We've been warning about this for weeks now and here we are. Leaders from three continents are convening for a significant summit of BRICS, an informal alliance created over a decade ago to align the world's top emerging economies. However, achieving diplomatic cohesion has been a challenge for BRICS, particularly in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
BRICS, an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, embodies the key countries participating in the summit commencing in Johannesburg on Tuesday. Regrettably, Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot attend the summit in person due to his tarnished reputation on the global stage.
Instead, he will address the summit via video link. This decision stems from South Africa's status as a founding member of the International Criminal Court at The Hague, which would have obliged them to arrest President Putin based on an ICC warrant for war crimes in Ukraine had he physically been present in Johannesburg.
This situation underscores the divisive nature of the war among the leading non-aligned powers of the Global South. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who rhetorically supports President Putin on Ukraine, will be in attendance at the BRICS summit, combining his trip with an official state visit to South Africa. Additionally, President Lula da Silva of Brazil, like China, continues to purchase record quantities of Russian oil despite Western sanctions against Moscow, making his presence at the summit all the more significant.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the other hand, had previously considered skipping the meeting. However, reports since early August indicate that he changed his mind following an urgent phone call from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Modi will now join the summit, further solidifying the participation of the BRICS nations.
This gathering, expected to center around discussions on the potential development of a new currency to challenge the global dominance of the U.S. dollar, is being closely monitored in Washington. Several lawmakers from both Republican and Democratic parties accuse the Ramaphosa government of supporting Putin's war - a claim that has added to the interest and scrutiny surrounding the summit.
With a quarter of the world's landmass covered, more than 40 percent of its population accounted for, and a combined GDP of $28 trillion, the current BRICS nations hold significant global presence. This collective economic strength surpasses the $25 trillion boasted by the United States, even without new members joining the bloc.
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