If the BRICS group of rising powers tries to usurp global governance, it will collapse under its own weight…
A famous incident narrated by Bob Woodward in his book Obama’s Wars comes to mind: President Barack Obama, disregarding the protestations of Chinese protocol officials, burst into a closed-door meeting of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian leaders on a late Friday afternoon in Copenhagen, a week before Christmas in 2009, where the three BRIC leaders (this was before South Africa joined and the group became BRICS) were negotiating in secret a common position at the climate talks, which were on the verge of complete meltdown.
Obama had wanted the three leaders of the most powerful nations of the “Global South” – and South African President Jacob Zuma – to meet him individually rather than collectively, and was frantic that his ploy was upended. Eventually, Obama joined the four leaders and the negotiations resulted in a meaningful agreement.
That incident, just six months after the first BRIC Summit in Yekaterinburg in June of that year, underscored a cardinal truth that although the signs were there already that the West’s decline had begun, no one had any doubts that the United States and Europe would continue to determine the characteristics of the world economy and international politics for a long time.