BRICS must forge ahead with determination and speed
Published: Aug 23, 2023 10:23 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

The 15th BRICS Summit is a moment that is ushering in changes unseen in a century. Finally, the Bandung Spirit, the collective awakening of Asian and African developing countries to the importance of unity in their struggles for independence and development, is being given flesh by BRICS with New Development Bank funds, the political will of states and the global infrastructure networking for economic and trade development.  

BRICS, the economic community of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, proved the durability of its solidarity despite a decade of intrigue and discouragement from the Western powers. 

The original five BRICS members look forward to a surge in membership from other Global South countries, all seeing in BRICS for their countries the expansion of economic and geopolitical liberation from the unipolar world that once dominated the global platforms. As everyone knows by now, BRICS is founded on the ideal of achieving a "multipolar world" where regions and nations achieve equally through diversified loci of geo-economic and geopolitical power.

BRICS has all the essential elements of economic, financial and political power to succeed. China and India have among the largest markets and industrial capacities, and with Russia the gravitas in geopolitics. Brazil and South Africa represent the continents with the abundant commodities, while financial clout is provided by some of the largest global economies. Combined with Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Iran, Argentina and more countries wishing to join BRICS, BRICS will recreate the 21st century world.

Twenty-two countries have formally communicated the desires to become full members of BRICS, while around the same number that have informally signified interest in joining. This is greatly due to BRICS now being the major force in global economics 

ASEAN, for its part, has always supported the mission of BRICS in promoting multilateralism. In 2022 ASEAN chair Cambodia expressed this sense, "In a context where the world is rapidly changing, uncertain and complex, we cannot give up or turn away from multilateral mechanisms if we really intend to address common challenges... ASEAN and BRICS, as well as the international community as a whole, need to redouble their efforts to restore multilateralism..."

In May of 2023 the ASEAN-Russia Senior Officials' Meeting sought to "deepen ties with the emerging BRICS bloc." ASEAN sees BRICS as a fraternal multilateral organization, all part of a Global South effort to democratize geo-economic and geopolitical relations in the modern world, as both promote the vision of and pave the way to a shared future for mankind - on the global and regional platforms. Indonesia, an ASEAN stalwart, has also expressed interest to join BRICS.

In my home country, the Philippines, there are many citizens asking why we are not supporting and pursuing membership in the BRICS. The Philippines, unfortunately, is presently seriously distracted from making its contribution to global multilateralism such as BRICS. It was also the last holdout to the ratification of RCEP (ASEAN's regional partnership with Asia-Pacific's major economies). The Philippines has been caught in a restoration of US unilateralist "rules-based order" in its polity.

The Philippines has been setback by the return of unilateralist US domination over the Philippines, using the Philippines to push a new cold war in the region, re-establishing and expanding military bases in the country, re-imposing its control over the nation's politics, entrapping the Philippines in a security dilemma. The Philippines has again succumbed to being a cog in the ambition of the Unipolar World Order's restoration - a situation we don't know the country can survive.

In today's Philippines, every man, woman, child shoulders a debt of $2,000, with per capital income lower than smaller ASEAN countries Thailand and Vietnam, yet the government seeks to rearm upon prodding of the unipolar master. The Philippines cries out loud: "Save us from the last vestige of the unipolar world."

BRICS must forge ahead fast and courageously, with determination and speed. Change the world to save the world, and save us victims of the unipolar world master!

The author is founder of a Manila-based think tank Philippine BRICS Strategic Studies. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn