Global: BRICS vs. NATO – Battlefield of Ideas on Interventions – Written by Thiana Biondo at Global Voices org

China’s and Russia’s recent decision to veto the United Nations Security Council resolution against Syria -has reignited the debate over the relationship between ‘new’ powers like Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – the BRICS – with ‘old’ powers like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in international interventions.

Heads of BRICS states in New Delhi, India for for 4th BRICS Summit March 2012. Photo by Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR. Used with permission.

The BRICS conference held last March provides the backdrop for Oliver Stuenkel’s article in The Hindu that foresaw Russia’s and China’s decision to veto the UN Resolution on Syria for a third time:

…There seemed to have been consensus in the case of Libya in February and March 2011. Yet already during the war, the BRICS have rightly argued that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces exceeded the U.N. mandate given to them. Resolution 1973 was “to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack,” yet NATO regarded it as a permission to bring upon regime change. As a consequence, the BRICS are now suspicious of any resolution regarding Syria.

On the other side of the table, the BRICS position has sparked much criticism among the ‘old’ powers. Daniel Korski, an adviser to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, wrote that one could expect a gridlocked world in 2012:

And though NATO Allies succeeded in Libya both diplomatically and militarily, China and Russia have managed to block decisive action against Syria, despite its government’s violent crackdown on protesters. Dealing with Iran, an issue of major concern to NATO Allies, also requires the support of China, Russia and India.

Intervene or not intervene?
Both cases in Syria and Libya are controversial. In fact, they demonstrate that ‘old’ and ‘new’ powers have different approaches on how to deal with conflicts and there are different opinions to back those positions. Alex Thurston, a PhD student in the Religion Department at Northwestern University, Illinois, considers that ‘NATO’s Intervention in Libya Was a Mistake’ in his blog sahelblog:

While the civil war would have produced some chaos regardless, I think the chances are strong that without the Western intervention, Colonel Muammar Qadhafi’s side would have defeated the rebels and Qadhafi would have remained in power, an outcome that would have reduced the resulting regional chaos.

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