Former United States secretary of state Henry Kissinger once complained that Europe didn’t have a single telephone number. He didn’t know who to turn to as the authentic voice of Europe. The same can be said today about BRICS, the grouping that has come to personify the best and the brightest emerging powers in the global order. BRICS comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s summary exit from his job as the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over allegations of sexual assault has badly exposed the BRICS as an empty vessel that periodically makes a lot of noise.
Hardly six weeks have passed since China hosted the BRICS summit in a trail of glory led by nobody other than President Hu Jintao, while, today, BRICS leaders would turn red in the face with embarrassment if they recalled that the People’s Daily hailed their forum as the "anchor of the global economy and politics."
Strauss-Kahn cannot become the president of France, as he was reported to have wanted. But, equally, his contribution to the making of the world order will exceed present President Nicolas Sarkozy’s. Thanks to the manner in which he quit his job at the IMF, a mad scramble followed to grab his job, which, in turn, has brought to the surface the fault lines in the international system. But for Strauss-Kahn, the birth pangs of the multipolar world wouldn’t have been so audible.
Despite the universal homilies that the world order needs to be democratized, when crunch time came, Western countries rapidly closed ranks and staked their claim in unseemly hurry to keep the IMF job as their exclusive preserve.