Wednesday, May 14, 2008

BRIC Summit

The foreign ministers of Brazil, China, India and Russia will begin their quadrilateral meetings today in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Who would have predicted ten years ago that this would happen?

What is interesting about the announced agenda is its focus on economic and commercial issues--including energy, the role of biofuels, the question of food security, and the impact of the slowdown of the U.S. economy.

My sense is that a common theme will also be complaining about the "dysfunctionality" of the U.S. role in the world--and ways in which these four countries can insulate themselves from American-inspired volatility.

All four countries are riding high these days--China has more than $1.5 trillion in foreign reserves, Russia at $500 billion, India at $300 billion, and Brazil at $200 billion. Breaking them into two classes, you have two leading manufacturing powers and two leading resource providers--so increasing synergies benefits them.

I doubt we will see much public posturing against Washington--after all, Brazil and India are cultivating much better relations with the United States--but I think there will be a high degree of receptiveness to the argument that the four should work more closely together.

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