BRICS has little to show by way of achievement even as fault lines within it sharpen, with China and Russia trying to convert its geo-economic orientation into a patently anti-West one. In subsequent years, the BRICS goal of gaining a stronger voice in the international financial system essentially provided the five countries with two possibilities: challenging versus reforming global governance.
Wars reveal a nation's vulnerabilities in ways that are often striking as well as surprising. Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a "special military operation" against Ukraine in February last year, he has exposed the strategic weakness of Russia as a nation, step by step. His strategic, operational and tactical miscalculations in launching frontal aggression against Ukraine will haunt Russia for years to come. But even he couldn't foresee that the greatest challenge to his authority since coming to power more than two decades ago would come from one of his closest associates - the Wagner Group's leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Even as Russia’s own Wagner Group Chairman has urged Putin to declare victory and ceasefire after Bakhmut and control of the region in the east strategically designed for control by the Russian planners, and China brought in 12 point peace plan, the observers do not really see an end to the war. Indian PM Narendra Modi has been urging both sides to ceasefire and return to dialogue as he chairs the G20 and has offered India’s assistance in doing so if the warring sides were ready, but there are no signs of ceasefire that one could see yet.
The Biden Administration’s methodology towards the Russian military action against Ukraine has been shaky throughout. It is thus surprising that President Joe Biden has called Indian policy “shaky”.
The Russian blitzkrieg does not seem to have worked. It wanted to have a quick victory but the popular resistance sui generis and also supported and allegedly fomented for years by western countries could make the winning sour and delayed.
As Russian aggression against Ukraine drags on, there is a palpable sense that the world has entered a more dangerous phase. Russian President Vladimir Putin has unleashed mayhem not only in Ukraine but has also transformed the landscape of European security that will have reverberations far and wide. What started as a smart game of diplomatic manoeuvring by Putin has turned into an urban siege where whatever the Russian leader may or may not achieve on the battlefield will result in him losing significantly over the long term. Tactical, and even operational, success is likely to yield little strategic gain for Russia as nations around the world assess the impact of one of the most profound shifts in global security in decades.