Yves here. We’re featuring this post on how understandable differences among BRICS members, both economically and geopolitically, means they are not as unified as some multipolarity fans would believe.
An issue here is that the author Andrew Korybko is relatively new to the Substack punditry game. He tends to undermine his sound general observations with what rhetorical corners-cutting in others. For instance, he has repeatedly called out “many” in a faceless and monolithic “AMC” (Alt-Media Community) for repeatedly overhyping the pace at which BRICS (and by extensions other “Global South” organizations) will advance their efforts to construct a non-dollar, new-currency based payments system. Even though Korybko’s broad-brush on this point may seem like straw manning, having spent a lot of time consuming anti-globalist analysis and commentary, Korybko is on point here, despite his failure to produce the goods for the benefits of readers new to this arena. There are a lot of cheerleaders, including some economists, who perhaps due to a lack of experience with payments system plumbing, treaties, and multiparty negotiations, have been in “assume a can opener” mode. I have written Korybko asking him in the future to provide examples of particular stories to help strengthen his argument. Mind you, since he has his own site, he can ignore friendly advice.
Readers may also be put off by Korybko’s support for the arrest of Andrew Girkin. Again, Korybko errs on the side of ad hominem by depicting him in this post simply as a conspiracy theorist and linking to an earlier post of his. But on a quick skim, Analyzing The Arrest Of “Doom & Gloom” Conspiracy Theorist Igor Girkin, despite the overuse of prejudicial labeling, does a good job of substantiating the case for his arrest. This is not as black and white as the Western press would have you believe.
So I trust you can read past these shortcomings for the meat of the post.
By Andrew Korybko, a Moscow-based American political analyst who specializes in the global systemic transition to multipolarity in the New Cold War. He has a PhD from MGIMO, which is under the umbrella of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Originally published at his website
It was always unrealistic to imagine that BRICS is an alliance of completely sovereign countries that have united due to their shared hatred of the West and are thus plotting to topple the dollar’s dominance in the near future like some of the Alt-Media Community’s top influencers claim.
Many in the Alt-Media Community (AMC) have been misled by some top influencers into imagining that BRICS is something that it’s not. In particular, they think that it’s an alliance of completely sovereign countries that have united due to their shared hatred of the West, which is why they’re allegedly plotting to deal a deathblow to the dollar in the very near future. Those who share “politically inconvenient” observations such as the ones contained in the analyses below usually come under attack by the AMC:
Russia is finally correcting false perceptions of BRICS ahead of this month’s summit, however, which discredits the narrative pushed by the AMC’s top influencers. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov recently confirmed that differences exist among its members over their group’s formal expansion, Russia is reluctant to publicly share its official stance towards this sensitive subject, and there’s no chance of BRICS unveiling a new currency anytime soon. Here are TASS’ corresponding reports about each point:
Extrapolating on them in the order that they were shared:
* BRICS is indeed divided between those who want to seize the historical moment in expanding the bloc as much as possible right away and those who believe that a slower pace is more aligned with their shared interests;
* Russia seems to be more sympathetic towards the second approach otherwise it wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to score political points vis-a-vis the West by hyping up BRICS’ expansion to prepare the global public for a supposedly imminent new era of geo-economic affairs;
* and the bloc’s natural differences among its diverse members make it extremely unlikely that they’ll all soon agree to ceding some of their economic sovereignty by actively promoting a new currency at the expense of their respective national ones.
None of this is surprising nor the result of Western influence, but was entirely predictable due to BRICS’ intra-group dynamics and its members’ relations with the West, which objective observers keenly understand but the AMC has largely been unaware of since some top influencers twisted and sometimes omitted related facts to push their agenda. There have always been legitimate arguments for and against rapidly expanding this bloc as well as the pace at which it accelerates financial multipolarity processes.
For instance, moving too swiftly risks weakening BRICS since it’ll become more difficult to achieve consensus, but not taking advantage of other countries’ interest in participating in its activities to some extent risks wasting this historical moment, ergo the need for a compromise like BRICS+. The same can be said about the pace at which BRICS accelerates financial multipolarity processes since all its members apart from Russia are in relationships of complex economic-financial interdependence with the West.
Building upon the aforesaid observation, while all BRICS members have a shared interest in diversifying away from the dollar as well as their disproportionate dependence on Western trade and investment, they envisage going about this differently. Dealing a deathblow to the dollar and ruining the Western economy would harm their own interests, and while some might think that this would still serve Russia’s, they’re wrong since China’s and India’s resultant economic-financial destabilization isn’t in its favor.
Accordingly, it was always unrealistic to imagine that BRICS is an alliance of completely sovereign countries that have united due to their shared hatred of the West and are thus plotting to topple the dollar’s dominance in the near future like some of the AMC’s top influencers claim. The only reason why this false perception went viral is because the targeted audience didn’t know any better since those who they trusted twisted and sometimes omitted related facts about this to push their agenda.
Left unchallenged, the unrealistically high hopes that many across the world were misled into having about BRICS will inevitably lead to them becoming deeply disappointed after the group’s summit this month fails to meet their expectations, thus making them susceptible to hostile suggestions. A critical mass of multipolarity supporters might then “defect” from “5D chess master plan” conspiracy theories about BRICS to embracing “doom & gloom” (D&G) ones pushed by the West to demoralize them.
In hindsight, Russia should have proactively managed perceptions about BRICS so as to avert this scenario far in advance, but it was prioritizing efforts to protect its integrity in the face of the West’s unprecedented propaganda onslaught and didn’t have enough extra experts available to do this. Additionally, it also didn’t realize how inaccurate many multipolarity supporters’ views of this group were until recently, once again for the same reason that it has limited experts and can’t cover everything.
This insight explains Russia’s belated attempts to correct these false perceptions just three weeks before the next summit. It might be too little too late to prevent some multipolarity supporters’ “defections” from the “5D chess” conspiracy camp into the “D&G” one, the same as can be said for Russia’s arrest last month of infamous “D&G” conspiracy theorist Igor Girkin, but it’s better than nothing and shows that the Kremlin is now aware of the threat posed to its soft power interests by certain conspiracy theories.
Girkin’s ones about the special operation were “unfriendly” while the AMC’s conspiracy theories about BRICS are “friendly”, but both manipulate the perceptions of Russia’s supporters on sensitive issues, thus leading to them becoming ever more divorced from reality as time goes on. It took a while, but Russia is finally correcting these false perceptions and countering associated conspiracy theories, and hopefully it’ll build upon this momentum to soon do the same regarding other sensitive issues too.
Respectfully expressed disagreements and well-intended constructive critiques should always be encouraged, but twisting and sometimes omitting facts in order to artificially manufacture a false perception that advances an agenda is unacceptable and should always be opposed. The AMC’s top influencers therefore have to decide whether they’ll play the first role in support of Russia’s soft power interests or continue playing the second and thus remaining the West’s “useful idiots”.