(Photo Credit: Darthdowney’s Photostream)
Former Secretary of State and Grand Strategist Par Excellence Henry Kissinger gave an interview to the Christian Science Monitor‘s Nathan Gardels earlier this week in which he provided a mostly positive assessment of President Obama’s foreign policy thus far.
The part of the interview I found most significant was his analysis of the burgeoning political ties among Brazil, Russia, India, and China (known as the BRIC countries), a group which has generated a great deal of interest in recent years as a possible counterweight to American power and American-dominated international institutions.
This article from The Economist, for example, provides a good primer on the bloc’s strengths and weaknesses.
Here are Kissinger’s comments, which I interpret to constitute a dismissal of the BRICs strategic relevance:
Gardels: For the second year in a row, Brazil, Russia, India, and China – the so-called “BRIC” countries – have held a summit of their heads of state to coordinate diplomatic and economic strategies on a global scale. It is almost as if the BRIC leaders see themselves as a “new nonaligned movement” of countries like we saw in the cold war. How do you view the BRIC initiatives? What role will they play globally?
Kissinger: We’ve been through this with the nonaligned movement. The question is whether the BRICs can align their policies into a coherent bloc. China and Russia, and, for that matter Brazil, are not candidates for a group that excludes the United States, much less to confront it. They are different from the nonaligned movement of the 1970s and 1980s because they are not really developing countries anymore.
Also, the nonaligned movement was attempting to place itself between the US and the Soviet Union. Between whom and whom are the BRICs situating themselves?
Gardels: They are defining themselves against the United States and the multilateral institutions it dominates, such as the IMF [International Monetary Fund].
Kissinger: This is true more in rhetoric than practice. The BRICs will attempt to be a player on global economic questions. But I would be surprised if they could achieve a coherent political position on the international scene. In any event, the most hopeful prospect is cooperation between the BRIC states and America, not confrontation.
The full interview can be read here.
— Ben Katcher