As US hegemony wanes in the face of dysfunctional domestic politics, foreign policy confusion, and a “lead from behind” mentality, the world has begun to transition towards a kind of new world order both politically and economically.
On the geopolitical front, we’ve seen a resurgent Russia take charge in Syria after the situation spiraled out of control, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and creating the worst migrant crisis in Europe’s history.
On the economic front, the BRICS nations have embarked on a series of projects designed to supplant the US-led multinational institutions that have dominated the post-war world.
In what has become one of the bigger stories of the year, China has established its own development bank (the AIIB) and after the UK broke with Washington to support the new venture back in March, the floodgates opened with US ally after US ally jumping on the bandwagon. Although Beijing has promised it doesn’t intend to use the bank as an instrument of foreign policy or as a means of promoting yuan hegemony, the renminbi is set to play a prominent role in loans issued by the bank and there’s little question that development lending will bolster China’s attempt to establish a kind of Sino-Monroe Doctrine. Beijing has similar ambitions with the Silk Road Fund (see our full breakdown here), although part of the story there looks to revolve around an effort to provide a kind of pressure valve for the country's excess industrial capacity.
And then there is of course the BRICS bank, which officially launched along with a reserve currency pool back in July. The following chart does a nice job of demonstrating why the bank matters:
Much like the AIIB, the BRICS bank is in many respects a response to what the emerging world views as an abject failure on the part of existing multilateral institutions to provide representation that’s commensurate with the growing clout of influential emerging economies.
Given this, and given what we know about the extent to which the current situation in the Mid-East has served to strengthen ties between Moscow and Tehran, it should come as no surprise that Iran is now set to join the BRICS bank. Here’s RT:
Tehran intends to participate in the BRICS New Development Bank, the Iranian Tasnim news agency reported on Monday, citing an Iranian official.
The Iranian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Mohammad Khazaee said at a meeting of a joint Iran-Brazil economic council that the country is aiming to join the BRICS bank.
More, from PressTV:
Iranian officials said on Monday that the country plans to join an independent bank established by BRICS member states.
The announcement was made by Mohammad Khazaei, Iran’s deputy economy minister for development affairs, at conference on Iran-Brazil economic cooperation.
The agreement to establish the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), with an initial capitalization of $100 billion, was signed by the BRICS member states — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — during the group's 6th summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in July 2014.
The bank is meant to act as an alternative to the existing American and European-dominated financial institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
It was officially launched at the last BRICS summit in the Russian city of Ufa earlier this year.
Khazaei said Iran’s joining the NDB will help the expansion of economic relations with all BRICS states, specifically Brazil.
And while now might not be a particularly opportune time to be aligning with Brazil economically, the following (again from state affiliate PressTV) underscores the extent to which Tehran is quickly shedding the pariah state label and marking a swift return to the world stage:
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has stressed the importance of improving relations with Brazil given the country’s special position in Latin America and in the BRICS group of major emerging economies.
“This country (Brazil) has always been among priorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy,” Zarif said in a meeting with Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Trade Armando Monteiro in Tehran on Monday.
He added that Iran has great potentialities to open new markets and can help Brazil’s access to the Central Asian region.
Zarif said Tehran and Brasilia are seeking a new roadmap to develop common interests, adding that the two sides’ enterprises and banking and economic institutes can play an important role in this regard.
He noted that Iran and Brazil enjoy great opportunities for strengthening cooperation in different fields such as technology, biotechnology, energy and gas.
The Iranian minister expressed his country’s readiness to remove obstacles in the way of banking cooperation with Brazil through constant consultation.
Yet again, we see further evidence that the "isolation" line being pushed by the West with regard to Moscow and Tehran bears little resemblance to reality.
Admittedly, the nuclear deal shows that Washington has to a certain extent come to terms with the fact that attempting to bankrupt a geopolitically imporant state as "punishment" for that state's legitimate attempt to develop the same deterrent capabilities as its sworn enemy is a fool's errand. That is, whatever you want to say about the P5+1 accord, and the Ayattolah's ranting notwithstanding, the deal was at least a step towards recognizing that Washington's foreign policy towards Tehran has been a miserable failure and isn't at all sustainable going forward.
Now, with sanctions set to be lifted and Iranian crude exports set to get a boost in Q1 or Q2 2016 at the latest, Tehran is marking a dramatic comeback both with its involvement in Syria and with efforts to prove that it is not, as the West would have you believe, completely "isolated." Time will tell if this is ultimately a positive development. We'll leave it to readers to make their own predictions in that regard.