VALDAI: BRICS Outreach

Valdai Club

The BRICS International: On the Legacy of Visions of Regional and Global Cooperation
Our ability to reach unity in
diversity will be the beauty and the
test of our civilization.
Mahatma Gandhi

One of the key strengths of BRICS resides in their diversity and in their capability to offer multiple paths to modernization. In effect BRICS harbor the potential for driving the development of the global economy along the multiple paths of economic models rather than convergence towards one set of prescriptions. A crucial component of this multiplicity in economic models will be diversity of economic alliances and regional integration patterns pursued by the developing economies. In this regard, perhaps the most striking commonality in all five BRICS countries is the legacy of some of the foremost schools of thought and visions of continental, regional and global integration. All five BRICS countries have a rich legacy of aspiring for greater unity and cooperation across borders, regions and continents. 

In Russia’s case that kind of vision of continental integration is represented by the Eurasian school of thought (most notably by Petr Savitskiy, Georgiy Vernadskiy and Nikolay Trubetskoy) that emerged nearly a century ago. The theory holds that Russia’s development strategy should take into account factors what make it distinct from other countries, namely, its geographical, historical, cultural, and economic peculiarities. According to Lev Gumilev, one of the foremost theorists of the Eurasian school of thought, a key tenet of the theory is polycentrism, which implies that “there are many centers in the world. Europe is the center of the world, but so is Palestine. And the same goes for Iberia and China”. Another important facet of Eurasianism is the commonality of the Eurasian space, which makes it amenable to integration and closer cultural and economic ties. From a present-day perspective, the heritage of Eurasianism has particular relevance for pursuing Eurasian continental integration through the creation of economic alliances and transport corridors linking Asia and Europe.

Elsewhere in the developing world, a rich integrationist tradition emerged in Latin America, where one of the early champions of the unification cause in the region was Simon Bolivar, who back in 1815 (Cartagena manifesto) called for the Spanish American provinces to act together in the face of external aggression. He worked on various integration projects such as “Gran Colombia” as well as the “Bolivian Federation”, with continental unification being the loadstar of his efforts as a statesman, whose call to the nations of the continent was: “In the unity of our nations rests the glorious future of our peoples.”

About Ove Svidén

Ove Svidén was born on March 10, 1937 at 12:15 in Stockholm, Sweden. M.Sc., 1960, Aircraft Engineering, KTH, Royal Inst. of Technology, Stockholm. B.A., 1980, Psychology, Education, Politics at Linköping University. Received a Ph.D. 1989, on Scenarios, Dept. Management and Economics, Linköping University. Futures Research 1988-91, Systems Engineering and Consensus Formation Office at Drive Project, DGXIII, Brussels. CEO at ARISEeeig on Road Transport Informatics, 1992-99, Brussels. President, World Peace Foundation from 2001-, Stockholm (www.peace.se).
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