In This Review

The BRICS and Collective Financial Statecraft
The BRICS and Collective Financial Statecraft
By Cynthia Roberts, Leslie Armijo, and Saori Katada
288 pp, Oxford University Press, 2017

Over a decade ago, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa began working together to strengthen their roles in global governance. This well-researched and insightful book represents the best effort yet to assess the impact of the BRICS, as the group of countries is known. For those who saw the BRICS as a new bloc that would take on the Western liberal order, the results have been disappointing. Several of the countries have fallen on hard economic times, and their interests have often failed to align. But the authors argue that, despite these problems, the grouping is not just an exercise in symbolism. Through trial and error, the BRICS have found a way to cooperate in what the book calls “financial statecraft” to achieve larger foreign policy goals. They have built new institutions, such as the New Development Bank and the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and they have successfully pushed for reforms to the old Bretton Woods system and amplified their own voices within it. What unites these countries, the authors conclude, is less a common vision of a new world order than a “common aversion” to Western hegemony.