The four major emerging markets, as they are known to Washington – Brazil, Russia, India and China (and South Africa) – have emerged.
India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement of March 29, 2012 is unequivocal about three things: (a) sustainable development (b) funding for greater integration among the developing countries through a BRIC bank, though central banks can adequately shoulder that responsibility, and (c) BRIC view of geopolitical stability in Asia in the context of the evolving situation in Syria and Iran.
BRIC, which came together for the fourth summit in New Delhi, are experiencing their own political changes:
Brazil has elected its first woman president, Dilma Rousseff, and will be hosting the Olympic Games in Rio de Janero in 2016, besides of course, the 2012 Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 40 years after the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm. Since that conference when the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established, the UN set up the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1983 and a commission led by Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway issued the Brundtland report in 1987, first proposing the concept of sustainable development. The Earth Summit in 1992 brought to the world’s attention the problem of the deleterious atmospheric effects of chloro fluoro carbons (CFCs) in a speech delivered by Severn Cullis-Suzuki @SevernSuzuki. That problem has since been solved.
Russia has elected Vladimir Putin once again to succeed his mentee Dmitry Medvedev. Having experienced the worst of environmental degradation during the Cold War – from the desiccation of Aral Sea in Soviet Central Asia because of ill-planned irrigation schemes to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in Soviet Ukraine – the Russian Federation, home to the richest and the most expansive landmass on the planet spanning two continents with a small and declining population, has a great responsibility to itself and the rest of the world. That said, Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the acceleration of its goodwill efforts since the unilateral disarmament of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991 and the consequent dismantling of the former Soviet Union must be reciprocated in earnest by the United States rather than nursing old wounds out of mistrust in central Europe on the pretext of Iran.
India, a democracy and home to 1.5 billion people by 2050, has grown to become the world’s fifth largest economy. It is self-sufficient in food and adequate in resources provided it continues to grow sustainably to become the world’s largest economy per capita in the next 40 years as a peer of its neighbor China.
China is a country in transition. Given the rising geopolitical risks for open societies around the world, including United States, European Union and India, because of China’s growing economic strength together with its authoritarianism, it could experience a steady to rapid decline in its economic influence before building a more open Chinese prosperity. Mutiparty elections to transition China from Hu Jintao and Wen Jia Bao and cooperation of China on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will, therefore, be welcome.
Iran’s nuclear program can be negotiated to be halted in exchange for oil development by UK, France, Russia – the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) countries.