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Adriana Abdenur

Can the BRICS Cooperate in International Security?

2017. Vol. 12. No. 3. P. 73–95 [issue contents]

The BRICS have made considerable strides in economic and development cooperation, yet the coalition has not been as successful in formulating and implementing an agenda of its own to address international security despite clear signs that the coalition wishes to promote cooperation in this area. Why, then, have the BRICS been slower to cooperate on security issues, and what are the prospects for intensifying cooperation in this area? This article analyses BRICS cooperation agenda-setting in international security against the backdrop of the coalition’s efforts to institutionalize itself as a flexible yet coherent entity and an influential collective actor in international affairs. Drawing on key BRICS documents and reports related to security meetings, I examine three types of security-related efforts that have been made since the first summit, in 2009.

These include attempts to coordinate positions on specific security issues, namely armed conflicts, and related normative stances; efforts to coordinate policies; and institution-building initiatives. I find that the bulk of BRICS security discussions have focused on the first category, with some effort to  coordinate policy and minimal progress in institution-building in the security arena. This finding shows that international security has not, thus far, been among the “paths of least resistance” that the grouping’s diverse members have found in their efforts to deepen intra-group collaboration—a fact that can be explained by citing internal differences as well as contextual factors. However, the hurdles to a more cohesive BRICS security agenda are not insurmountable, although they may restrict the gamut of topics addressed by the coalition’s cooperation efforts. In particular, there is an unexplored area in which the five states could enhance their security cooperation while drawing on their development and peace-building experiences and preferences: that of conflict prevention. 

Citation: Abdenur A.E. (2017) Can the BRICS Cooperate in International Security? International Organisations Research Journal, vol. 12, no 3, pp. 73–95 (in Russian and English). DOI: 10.17323/1996-7845-2017-03-73
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