The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) held its sixth summit on July 15-16 in the Brazilian cities of Fortaleza and Brasilia, where agreements were signed for creating a Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) worth $100 billion and establishing a $50-billion New Development Bank (NBD), to be headquartered in Shanghai. In this Policy Alert, we examine reactions to the outcomes of the BRICS summit from China, Russia, India, Brazil, and Japan. The RPI’s coverage of previous BRICS summits can be found here and here.
Numerous commentators and media outlets in China hailed the BRICS summit as a milestone, praising the BRICS for positioning the group for a bigger role in both the political and economic spheres. (more…)Continue Reading →
Amitav Acharya, Professor of International Relations, American University, wrote an op-ed for The Hindu where he discussed the BRICS countries’ decision to create the New Development Bank and a contingency fund to deal with financial crises. While he admits that it is “too early to say whether these mechanisms will challenge…the Bretton Woods system under U.S. hegemony,” Acharya concludes that these new mechanisms “at least serve as a reminder that the era of Western and American dominance of the world is ending, giving way to a more complex and diversified world order: the multiplex world”:
The western media has been dismissive of the BRICS move to set up a bank, but such cynicism misses the larger picture — the end of western hegemony and the rise of the multiplex world.
For the first time since its creation in the aftermath of World War II, the structure of global economic governance established and dominated by the United States has some serious competition. At their summit in Brazil on July 15, 2014, the five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) agreed to set up the New Development Bank (with a capitalisation of U.S. $100 billion) and a contingency fund to deal with financial crises.
It is too early to say whether these mechanisms will challenge the role of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) or the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which have been the bedrock of the Bretton Woods system under U.S. hegemony. But they at least serve as a reminder that the era of Western and American dominance of the world is ending, giving way to a more complex and diversified world order: the multiplex world. The move by BRICS, though outwardly economic in nature, has serious geopolitical undertones.
It comes after a speech last May to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point by U.S. President Barack Obama in which he declared: “America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will.” Such remarks would seem arrogant and dismissive of the ambitions of the emerging powers. The BRICS nations do not accept the view that the world is for America’s alone to lead or manage. The BRICS summit in Brazil also showed that the emerging powers do not buy the Obama administration’s move to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine by isolating it internationally. (more…)Continue Reading →
The 2014 World Cup games came to a close on Sunday, July 13 after an exciting final match between Germany and Argentina. In our latest Policy Alert, we examine commentary on how the games played out for Brazil, China, Russia, India, South Korea, and Japan.
Host nation Brazil finished a disappointing fourth in the tournament, punctuated by a humiliating 7-1 defeat to eventual champion Germany in the semi-finals. Concerns about overtaxed infrastructure, unfinished stadiums and massive protests leading up to the games proved unfounded, as the tournament proceeded with relatively few setbacks. (more…)Continue Reading →
The 2014 World Cup games kicked off on Thursday amidst protests of poor public services, corruption, and the high cost of staging the World Cup in host country Brazil. In addition to the ongoing protests, soccer federation FIFA is under scrutiny for its decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar due to recent allegations that the nation handed out bribes in exchange for votes to win the bid. This PolicyAlert examines reactions from Brazil, India, China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia on the corruption charges and predictions for the World Cup.
Rajesh Rajagopalan, a participant in RPI’s Nuclear Debates in Asia and Worldviews of Aspiring Powers projects and professor in International Politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, wrote an op-ed for The Economic Times where he warned “great power politics in Asia today seems to resemble very much Europe a hundred years back” before the start of a series of world wars. Rajagopalan offers five major pieces of evidence for this comparison: 1) changing and uncertain balance of power; 2) hyper-nationalism among emerging powers; 3) intensifying arms races; 4) general optimism both about the unlikelihood of war as about the prospects for victory; and 5) plenty of minor disputes that could provide the necessary spark.
He noted the presence of nuclear weapons in Asia is a significant difference compared to pre-WWI Europe: “Nuclear weapons are a new factor which induces at least some caution in how leaders behave. But on the other hand, this works only if both sides have them and many East Asian states, including Japan, do not. They are protected by Washington’s extended nuclear deterrent which makes Japan and others dependent on an increasingly fickle America.”
