As I’ve written, I don’t think Russia belongs in the BiC powers. So what? Brazil’s President Lula da Silva likes having the large (geographically), nuclear-armed, European, former superpower around. Lula recently hosted the leaders of China, Russia, and India at the second annual BRIC summit (last year’s in Russia was the first), four countries representing 42% of the world’s people and 22% of its wealth.
Lula used his host role to stress accomplishments the BRIC powers have already made, and lay out his version of their agenda. Lula said:
➢ we are . . . agents of change in making global governance both more transparent and democratic.
➢ [Our agenda includes] food security and energy production in the context of climate change.
➢ during the financial crisis of the past two years. . . our collective strategies. . . opened up new alternatives to the shabby dogma inherited from the past. The collapse of financial markets revealed the failure of paradigms previously [unquestioned]. Truths about market deregulation collapsed. The ideal of a minimal state also collapsed. The easing of labor rights is no longer a mantra to fight unemployment.
➢ BRIC countries promoted growth focused on work and prudence. At the Group of 20 summit, we proposed anticyclical policies, market regulation, curbing tax havens, and renewal of the Bretton Woods institutions[, where] we are determined not to let . . . global economy [recovery] serve as an excuse for abandoning a democratic remodel of these organizations. The BRIC members have not injected nearly $100 billion into the International Monetary Fund just to leave everything as it was before.
➢ Developing countries have the right to be heard. Bridging the gap that separates them from the rich countries is not only a matter of justice: The world’s economic, social and political stability depends on this. It is our best contribution to peace.
➢ resources. . . needed to overcome hunger and poverty [are] modest when compared with the cost of rescuing failed banks and financial institutions
➢ distortion in world agricultural trade still persists. Unfair subsidies in rich countries discourage local production, foster dependency, and divert resources that would be better used in development programs. . . conclusion of the Doha Round is critical.
➢ [but this impasse] is nowhere as serious as that on climate change. . . BRIC countries are committed to helping close the deal that was elusive in Copenhagen. . . BRIC countries have been demonstrating with ambitious initiatives to mitigate their emissions.
➢ we must . . . rely increasingly on each other. . . forge a more representative and transparent system of global governance that can [reach] consensual solutions.