Will 2012 be the Year of the MIST (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey) in the worlds of global governance? Even a cursory look at trends indicates that this may be the case. Yes, the BRICS get more attention in the media and, in terms of structural capabilities, the BRICS-centric perspective is well deserved. What began as a concept by Goldman Sachs has emerged into a geo-political entity of some considerable standing.
In sheer size of economies the MIST group are at a striking disadvantage. Yet, in terms of diplomatic profile – and certainly soft power – MIST is on the rise. As the World Service of the BBC highlights suggests through adverts and polls, Indonesia is a G20 country increasingly recognized as a major site of investment and source of innovation.
Although beset by debilitating internal issues, Mexico has a huge opportunity to re-energize the G20 after an erosion of effectiveness over the past two years. To his credit, President Calderon has already his signaled his intention to make sustainable growth the central agenda item of the June 2012 Los Cabos summit. Korea has moved from a country the brand of which was mainly corporate via MNCs such as Hyundai and Samsung, to a source of attractive popular culture and development model.
At the top of the MIST group, however, rests Turkey. Although (or because!) it has been kept out of the European Union, Turkey has levered its geographic location to be the emergent diplomatic powerhouse of the Middle East and beyond. How and where Turkey directs its innovative diplomacy in a differentiated fashion from not only the central BRICS but traditional middle powers – merits a re-balancing of focus that this blog (among many other themes) will illuminate.