The BRICS emerging economies will launch a development bank at a summit this week which President Vladimir Putin hopes will help reduce Western dominance of world financial institutions and show Moscow is not isolated.
Recent diplomatic rows with countries like Brazil are no secret and President Obama is working to repair bilateral relations with the strategically important countries before he leaves the oval office for good.
So, where does the power of the NDB lie? Precisely in its limited, yet politically powerful, BRICS membership. Its lessened economic power is compensated for by its vast soft power, merely by the fact of limiting its membership to the founding BRICS members.
There’s a vintage example of American exceptionalism in the Financial Times this week, by the paper’s US editor Gary Silverman. The article is about the appointment of Trevor Noah to the vacant Jon Stewart berth on The Daily Show. But Noah’s controversial Twitter history isn’t what concerns Silverman. Instead, he sees Noah’s career arc – growing up bi-racial in Soweto, where “my existence itself was a crime”, emigrating to America, working his way up in short order to the most prestigious satire gig in the country – as a classic tale of “American soft power”.
With the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) coming into operation with the support of UK, France, Germany and such Western states and the BRICS Bank set to start off, China seems to have taken over the International Aid Regime.