Vol. 58, No. 2

In this edition

With Congress coming off a contentious debate that saw it approve critical aid and military assistance for key American allies around the world, one leader in the United States Senate is saying it’s time for Congress to start paying more attention to some of our key allies closer to home.  The leader is U.S. Sen. […]

Taxes: What’s at Stake in 2025

Next year, Congress and the White House will be presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revisit America’s tax policies.

Navigating the Upcoming Tax Cliff

Taxes are set to rise in 2026. A lot. Without a concerted effort, preventing these tax hikes will significantly add to the deficit.

A Smart Way to Reduce the Tax Burden and Promote Economic Growth

Lawmakers must prioritize policies that come with the biggest “bang for the buck” — that is, what policies will bring the most growth for the least cost?

What a Pro-Family Tax Code Should Look Like

While some policies may look friendly to families, we must consider the tax code as a whole and in the context of a global economy.

It’s Time for the U.S. to Refocus on Latin America

With China’s influence growing in the Western Hemisphere, it is time for the United States to re-engage with our allies in the region.

The Emerging Threat of BRICS

Led by Russia and China, this nine-nation coalition has one goal — to weaken the United States.

Why Guyana is Poised to be the U.S.’s Most Strategic Ally in the Americas

Nearly 10 years after discovering a significant amount of oil off its shore, Guyana is becoming a strategic outpost for U.S. interests in the Americas.

Trade Policy Under Biden:

After disparaging the trade policies of his predecessor, President Biden has surprised man by embracing these same policies of his own.

Why 2024 could be the Year for Federal Paid Family Leave

The U.S. is one of only seven countries without some form of paid family and medical leave.

Republicans Should Maintain Bipartisan Support for PEPFAR

By providing support to partner countries, the U.S. forges both health and diplomatic ties.

Working Class Folks are the New Political Base and Republicans Have the Advantage

The GOP’s new voters need relief from both government and the private sector.

Ripon Profile of James Lankford

James Lankford discusses the crisis at America’s southern border.

The Emerging Threat of BRICS

Led by Russia and China, this nine-nation coalition has one goal — to weaken the United States

The BRICS is a coalition of nine (and likely growing) emerging market nations that, according to the group, have “values and common interests that underlie mutually beneficial cooperation and a shared vision for a better world.” The group takes its name from its founding members Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and now includes the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Ethiopia and Iran. By some estimates, BRICS accounts for 45 percent of the world’s population and over a quarter of world GDP.  Despite its anodyne self-description, BRICS also represents a fundamental threat to the American economy.

BRICS took its inspiration from a 2001 paper by a Wall Street investment analyst, who wrote that “(i)n view of the expected continued relative growth of the BRICs, the opportunity should be taken to incorporate China and probably Brazil and Russia and possibly India” into the Group of Eight (G8) nations. The G8, consisting of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and the European Union, had been meeting in various iterations since the 1970s to help coordinate economic policy, especially in response to global crises.  Among the G8’s core values are “confidence in democracy and a market-based economy,” as stated in its May 2023 “Leaders’ Communique.” The Group has expanded over time, even briefly including Russia as a member in 1998 until its invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

The idea of increased representation for developing economies was well received by the G8. China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa were invited to participate in G8 meetings beginning in 2005.  However, by 2009 the four founding BRIC nations were disenchanted enough with the leadership and priorities of the G8 that they met to form their own group.  In 2010 South Africa was added.

The BRICS is founded on what might be deemed the Russia-China consensus, the fundamental premise of which is that the U.S. is too strong.

As this brief history makes clear, BRICS was created as a sort of mirror G8 purportedly championing the underrepresented, up-and-coming, developing world.  However, while the G8 counts democracy, free markets, and the rule of law among its fundamental values, the BRICS feels no such obligation.  The G8 was founded on the “Washington consensus” that developed after World War II, which held that multilateral institutions committed to human rights and a rules-based world are the best way to create prosperity and ensure peace. The BRICS is founded on what might be deemed the Russia-China consensus, the fundamental premise of which is that the U.S. is too strong.

In light of this, it would be a mistake to view BRICS as primarily a threat to the G8. Completely aside from the principled and reasonable re-evaluation of America’s participation in various multinational organizations that the Republican Party is currently undertaking, BRICS is not about challenging multinational cooperation.  The BRICS is focused on weakening the United States.

BRICS is actively seeking to expand lending throughout Asia, Africa, and South America through the creation of the New Development Bank, a multilateral bank created by the group in 2014. While serving as an alternative source of financing to the IMF and World Bank, which China in particular views as advancing American and western interests, the NDB provides leverage over developing countries which can facilitate commercial opportunities and the overseas placement of military capabilities.

In light of this, it would be a mistake to view BRICS as primarily a threat to the G8 … The BRICS is focused on weakening the United States.

BRICS is also seeking to develop an alternative currency or currencies that can replace the dominant role played in global trade by the U.S. dollar.  This could occur through the creation of a new currency by BRICS, or by further encouraging the use of BRICS-member country currencies in international trade.  This latter effort has already been successful in allowing Russia to continue to sell oil to India and China despite economic sanctions leveled in response to the Ukraine invasion; Vladimir Putin noted at the BRICS summit last August that “the objective, irreversible process of de-dollarization of our economic ties is gaining momentum.”  Now that Iran, which shares with Russia the distinction of being both a major oil producer and among the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world, has joined BRICS, one can expect the market for non-dollar denominated oil trading to grow further.

Some have dismissed the BRICS threat on the grounds that its members have different, and sometimes conflicting, interests.  This misses the point; while membership may change, BRICS will fundamentally remain a coalition of nations opposed to America’s role in the world.  As of yet, not enough attention is being paid to this still emerging threat to our national interests.

There may come a day when America must take direct action to discourage BRIC membership. But today, fortunately, our weapons against the BRICS threat are also good things for America: limited government,  reducing the debt, enacting pro-growth policies, encouraging individual liberty and the rule of law. By remaining true to our fundamental values, America can set an example for other countries to follow, which may be the best deterrent of all.

Gregory Zerzan is Chief Administrative Officer of enCore Energy Corp.  He previously served as Principal Deputy Solicitor of the U.S. Department of the Interior under President Trump and Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Bush.