Many foreigners see the US as a lawless nation. How else to characterise a country that holds out a set of laws for others – on war, debt repayment and the treatment of prisoners – but ignores them itself?
It is no mystery to other countries how the US remains above the law. Foreigners see a financial system backed by American military bases encircling the globe. The IMF, World Bank, World Trade Organisation and other Washington surrogates are seen as vestiges of a lost American empire no longer able to rule by economic strength, left only with military domination. They see this hegemony cannot continue without adequate revenues and are attempting to hasten the bankruptcy of the US financial-military world order.
US officials wanted to attend Yekaterinburg as observers. They were told no. It is a word that Americans will hear much more in the future.
Mark Chandler, Global Currency Strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, had a slightly different take on this summit recently ("Bric or Crib?"):
Brazil, Russia, India and China, now collectively known as the BRICs, will hold a summit in Russia on June 16th. Besides the Goldman Sachs invented moniker, these countries have very little in common except for the fact that they believe, to seemingly varying degrees of intensity, that they deserve greater influence in the conduct of world affairs than they currently have. And given the enormity of US power, as hard-core realists, they know any increase in their power and influence will come at the expense of America’s.
One of the most important reasons why the BRICs do not have the economic clout that they would like is frankly they don’t deserve it. Goldman-Sachs had a story (and more) to sell with its BRICs concept, but those same letters spell a real word, CRIB. The point is that the countries, outside of China, are not among the largest.
According to Bloomberg data, at the end of last year, China was the fourth largest economy ($3.2 trillion), behind the US, Japan, and Germany. This of course takes the Chinese data at face value, and given the often large gaps between energy production and reported GDP growth, as well as the amazing consistency of the pace of growth, many often cast a suspicious eye on Chinese data.
With a GDP of $1.3 trillion in 2008, Brazil was the 10th largest economy, though it is roughly half the size of France, which is the 6th largest economy. Russia and India were neck-and-neck for 11th and 12th places with each having produced about $1.2 trillion of goods and services last year. Spain’s economy is nearly 20% bigger than Russia’s and India’s, and it is the 8th largest economy. Together the BRICs account for a little more than 12% of the world’s GDP, and China alone accounts for half of that.