NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It has 29-member countries from Europe, Eurasia and North America. This alliance was founded mainly on the principles of what NATO calls ‘collective defense.’ These should be buddy countries, defending each other when needed, but the relationship goes deeper than that. We’ll find out later how. NATO says it’s open to new European members, just as long as they “further the principles of this Treaty and contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.” As for BRICS, that’s an acronym that stands for the nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It used to be just BRIC, until South Africa came to the game in 2010 and pluralized the group. How do these alliances compare?
Yes, you are probably thinking: How can they compare these alliances, one is a giant and the other relatively small – if not growing fast. Well, this is a comparison just to help you learn more about both organizations, and we shouldn’t really be thinking about it as some kind of literal match-up. However, you can watch the show and make up your own mind.
Let’s start with what NATO is. We’ll list the 29 countries in order that they joined, bearing in mind that 12 countries founded NATO in 1949. These were: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Greece and Turkey came next in 1952. West Germany in 1955, but when Germany in 1990 was reunified, what had been East Germany joined the gang. Next, over many years, came Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia and last to join was Montenegro in 2017. It took longer for some countries to join because they were aligned with The Warsaw Pact, or in the case of a country such as Montenegro, because it was part of the former Yugoslavia. You might ask then why is Serbia not a member? Well, according to NATO, “Unlike other Western Balkan partners, Serbia does not aspire to join the Alliance.” It does, however, want to stay friendly. Countries such as Australia are allies of NATO, friendly, but not in the group. It’s the same with New Zealand. Turkey is the only nation in the group which is a transcontinental nation, often called Eurasian as it’s mostly in Asia but partly in Europe.
So, was NATO all about protecting each member and not starting another war? Kind of, and also an extension of the Marshall Plan to build trade between nations and also get them on one side against America’s big bad wolf at the door, Communism. You can also find plenty of articles and research out there that discusses the economic effect of being a NATO member. Most analysts agree that getting in with the group can bolster a country’s economy, but also serve to help education, innovation, and entrepreneurial-ism. So, that’s NATO in a nutshell.
What about BRICS. Well, this collaboration started in 2006 when the first BRIC meeting was held. The group’s raison detre was, like NATO, to help its members, but there is less emphasis on defense. BRIC members would support each other regarding the economy, business and trade, education, agriculture, health, technology, science and the arts. Matters of defense of course are also matters of economy, so the twain meet occasionally.
The International Monetary Fund says these BRICS countries together control about 22 percent of the world’s GDP. In terms of population, these five countries are made up of around 42.58 percent of the world, over 3 billion people. As for NATO, well, it’s much smaller in terms of population at around 880 million people. But the nations of China and India according to the UN are going to explode over the next 40 odd years, while Nigeria will take over the United States in terms of population. So, regarding the amount of people, BRICS is going to be more like a stone wall casting a shadow over the fence of NATO.
BRICS nations are said to be more developing than some of the more developed economic powerhouses of NATO, nations that have been rich and powerful for a long time and have wielded imperial military might all over the world for many years…often in a bloodthirsty manner we might add. But this has given them much power, and improved industry and innovation.
According to a NATO report, the GDP of every NATO country is almost 38 trillion dollars. THE USA makes up for a large chunk of this, with Germany, France and the UK also being strong economies. BRICS has a total GDP of around $17 trillion, with China leading the way.
It’s anyone’s guess what will happen to these economies over the next 15 or 20 years, but most economists don’t see BRICS slowing down. Many people think that by 2030 China’s economy will be bigger than the USA’s, while India won’t be far behind in third place. Russia, Japan and Indonesia will be grouped behind India, so we are told, but with much smaller economies. While Brazil will also be a top ten nation, so will Germany, the UK and France. Well, that’s the prediction. This is in spite of many articles telling us over the last few years that the BRICS bubble had burst, with China seeing some economic slowdown and Russia and Brazil feeling the sting of recession. The Guardian referred to this, stating, “Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa seem to be failing to justify predictions of 21st century domination.” Time will tell.
Another problem BRICS faces is endemic corruption, and this is generally not seen as something good for social and economic progress. BRICS countries also still have plenty of abject poverty, even while the middle class grows. India for instance, according to the recent book, “India Conquered – The Chaos of Empire”, still has an oppressive caste system and often ensconces its wealthy far away from a poverty it would rather not know exists. This is generally seen as stifling social mobility. By the way, the book takes a very dim view of Empire to say the least, but does say India’s class system is a major problem as India tries to develop. One economics analyst at the University of Cambridge recently stated, though, that there is progress, writing, “Despite these obstacles, evidence from surveys of nationally representative samples indicates that there has been convergence between the upper castes and the lower castes on education and occupations over the past decades.”
We should also state here that Britain’s class system still exists, food banks are common, and the poor often live in towns full of charity shops, discount grocery stores, and betting establishments for the poor’s fix of hope. The USA meanwhile is said to contain a third world within the highly developed nation. Still, overall in the latter countries, there is more opportunity for the average person and a much firmer safety net in place for the vulnerable
In terms of military, you’ll know from our long list of shows that NATO has the most powerful, mostly because the USA spends so much on defense. NATO writes that total defense spending for all its members in 2017 was almost 946 billion.
That is a huge sum. BRICS in total has a defense budget of 286.4 billion dollars. There is no way we can list how strong each country is individually, but we do know from our other shows that Russia is very strong in terms of defense, and India and China are both increasing their military strength at a rapid pace. We also know the USA won’t stop spending, while the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Turkey also have strong militaries. As for nuclear strength, that’s shared between Russia and the USA for the most part, and the outcome of that kind of battle would likely be the end of all of us.
So, what are your thoughts about all this? Will BRICS take over NATO in terms of a collective power, or does it still lack in certain advancements? Let us know in the comments!