The governing bodies of the Bretton Woods institutions are all stages on which rising Non-western States can acquire great-power authority and exercise global leadership. (Ikenberry, 2015:64)
I will argue my case by outlining a few liberal norms that have formed the core narrative of the liberal international order throughout its evolution and is essential to its existence. Further I will elucidate how BRICS nations have more or less conformed to them and not challenged them.
Multilateral Institutional Co-operation
John Ruggie describes multilateralism as an international form which coordinates relations among three or more states on the basis of ‘generalised’ principals of conduct – i.e., principals which specify appropriate conduct for a class of action, without regard to the particularistic interests of the parties or the strategic exigencies that may exist in any specific occurrence. (Ruggie, 1993:11). Multilateralism has been essential to the maintenance of peace and economic success.
Multilateral cooperation was enshrined and disseminated through institution building. The US sought to create new permanent institutions that would manage a widening array of political, economic, and security relationships… New forms of intergovernmental cooperation would need to be invented. (Ikenberry, 2011:179). Organizations like the UN, the World Bank, the IMF and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) formed the core of multilateralism, uniting countries with common interests, thereby offering protection and strength to its members. International organizations remain principal venues of global governance in which decisions made and agreements enforced. They help “in the diffusion of norms and in the patterns of socialization and internalization by which weaker actors come to absorb those norms” (Hurrell, 2006:6-7). It assures states to coordinate their approach to numerous issues of global priority and work towards mutual benefits. International organizations, therefore, serve as important thermometers for the broader politics of global governance (Stephen, 2014:915).
In today’s increasingly globalised world no country can act autonomously and face the complex global challenges that exist, including the BRICS. What we have today is pseudo-multilateralism: a dominant great power acts essentially alone, but, embarrassed at the idea and still worshipping at the shrine of collective security, recruits a ship here, a brigade there, and blessings all around to give its unilateral actions a multilateral sheen (Krauthammer, 1990:25). Europe and the United States are overrepresented in majority of the multilateral institutions. Globalization and denser networks of transnational exchange and communication create increasing demand for international institutions and new forms of governance’ (Hurrell, 2006:8).
BRICS nations are all members of the main international and multilateral institutions and are actively participating in them to leverage for change within them. They have used multilateral mechanisms at their disposal to resolve conflicts and achieve cooperation and peace. The Dublin declaration, 2013 shows their commitment to the principal of multilateralism: We aim at progressively developing BRICS into a full-fledged mechanism of current and long-term coordination on a wide range of key issues of the world economy and politics. (Newman and Zala, 2017:6)