Cracks in the BRICS reveal they don’t offer an alternative global alliance.

There is no real club in which India and China can forward a serious alternative to the current world order. They have an unresolved sometimes armed dispute over territories combined roughly the size of North Korea. China and Russia also have buried the hatchet but eyeball each other with profound distrust over what is more a contested frontier than an actual border. For all of China’s railing against imperialism it itself is an unrepentant empire locked in contest with its various neighbors. That especially the domain of a distant European capital extends into what the Chinese consider to be its own territory chafes.

Nuclear weapons keeps conflicts in check. But the BRICS cannot form an alternative. They need the US to be a common geopolitical foe but they also profit hugely from the postwar arrangement and the services of international agencies.

Jim O’Neill’s analysis never was coined to form a basis for a global alliance. All of these nations achieved their stature thanks to the US-led global order and can only suffer from its demise. They’re either in denial over it or are playing along the BRICS fantasy so as not to be the spoiler.

But the American presidency has no clothes the taunts and provocations may yet cause an unraveling of an order that forms the foundation below the BRICS success. What is any BRICS to do without markets? Especially Russia and China are profoundly vulnerable to an international economic shock. It’s not like the US Navy is about to return to base, but with the Republican victory in the midterms we may see a further politicalization of foreign policy and consequent loss of global strategic vision.