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The Strategic BRICS

The Strategic BRICS

Ukraine has started its advance in the Kherson region in order to reclaim as much territory as possible in the south of Ukraine before Russia attempts to permanently annex large sections of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. Taking sections of the east of Ukraine would give Russia extra control of Ukraine’s significant agricultural exports. Control in the south of Ukraine would give Russia a great deal of control of much of Ukraine’s shipping along the Black Sea coast. With Russia’s oil and gas industry currently toying with shutting energy exports to Germany and Europe, increased control of these parts of Ukraine would place food security and energy security for much of the world in the Kremlin’s control.

Russia has continued to export to India, is planning an oil and gas pipeline to China to satisfy China’s fuel shortages and is trying to lock in much of the energy exports with ties to Iran while sanctions bite on the Russian economy. With fuel prices slowly dropping, a cut in Europe’s gas supply would likely raise inflation along with the increased need for fuel in the colder months. The rise in fuel prices has buoyed the Rouble despite sanctions, and incentivizes Russia’s further restricting of fuel and increased conflict in Ukraine. While Western weapons supports to Ukraine have been significant, North America’s lacking strategic support of Western Europe’s energy needs has not displaced Russian oil and gas, fuelling Russian Forces instead of heating the homes of their allies. Russia’s ties to other regions and large BRICS economies will give them further control over the world’s food and fuel supplies.

India has taken to protect their own interests in the era of the recent conflict in Ukraine. Russia has always been a large supplier of India’s Defense Forces that are made up of equipment from mostly Russian, French and British made systems to defend its borders with Pakistan and China. India has strong ties in the west, but with US weapons being issued to their adversaries, they have chosen to secure much of their food supplies, energy supplies and military supplies with Russia in order to maintain a power balance in the region. India is well aware that they cannot lose strength in their region, lest be at risk of losing in a greater conflict.

China has taken to increase its military activities around Taiwan and hold relations with Russia and the West to its own advantage. China has ensured much of the financing of Russia and is establishing closer energy ties with Russia in order to remedy their own fuel shortages affecting industry and shipping in China. As with Russia, China has become emboldened after the West abandoned Afghanistan and their allies there, and is well aware of the global chip shortage and Taiwan’s significant contribution to the chip market worldwide. China may now see Russia as a weaker world power after they have witnessed the failure of Russian equipment in the field, but their activity around Taiwan and their concerns with a powerful India keeps China focused on maintaining their own power and control in the region.

Brazil is approaching a fork in the road with an election coming this fall between the current Populist President Bolsonaro and former popular President Lula da Silva. The corruption scandals that rocked the last Presidential election and the question of Brazil’s independence from foreign influence may become the deciding factor of an election that promises to change the future direction of Brazil and Latin America. Inflation after the Olympics and World Cup in Brazil along with corruption tying much of the political class to criminal acts might become the ballot question yet again. Current world issues will exacerbate the problems of four years prior as world inflation and drastic changes for BRICS nations come with their support of the West or Russia and China. The great need for agricultural products and oil and gas will give Brazil a lot of leverage in the global markets. The distrust of international leaders and corporations may swing Brazil away from their traditional markets however, expanding their current business relationship with China and further avoiding criticisms of Russia. This is a complicated question for either candidate it seems and will be of great interest during the upcoming election.

South Africa and much of Africa became very aware of the lacking support from the rest of the world during the Covid crisis. While vaccine policies were supplying Europe, North America and parts of Asia, Africa was one of the last regions to receive Covid vaccines, and this may have contributed to one of the first new strains to be logged coming out of South Africa. With China increasing their influence in the region and South Africa being the mid point of commerce between much of the West and new Chinese investment in the region, their view of their place in the old economies of the West and new economies of the East leaves their future in question. Closer ties with the BRICS may change South Africa, but it will likely become a point of leverage for many large economies, influential regions and global institutions a lot sooner than anyone expected.

BRICS nations have determined that their best interests may not lay in the same policy choices that many of their Western allies have chosen as an approach. Actions that lead Western powers to abandon their allies in Afghanistan will come to be seen as one of the greatest policy determinants of our era. BRICS nations already see what many countries in the West fail to acknowledge from their policy failure. A further limiting of North American oil and gas exports to such a degree that it raised the Rouble and will put Western Europe in an energy shortage not seen since the Berlin Airlift is affecting the world greatly in 2022. BRICS nations have decided to take to classical policy approaches, and will act in a manner that protects their interests and keep their citizens fed and warm as much as possible. Any approach that would hinder those basic needs will end the leadership of any of the BRICS nations rapidly, as it should.



Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration