Condemning Washington's "hegemonic mindset" and sanctions, China strengthened its strategic partnership with Venezuela. The oil-rich South American nation's President Nicolás Maduro took a historic trip to Beijing, and applied to join BRICS. Ben Norton analyzes the important geopolitical and economic consequences.
Democracy Now! As a two-day BRICS summit gets underway in South Africa, we speak with author and analyst Vijay Prashad about whether the bloc — which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — can meaningfully challenge U.S. and Western domination in world affairs by building an alternative forum for countries of the Global South. BRICS countries represent 40% of the world's population and a quarter of the world's economy, and the group is now considering a possible expansion to more than 20 other countries. " BRICS is an instrument to push forward their political views, which they feel are not taken seriously, " says Prashad, director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. Prashad explains the history of BRICS and its New Development Bank and responds to criticism that BRICS falsely portrays itself as an anti-imperialist project. The BRICS countries " are not a socialist bloc, " says Prashad, but they " don't want to