, Russia, to a certain degree, did manage to exert its influence in the G8 as the only non-western[xxiv] delegation in what was formerly a club of developed western nations. The increasing pressure by the ever-expanding NATO and the continuing discordance with the west, however, obliged Russia to search for a major diplomatic shift to balance the status quo and –to an extent– reclaim its stature as a successor state of the Soviet Union. First published in 2003, the BRIC thesis by the Goldman-Sachs institution in 2003 offered Russia a clear blueprint on what kind of realignment should it make after over a decade of disillusion from the ill-fated diplomacy with the western world. It’s a popular rationale amongst the western conservative circle to take the example of Nelville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler to display how appeasement towards a bully does not work. From the Russian standpoint, indeed, Moscow’s friendly approach towards the west during the 1990s could be seen as the Chamberlain of their own, whilst Putin being their Winston Churchill- with Churchill being the fearless leader of the Britons who repelled and defeated the Nazi war machine and Putin the savior of the Russian might from the mounting pressure of western imperialism. The BRIC thesis projected that Russia and Brazil will be chief raw material providers while China and India dominating the manufacturing industry, which proved incredibly accurate when compared with recent actual events. While the realization of mutual collaboration between the nations in the BRIC thesis is still an ongoing event, there has been an immense degree of progress in terms of a sense of mutual collaboration between these nations, as seen in joint-bidding of Syrian oil assets by Chinese and Indian firms and Putin’s willingness to redistribute the oil fields from the defunct Yukos to the fellow BRIC nations.

As of far, Russia’s realignment with the countries listed in the BRIC thesis became realized to an incredible degree within a short period of time, even though the thesis was published only in 2003. One must remind him/herself that, however, Russia’s diplomatic transition with the BRIC nations is a very recent phenomenon that shouldn’t be hastily judged at this point of time, as I write this essay only five years after the BRIC phenomenon began. While it remains unclear[xxv] what the future of the current mutual collaboration between the nations in the BRIC thesis would be, I project that the current bond between the nations in the BRIC thesis will persist, as these nations will be in need of each other to establish themselves as a formidable world power outside of the western world, which continues to attempt to expand its sphere of influence over the world to this day. In the earlier years of its history, the Russian Federation suffered from its conflict with NATO and the western world as a whole. Given such struggle, it would be hard to believe if Russia was not looking for an alternative ally beside this, as Russia would never let its geopolitical influence slide when there is an option to prevent such from happening, namely a formidable alignment outside the western world that now seems to be in Russia’s grasp. The realization of an alliance between the BRIC nations will pose a serious threat to the dominance of the United States and NATO in the world’s current geopolitic dynamics, which in turn will force the United States to rethink its current diplomatic stance that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the Cold War and the creation of new world order accordingly.
i] Even though I see nothing “free” about Southern United States under Jim Crow laws and colonial subjects of the British Empire, especially when they’re not Anglo-Saxon (See Also: Irish Independence Wars).
ii] At least until the solidification of the European Union and the rise of People’s Republic of China. The United States now will have to once again confront a formidable opponent –or two– of its size in a not very distant future.
[iii] All of which are former members of the now-defunct Warsaw Pact.
iv] Lukyanov, Fyodor. The Moscow Times, 06/06, 2007. G8 Membership as an Exercise in Legitimacy.
True, this writer seems to remain silent with regard to Russia’s political structure, yet he does offer a valid point regarding what aspects attracted Russia to join the G8, or what merits the former G7 had to invite Russia into its membership
[v] Although historically, these two often did not get along (See Also: Sino-Soviet Split)
[vi] The “artificial state,” I believe, is a very appropriate term to describe the former Yugoslavia. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the predecessor to its communist counterpart, was hastily formed as a merger of the south-Slavic part of the fallen Austria-Hungary Empire and the formerly independent kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro. The term “Yugoslavia” means “nation of southern Slavs (Yugo [south]-Slavia). The pan-Slavic sentiment within (I didn’t fancy with Russia, so I do believe this notion of pan-Slavism is appropriate) southern Slavs must rank high among this rather tenuous unification, as the founders of this ill-fated nation –essentially a handful of noble intelligentsia– never saw a series of conflicts between the south Slavic (or shall we say, “Yugoslavic”) ethnicities coming after the country’s creation.”
[vii] At this point, a country still known as “Yugoslavia” merely consisted of the territories of Serbia and Montenegro.
[viii] As seen in the Bosnian War and Croatian War of Independence (both lasted till 1995.)
[ix] Predominantly, not entirely. Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, which are hardly “western” in its traditional means, became members of NATO in the wake of the western bombings of Serbia and Montenegro.
[x] Though Yugoslavia did not take part in Warsaw Pact and was hesitant in playing a substantial role in COMECON, an economic organization of communist states.
[xi] Yeltsin warns of possible world war over Kosovo, CNN, April 9, 1999.h
ttp://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9904/09/kosovo.diplomacy.02/
[xii] Karon, Tony. Mightily Miffed, Moscow Draws a Line in the Mud, TIME Magazine, June 14, 1999.

[xiii] This, I observe, has been a regular pattern for years now. No wonder many choose to call G8 “Group of Seven and Russia” instead
[xiv] Kosovo remains to be a hot potato with regards to relations between Russia and the west to this day. On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia, a plea that was recognized by all members of the G8 but Russia. Russia, China and many nations aligned with these two do not recognize the independence of Kosovo to this day (5/1, 2008)
[xv] Not that it is justifiable for Russian troops and pro-Moscow Chechen paramilitary organizations in some inhumane acts they did engage in.
[xvi] Or “Neo-Eurasianism,” to be more precise
[xvii] Formerly known as British Telecom. The company name changed following a privatization process in 1984.
[xviii] The British Telecommunication Group, BRICs driven by innovation
http://www.btplc.com/Innovation/Mobility/bric/index.htm</span
Note: Due to the recent nature of BRIC issues, the internet database proved to be the most reliable source regarding news that is related to this topic. At least I don’t use Wikipedia.
[xix] Russia’s IT Boom, Outsourcing-Russia/Russoft.org. http://www.russoft.org/docs/?doc=1295</
xx] Basu, Indrajit. China Business, Asia Times Online, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/GL22Cb06.html
[xxi] Chadda, Sudhir. Putin leads BRIC alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and plays oil trump card – some Russian Yukos oil assets for China and India, India Daily, January 4, 2005, http://www.indiadaily.com/editorial/01-04f-05.asp
[xxii] Or the former G7, if you would
[xxiii] For instance, the western puts priority in human rights and full-fledged democracy, whilst Russian politicians –sometimes correctly– believed that if such practice takes place in the post-Soviet Russian context, the Federation could break apart altogether. Had Moscow been soft on Chechen insurgency, for instances, there was no guarantee whether other ethnic minorities within Russia could launch a similar disorder in numerous areas within Russian borders
[xxiv] While Japan is not technically western, its 52-year-straight ruling party agrees with vast majority of decisions made by other western members of the G8 in most occasions
[xxv] One reason why I prefer could over would.

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