BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) currently meeting in South Africa and considering expansion. BRICS currently accounts for 40% of world’s population. Possible new entrants include: Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. It’s setting itself up as an alternative to the G-7
I would worry less about BRICS if India hadn’t taken its recent hard-right turn. Brazil also seems to be teetering between democracy and authoritarianism, although since I’m living in the US I’m not sure I’m in any position to point fingers on that score. For now Trumpian authoritarianism has been at least temporarily defeated in both US and Brazil.
WSJ video (below) mentions that India and Brazil are both worried about expansion and including more authoritarian regimes, so that’s at least something. But China (and Russia) want to set it up as an Authoritarian power block to counter the G-7.
I propose: Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Indonesia, and Thailand to become SHITBRICS.
In all seriousness, if they expand and become primarily authoritarian countries I almost worry less about that. Expansion plus a couple strong authoritarians hiding behind a bunch of weakish democratic countries worries me more. I just don’t think a bunch of authoritarians are going to be able to keep their little club together without some strong unifying ideology other than being authoritarians.
The challenge for the West I think is that this sort of collection of nations (Russia and China are sort of special cases obviously, but they end up here because they now share the same sort of outsider status) has its roots in some very real grievances with former imperial powers, and current and past hegemons, and in general some rather reasonable level of distrust of the USA, western Europe, etc.
During the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement included countries that felt squeezed between the USSR and the USA, and while in the USA we tended to be very suspicious of these countries, our fears that they were merely pawns of the USSR were largely unsubstantiated. We were correct though in thinking that these countries did not necessarily have the same priorities we did. Unfortunately, in the climate of the Cold War, that alone was enough to make engagement with anyone who wasn’t wholly on our side difficult.
Not that the BRICS folks are paragons or anything. In many cases, they are taking stands on climate for instance that are not helpful at all. Many of these nations are pursuing domestic agendas that are the antithesis of what we would want in our countries. But from their POV, some of what they are talking about makes sense. There is a definite “we got ours, now you can’t have yours” vibe to a lot of interactions between the West and the rest of the world sometimes.