In a recent article published on RealClearWorld, Florida Senator Marco Rubio voiced his concerns about the expanding global economic alliance known as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
Senator Rubio warns that the growing membership of BRICS poses a potential threat to the SWIFT payment system and the United States’ ability to utilize the dollar to impose sanctions on individuals and nations.
BRICS welcomes new members
As of January 1st, BRICS saw an expansion in its membership, welcoming Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Iran into its fold. Senator Rubio specifically highlights Iran as a nation perceived as a significant danger to U.S. personnel in the Middle East and a prominent sponsor of international terrorism.
This expansion effectively doubled the size of BRICS, making it a more appealing alternative to the American and European-led financial system.
Senator Rubio argues that the continued growth of BRICS could make it increasingly difficult for the United States to employ sanctions as a means of preventing international violence and oppression.
The U.S. government has historically used sanctions to pressure nations and individuals who engage in activities contrary to American interests or international norms.
China’s role in BRICS expansion
Senator Rubio goes on to accuse China of playing a pivotal role in sustaining Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine through its influence over BRICS. China’s significant control over the alliance enables BRICS members to pool foreign currency reserves and provide substantial financial support to developing nations, effectively positioning them against the United States and other Western countries.
This financial maneuvering, according to Rubio, allows China to indirectly support Russia’s actions in Ukraine despite the imposition of severe sanctions on Moscow by Western nations. The senator contends that China’s influence within BRICS is aiding Russia’s campaign in Ukraine, which has been widely criticized for its impact on civilian populations and global stability.
BRICS challenge to the U.S.-led world order
In a significant move last year, BRICS approved the admission of several new members, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates. This decision was perceived as challenging the prevailing U.S.-led world order, as it sought to establish an alternative economic and political framework.
Argentina’s decision to withdraw its plans to join BRICS at the last moment, following a change in leadership with the inauguration of President Javier Milei, underscores the complexities surrounding the alignment of economically diverse nations within the alliance.
Implications for global stability
Senator Rubio’s concerns over BRICS expansion raise important questions about the future of global economic alliances and their impact on international stability. While BRICS has sought to provide an alternative to the Western-dominated financial system, its growth has also raised concerns about its potential to undermine the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions, particularly against nations engaged in actions contrary to international norms.
The alliance’s ability to influence financial flows and support developing nations has come under scrutiny, with accusations that it indirectly aids Russia’s actions in Ukraine, despite the international community’s efforts to isolate Moscow through sanctions.