A recent blog entry took a first look at Fareed Zakaria’s, ” ThePost-American World” and compared a number of BRICSAM-related features in his book to the well received volume by Parag Khanna, ” The Second World.” I won’t go over trod ground but I thought that Ian Buruma’s insightful analysis in his piece in the April 21st New Yorker an article entitled, “After America: Is the West being overtaken by the rest?” raised one critical dimension distinguishing the BRICSAM countries and worth exploring here.
One notable features in Parag’s analysis is his apparent distataste for democracy . Note in particular his rather judgement of India’s rise as opposed to the other major BRICSAM entry - China. Buruma is quite alert to Parag’s less than ringing endorsement for democratic values. Now I suspect Parag is less critical when it comes to liberalism as opposed to just democracy but my interest in this characteristic is principally whether it has a influence in limiting collaboration by the BRICSAM Community of states, especially in the development of global governance organizations and institutions? Can the BRICSAM be embedded in current global governanace organizations and institutions, especially in the global security dimension?
Buruma in his article explores the “democracy’ question not only by examining the above two authors but by extending the examination to a number of additional ones including former Economist editor, Bill Emmott and his recent book: ” Rivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India and Japan Will Shape Our Next Decade,” and Robert Kagan’s, ” The Return of History and the End of Dreams.” Buruma raises a critical question for the BRICSAM and for global governance generally - can we build with the RIsing BRICSAM new global governance institutions, extending to global security? Burumu’s answer, in part, relying at least from the perspective of Robert Kagan who Buruma refers to as, “perhaps the cleverest of the neoconservatives is: “The idea of embedding the growing powers of Asia, Russia, and the Middle East in the kind of new liberal order favored by people like Fareed Zakaria is, for Kagan, a hopeless dream.”
Such skepticism is jolting. Certainly for many of us concerned with global governance and Rising BRICSAM, the matter barely arises. I think there is a presumption that finding or crafting the appropriate global rules, principles and norms will provide the fertile ground for new organizations and incentivize Great powers to take leading roles in enhanced global governance including the new emerging powers - the BRICSAM.
Here at CIGI we have a number of projects where there is detailed inquiry into the BRICSAM in new global governance organizations. There is CIGI’s Distinguished Fellow, Andy Cooper’s project (I mentioned it in earlier contributions). His Project entitled, “Economic Diplomacy: Reaching Out to BRICSAM: The Heilgendamm (I do wish sometimes the German leadership had chosen Berlin - so much easier to remember) Process and Beyond.” Here experts from all the BRICSAM countries, even including the ASEAN (we are planning to house the Project’s virtual face at the BRICSAM Community Portal) are examining, among other things, the willingness and collaborative behavior among the BRICSAM countries as well as their willingness to engage with the G7/8.
Greg Chin of York University in Toronto and a Senior Fellow at CIGI is driving a new Project on China’s new economic diplomacy. China scholars including a number from China as well as from Europe and North America have engaged around narrating Chinese efforts, influence and activities in a variety of key economic governance institutions including in - the environment, corporate governance and Chinese foreign invetsment abroad and China’s engagement in the WTO and the IFIs as well as at the UN and global security.
Finally, I’ve been engaged with Andy Cooper in launching the next version of “Can the World be Governed?” Beginning again with author presentations and group discussion at what has become a biennial event, the Princeton Summer Workshop, this version of the Global Institutional Reform (GIR) Workshop is on the ‘launch pad’ so to speak. This version of “Can the World be Governed?” will be subtitled “Rising States; Rising Institutions.” As the subtitle suggests this GIR Workshop is focussing on the BRICSAM - in particular Brazil, China and India, and also their impact on US and EU leadership with separate chapters on these current global governance heavyweights. We will also be looking at global energy, the ‘War on Terror’ and nuclear proliferation at the IAEA and the UN. More on the Princeton Summer Workshop and the authors’ work as we approach the event in August.
Having digressed let me rewind if just briefly to Ian Buruma and the BRICSAM inquiries we have been up to at CIGI. It appears that the BRICSAM especially China but not only China are reticient over ‘cutting edge concerns’ over human rights, intervention and the doctrine of the ‘Responsibility to Protect.’ China in particular is a stout defender of sovereignty and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of states (this goes back to the 50s). China believes, or its leadership says it believes, in sovereignty as the only protection for human rights in the international system. The Great powers, especially through the P5, have been able to accomodate China’s strong opposition to intervention and its continuing support for sovereignty but tensions remain over proposals to intervene in current crisis situations, eg Darfur and possibly once again in Myanmar. I would suggest however, that continued relucatnce to act on the part of China and Russia will leave on the table suggestions for democratic and liberal states to form coalitions of the willing, if nothing more formal, to act in various humanitarian crisis situations.
Even among the BRICSAM the democratic-authoriatrian divide is apparently relevant. The best example to date would appear to be the creation of IBSA a proposal from the Brazilian leader, Lula that brought together Brazil, India and South Africa three of 6 BRICSAM. There is evidence that this grouping was suggested by Brazilian leadership because all members were democratic. The non-invitation for China apparently arose over Lula’s sensitivity and strong support for democratic values.
Buruma ties back the question of democratic integrity to the analysis by Robert Kagan. As Buruma suggests, “He [Kagan] poses the key question: “Can autocrats enter the liberal international order without succumbing to the forces of liberalism/” If the answer is no, that would be a pretty good reason to try to ensure them in it.” This contemporary conclusion then is that democratic liberalism is a key charateristic in global governance leadership but one that today divides such leadership. This divide is important and likely to influence the course of global leardership.