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The new BRICS expansion and the Global South agenda
The new BRICS expansion | Quick Take | GZERO Media

The new BRICS expansion and the Global South agenda

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. And a happy end of summer back to school. Labor Day is coming up in a week and I am going to be back and at it in New York and around the world. But for now, a Quick Take and want to talk a little bit about the BRICS.

You saw the summit last week in South Africa, the headlines going into the summit, at least from the United States and its allies, was all about how Putin wasn't going to be allowed to attend. He had to attend virtually. One of the members of the BRICS, they can only send their foreign minister. Doesn't that show that, you know, the International Criminal Court means something, even though the Americans aren't actually a signatory to it? But that wasn't the real story.

The real story is that after a significant amount of Chinese diplomatic effort to expand the BRICS and make it more meaningful, which other members were skeptical about, there was significant success and an announcement that there will be six new members invited to join at the beginning of 2024. That's a very meaningful expansion. Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina, UAE, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Presuming this all goes ahead, the BRICS will be the most important grouping of the so-called Global South. And I use that term advisedly because it's not quite clear that China is really a member of the Global South. It's much more important economically as a creditor of the Global South and increasingly wanting to have great influence over it, which a lot of members of the Global South want to resist. I'll get into that in a minute. But still, if you compare to what's been going on among the developing members of the G-20 to try to set a common agenda that more aligns with their interests as opposed to those of the United States and its allies in the G-7 who have become increasingly tight-knit post-Trump and post the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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Why is OPEC+ cutting oil production? Why is the US unhappy about it?

Well, unhappy about it because it's 2 million barrels a day off the markets, and that means higher oil prices. Why is OPEC+ cutting production? Higher oil prices. They used to say they liked 80, but now that it's been 90, 100 to 120 for a while. They like 90, 100, 120. So, they're pushing it up. I don't think it has anything to do with politics. I don't think it has anything to do with the midterm elections in the US. I think it has a lot to do with the Saudis and the Emirates and the Russians. Yes, part of OPEC+, they've got similar interests on this and they're still talking as a consequence, going to make life a little bit more difficult for the average consumer at the pump. That's what we're talking about. Big question is, do the Iranians still move ahead with an Iranian deal? I would say no, but by the way, they're the one country that you'd expect that would've recognized the annexation of the Ukrainian regions and the North Koreans did. The Iranians did not. Let's watch what happens over the next few days. It's an interesting one.

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