Seeing the BRICS from a New Angle
Since the term BRIC was first coined in a 2001 Goldman Sachs report, much has been said and written about the growing importance of the Brazil, Russia, India and China grouping, in particular their economic potency. But little has been said, outside of analysis on China, about how the four fare in terms of soft power. This volume explores this important but neglected side of the story.
The story of the BRICS (South Africa was added in 2011) is not merely about a group of states claiming a greater share of global hard power, it is also about an effort to change the underlying principles on which the global order is founded. As the BRICS slowly emerge as an alternative forum that can stand up to the dominant worldview of established economies, soft power is increasingly seen as a crucial element of their power inventory. Five of the seven articles in this volume assess the soft power of the bloc’s individual nations, while two examine the BRICS as an entity.
The authors contend that although the BRICS countries fall short of the leading Western powers in most dimensions of soft power, they still can be expected to change the international landscape of relative influence, particularly when their effort to delegitimize the current international order create the conditions for the emergence of a revisionist, counterhegemonic coalition. When the BRICS countries advocate counter-liberal values and principles over liberal ones to be shared by non-liberal developing states, their soft power becomes influential. But is this still soft power in its original sense? We may need to rethink the liberally-biased notion of soft power.
Putin views Russia’s position in the international community as a ‘besieged fortress.’
Emerging Powers in International Politics: The BRICS and Soft Power Edited byMathilde Chatin & Giulio M. Gallarotti Routledge, 2018, 180 pages, $140.00 (Hardcover)