Greek PM Tsipras was invited last Monday to participate in Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, an annual meeting held under the auspices of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin aiming -mainly- at boosting Russia’s export capacity. The same day, Greece was invited to become the sixth member of BRICS’s New Development Bank (NDB). International and domestic media were shocked by this announcement and developed a rather criticizing approach on the possibilities of such an agreement. We will briefly explain why this is all wrong.
The first level of analysis – Economic and Political Leverage
NDB is a huge banking endeavor of BRICS towards supporting and strengthening investment plans of the five member-states of the bank. BRICS were formed under the growing necessity for a multipolar economic world where financial capacity, influence and political leverage could be better served and organized via new institutions. In a strictly polarized geopolitical landscape with Gold War strategic doctrines to surface once again, Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa have acknowledged that the current framework of transactions, profits, and investments is not equally distributed and properly operated. “Properly” in a sense that the United States and, to a lesser degree, the European Union still designate global order, leaning to a pretty naive interpretation of the scopes and priorities of other global and regional players. In this respect, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are the financial, regulatory and investment tools used to exert the political power and achieve the lucrative trade-offs of the Western World. Under the current pivotal shifts and unprecedented developments in global economy, BRICS consider impossible for them to be sidelined, while for the most powerful member-states like Russia and China, there is still a strongly biased approach on the democratic quality of their political regimes and their interventionist role in regional clashes.
The second level of analysis – Look outside the box
Until recently it was almost impossible to imagine a more balanced world in terms of regional and global influence. The loose strategic doctrine of the Obama administration and the deep-rooted problems of Eurozone have generated a well-debated space of influence for the so-called emerging economies. This fundamental shift of global antagonism and the re-creation of a globally balanced and competing world have been caused mainly by the amount of energy both Washington and Brussels have invested to consolidate their economies since 2008. During these 7 years both Russia and China have increased their political, economic, and military influence in regional scale, that is now impossible for the US to catch them up and get back all parts of the global influence puzzle. In addition to that, India, Brazil and South Africa have gradually developed a solid economic and foreign policy behind the eyes of US and global attention that is now time for them to start implementing pivotal roles in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. It is not that much that these 3 states can behave as hegemonic powers, but it is more the confidence that they have built these years siding Russia and China. Therefore, BRICS can no more be considered as emerging powers, but pretty much as a group of interconnected regional players that by operating together can build a powerful global team.
The third level of analysis – Is it only Greece?
The invitation to Greece to become the sixth member of the NDB is sort of shocking reality for all conservative and neoliberal media and policy-makers. They all certainly realize that the hegemonic power of the US can no longer exert the influence it used to exert for more than 60 years, even if the day after Obama a hawkish President comes up again in the White House. The invitation to Greece is both an effort to test US and EU reflexes as it is an effort to widen the geopolitical and geoeconomic profits of BRICS. Greece and PM Tsipras will certainly deliberate on this proposal as it opens new perspectives for the country.
Beyond that, it is not only Greece that might be part of such a global endeavor. It might also be Turkey, Iran or Egypt as all three are considered pivotal players in their respective regions. Therefore, a one-sided approach would simply suggest that Greece was invited in order for Russia to increase leverage in Greece. This is completely wrong as from such an agreement both Greece and Russia would benefit. The wider approach is that the NDB and the BRICS want and can definitely challenge the Bretton Woods establishment that is as obsolete and weakened as never before.
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Author : Dimitris Rapidis