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The BRICS New World Order and the Impact on the War on Drugs

An alternative to the G-7, that is what the BRICS countries are aiming for in this current junction of the geopolitical world order. The fastest growing emerging markets, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, are capitalizing on the West’s inability to maintain control of the geopolitical world order under the current dynamics of the post-pandemic world.[1] Their vision is simple, to reevaluate their dependent relationship with the West and develop new systems and mechanisms that will provide emerging markets an autonomous and sovereign path to sustainable economic development. Their eagerness to become the new voice of the Global South represents a historic alternative to tackle social, economic, political, and environmental issues across the developing world, including Western imposed models and institutional solutions to their own biased geopolitical agendas, including the War on Drugs.

BRICS countries, representing close to forty percent of the world’s population, believe that the geopolitical dynamics are shifting from a unipolar to a “multipolar” world, and no longer accept the traditional domination of the West and more particularly the United States.[2] Moreover, the group shares the vision that the solutions to the geopolitical tensions, fast-growing inequality, migration, and global insecurity may only come from the disenfranchised regions themselves and not the West. Revising the mission, vision, and objectives of the West’s War on Drugs would be part of this new geopolitical initiative, something that would threaten the interests of numerous direct and indirect stakeholders that for decades have capitalized on this lucrative and inhumane international policy solution for the issue of narcotics trafficking. As indicated by India’s Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the “old ways cannot address new situations.”[3]


Ending the dependency on the Western constructed multilateral system, of which the War on Drugs is part of, would result in new domestic and regional solutions to the social, economic, political, and environmental problems that currently result from the enforcement of supply-based narcotics eradication campaigns across the developing world. Moreover, the Global South’s dependency on War on Drugs-related foreign aid would be terminated, thus ending the systemic structures that have perpetuated the continuous implementation of a failed international drug eradication policy.

The potential of nineteen more countries joining the BRICS bloc could threaten the balance of power of the geopolitical system, tilting it toward the emerging markets of the world and for that matter the BRICS themselves. The move toward greater autonomy, the cutting of the West’s umbilical cord, may become even closer to reality if new members distance themselves from the US dollar and adopt a potential BRICS common currency.


This collective move against the US dollar would threaten the influence and power of the American currency, ultimately tilting the balance toward the BRICS bloc. The potential size and influence of the alliance would “collectively outweigh not only the reigning hegemon, the United States, but the entire G-7 weight class put together.”[4] Hypothetically, this could result in member countries breaking their dependency on the United States for international trade and lending.[5] The BRICS bloc would replace the US and the West in other areas as well, including security and economic development.

In the case of control of narcotics trafficking, the US and other Western nations would also lose their influence. The chapter of systemic dependency structures that have hindered the economic development of illicit drug producing nations, such as Colombia, would come to an end. The supply-based strategy would be terminated and so would the coercive mechanisms of control such as the drug certification policies and other regulatory structures that currently control the local decisions of social, economic, and military aid.

The dependency on the US Dollar as the dominant global currency for formal and informal trade is what keeps the status quo alive. A weaker US Dollar would limit the influence of the West, while at the same time curtailing the impact of its multilateral system and international policies that currently determine the geopolitical order.


The potential challenge that the BRICS bloc brings to the current world order is welcomed by the leaders of many of the nations in the developing world that recognize that an alignment with non-Western nations could positively alter their long-term economic development trajectory. It also brings hopes to regions of the world that have been oppressed and whose economic development has been negatively impacted by the policies erected by the West in order to construct and maintain the current world order. This, of course, includes the War on Drugs.


A revision of the world order inevitably results in a revision on the War on Drugs. The BRICS alliance, the potential road to greater sovereignty and autonomy across the developing world, means the possibility of countries like Colombia to make their own decisions on the regulation of narcotics production and trafficking. More influential perhaps could be the redirection of the War on Drugs from supply-based to demand-based solutions.

The BRICS alliance could result in the construction of a new world order where Western nations are also held accountable for their own actions under the same normative system.[6] Where sovereign decisions across the developing world will not be threatened by potential invasions, military aggressions, coup d’états, economic embargoes, or punitive international policies.[7] Solutions that may finally have a positive impact on the ground in places where violence and destruction has been the norm.


 

[1] Originally coined by the economist Jim O’Neill who created the acronym BRICs in 2001 to describe the fast-growing economies that would potentially dominate the global market system by 2050. Initially it only included Brazil, Russia, India and China, South Africa would be added in 2010. For more information see, for example, Jim O’Neill. “Building Better Global Economic BRICs.” Goldman Sachs: Global Investment Research, November 2001. Accessed June 22, 2023. https://www.goldmansachs.com/intelligence/archive/building-better.html [2] Oliver Slow. “BRICS ministers call for rebalancing of global order away from West.” BBC News, June 2, 2023. Accessed June 13, 2023. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-65784030 [3] Slow. “BRICS ministers call for rebalancing of global order away from West.” [4] Joseph W. Sullivan. “A BRICS Currency could Shake the Dollar’s Dominance.” FP. April 24, 2023. Accessed June 16, 2023. https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/04/24/brics-currency-end-dollar-dominance-united-states-russia-china/ [5] Sullivan. “A BRICS Currency could Shake the Dollar’s Dominance.” [6] Oto Higuita. “Colombia: ¿de un mundo unipolar hacia uno multipolar?” Telesurtv.net. May 8, 2023. Accessed June 16, 2023. https://www.telesurtv.net/bloggers/Colombia-de-un-mundo-unipolar-hacia-uno-multipolar-20230508-0001.html [7] Higuita. “Colombia: ¿de un mundo unipolar hacia uno multipolar?”

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