The BASIC bloc of countries in UN negotiations have too often ended up collaborating and colluding with the inaction of industrialised countries, undermining the future of the poor in their own countries and throughout the South.
South Africa under the ANC and its alliance with the BRICS promised a more moral, democratic vision of global governance, but in practice its foreign policy has been too often swayed by narrow commercial interests and short-term growth.
The BRICS are following the pattern traditionally adopted by Northern countries of enclosing and exploiting land, both nationally and abroad, to benefit capital and global agro-industrialisation. They are also using law and diplomacy, notably Bilateral Investment Agreements, in order to facilitate access to foreign land, and foster their own economic interests.
The BRICS challenge to US imperial power is an important development, but building a more humane and ecologically sustainable world will require fundamental changes to the politics and policies practiced by the emerging powers.