While the author does not conclude war in Asia is inevitable, he wrote that it will take both “prudent behavior” as well as “providence” to avoid conflict: (more…)Continue Reading →
Iran and the P5 + 1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) are currently engaging in historic negotiations over Iran’s controversial nuclear program. The Joint Plan of Action (JPA), signed in November 2013 and entered into force in January 2014, gives the parties six months to solve the international dispute with a final deal. This fragile détente followed the election of Hassan Rouhani – considered by some to be a voice for moderation in Iran – as president last June. These developments triggered enthusiastic reactions within Asian powers soon after the interim agreement was signed. Several countries in the region have vested interests in Iranian oil for their energy needs as well as important concerns regarding nuclear nonproliferation and regional security issues.
On June 9-10, U.S. officials held bilateral meetings with their Iranian counterparts in Geneva on the status of Iran’s nuclear program. Analysts have predicted the talks will be extended an additional six months to resolve outstanding issues, but the JPA formally expires a year after it entered into force. As the July 20, 2014 extension deadline approaches, this Nuclear Debates in Asia Digest highlights the evolution of diplomatic relations over the past months between Iran and countries in the Nuclear Debates in Asia project. (more…)Continue Reading →
As part of the Rising Powers Initiative’s efforts to analyze and compare the foreign policy thinking in today’s rising powers, we are pleased to announce the launch of the RPI Research Database, a specialized bibliography of books and articles on targeted subjects that reflect the RPI’s ongoing research. Each entry contains an abstract or summary of the article or book. The Database has been compiled by our research staff and is frequently updated with articles and books from 1990 onwards, with emphasis on the latest academic and policy publications.
Countries and regions in the Database include:
- South Korea
- Southeast Asia and ASEAN
Topics and subjects in the Database include:
- Identity and foreign policy
- Energy security, maritime security, and Asian security
- Nuclear energy and nuclear proliferation
- Regional political economy
- U.S. foreign policy in Asia
The Research Database can be accessed here. We hope that this interactive Database is a useful tool for conducting research on rising powers in Asia and for keeping up to date on the latest relevant academic and policy publications. We encourage you to share the Database as a resource with your colleagues, and welcome your feedback and suggestions.Continue Reading →
Henry R. Nau, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, recently wrote an op-ed for Deutsche Welle on the ongoing Ukraine crisis. He argues that NATO should step in the crisis and use a little force to prevent Russia’s use of greater force in the future:
NATO is waking up to the single most important lesson of history. Use a little force early to avoid the use of greater force later. Just think if that lesson had been learned before World War II, says Henry R. Nau.
In Ukraine, a little force is being used early – but by only one side. Russia used a little force to occupy Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, then to annex Crimea, and today to dominate the governance of eastern and perhaps the rest of Ukraine. While Europe and America can’t believe what Russia is doing, Vladimir Putin is already using a little force early to address his next objective. Since 2009 Russia has doubled its military forces along its border with the Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama announces, at a White House news conference, that “military options are not on the table in Ukraine because this is not a situation that would be amenable to a military solution.” Will that be the case too, if Russia beats the West to the use of a little force early in the Baltic states?
Obama, who had no negotiating experience going into the Oval Office, is getting an education. Diplomacy is not a substitute for the use of force, to be used only if diplomacy fails. In fact, diplomacy will fail unless it is backed by force. And when negotiations fail, much more force is needed. (more…)Continue Reading →
On the heels of last month’s Nuclear Security Summit in The Netherlands, Nuclear Debates in Asia project scholar Dr. Hui Zhang recently wrote an op-ed for The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists urging China to join 35 other countries who pledged to follow more rigorous nuclear security rules. Beijing and a handful of others declined to sign on to the joint document — known as the Strengthening Nuclear Security Implementation agreement — which commits leaders to “incorporate the principles and guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding nuclear security into their national laws, and to allow teams of international experts to periodically evaluate their security procedures.” Hui, who is also a senior scholar at Harvard University’s Project on Managing the Atom, explored why China eschewed the joint agreement and why this decision should be reconsidered:
The most significant achievement to emerge from the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit was a pledge by 35 countries to observe the terms of a joint agreement, known as Strengthening Nuclear Security Implementation. This document committed the signatories to incorporate the principles and guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)regarding nuclear security into their national laws, and to allow teams of international experts to periodically evaluate their security procedures. Promoted strongly by the chairs of all three nuclear summits—the United States, South Korea, and the Netherlands— the 2014 initiative is an important step towards creating a robust global security system designed to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Yet China, along with Russia, India, and Pakistan, did not join the pledge. Beijing has not offered any explanations. (more…)Continue Reading →
Last week, world leaders from over 50 countries attended the third Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague, Netherlands to discuss nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism while holding side meetings over the Ukraine crisis and other issues. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from Russia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil on the outcomes of these diplomatic meetings.
RUSSIAContinue Reading →