MOSCOW -- The era that began with the end of the Second World War is now over. That period was characterized by a relatively orderly and stable system of confrontation. In fact, the end of the Cold War did not mean the emergence of a new order. There was a hope that the main centers of power would establish relations based largely on cooperation. Instead, an attempt was made to build a unipolar world, which predictably failed. To all appearances, the world is now being swept by a wave of turbulence and fierce competition, if not a struggle of all against all.
The BRICS nations convened in the Russian city of Ufa for the BRICS Summit last week to discuss cooperation on international and regional issues of common interest. The BRICS meeting was held in conjunction with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and represents the seventh formal meeting of the BRICS nations. The meetings discussed several issues of central importance to China. While China's role in the BRICS alliance may be viewed as an attempt to build up its own power outside of U.S.-dominated institutions, we believe this perspective is simplistic.
Two years ago then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled her own Silk Road initiative, which called for integrating Afghanistan into the booming economies of the broader region. That integration remains problematic and as Xi's low-key tour suggests it is likely to occur only with China playing the leading role.