Friday, June 30, 2023

Sandworm - Hacker Unit of Russia's Military Intelligence

On June 27, the Austrian paper 'Der Standard' published an article about Jewgeni Serebrjakow, prominent member of Russia's hacker group 'Sandworm'. Here some excerpts from the German language publication in the English and Chinese version:

In April 2018, Yevgeny Serebryakov and three other Russian agents are standing in a parking lot in The Hague, the Netherlands, with a lot of hacking equipment in his rental car. The men have a plan: they want to hack into the Wi-Fi in the nearby building of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). At that time, the OPCW was investigating whether the Assad regime, which was allied with Russia, had used poison gas against civilians.

But before the hackers can get started, they are surrounded by Dutch agents who had been shadowing Serebryakov and his colleagues. The Dutch confiscate the equipment – cash, mobile phones, laptops – and expel the men from the country. A few months later, the Dutch company held a press conference – and presented photos of the passports used, the rental car and a bag in which the hackers collected their garbage so as not to leave fingerprints in the hotel. It is, there is hardly any other way to put it, a public demonstration of the GRU secret service.
[GRU = Russia's military intelligence service]

Diplomatic passport used by Jewgeni Serebrjakow


但在黑客开始之前,他们被一直跟踪谢列布里亚科夫及其同事的荷兰特工包围。荷兰没收了设备——现金、手机、笔记本电脑——并将这些人驱逐出境。几个月后,这家荷兰公司举行了新闻发布会,并展示了所用护照、租车和黑客收集垃圾的袋子的照片,以免在酒店留下指纹。几乎没有任何其他方式可以说,这是 GRU 特勤局的公开展示。

However, the same Yevgeny Serebryakov now leads one of the most dangerous hacking groups in the world: Sandworms. That's a staggering increase, as sandworm forces play a central role in Russian military intelligence: Ukrainian hackers shut down the grid twice, albeit only for a brief time in 2015 and 2016. Sandworms also play an important role in Russia's war of aggression. In March, the US trade magazine Wired reported on the promotion, and soon after a document appeared on the Internet that was of particular interest to Western intelligence services: a certain Yevgeny Serebryakov's master's thesis on the title: "Information Confrontation in World Politics." In more than 90 pages and 77 footnotes, it explains the meaning behind the clumsy term "information confrontation": it is generally believed not only in Russia that information can be used as a weapon.

然而,同样的叶夫根尼·谢列布里亚科夫现在领导着世界上最危险的黑客组织之一:沙虫。这是一个惊人的增长,因为沙虫部队在俄罗斯军事情报部门发挥着核心作用:乌克兰的黑客两次关闭电网,尽管只是在 2015 年和 2016 年的短暂时间。沙虫在俄罗斯侵略战争中也发挥着重要作用。 3月,美国贸易杂志《连线》报道了这次推广,不久后,一份文件登陆了互联网,西方情报部门对此特别感兴趣:某叶夫根尼·谢列布里亚科夫的硕士论文,题目:"世界政治中的信息对抗"。在 90 多页和 77 个脚注中,它解释了笨拙的术语"信息对抗"背后的含义:不仅在俄罗斯普遍认为信息可以用作武器。

In 2020, some Chinese language publication already mentioned the Sandworm group as being targeted by US authorities:


Associated Press, CNN and other US media reported that on October 19, local time, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued arrest warrants for six Russian hackers. The six wanted hackers belonged to the Sandworm hacker organization which is backed by Russian intelligence agencies. [They had allegedly] carried out cyberattacks on U.S. companies, Ukrainian energy systems, organizers of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, etc., paralyzing thousands of computers and costing about $1 billion. The U.S. believes the six Russian hackers are behind the NotPetya ransomware.

Leaked IT contractor files detail Kremlin's stockpile of cyber-weapons: The NTC Vulcan Files.
How the 'Washington Post' got their hands on the Vulcan files, leaked from Russia's IT giant.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Russia's Private Armies - Acting in a Legal Vacuum



Wagner is not the only private military company fighting for Russia in Ukraine, nor is its rise a "unique phenomenon". In fact, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine led to the rapid expansion of other Russian private military companies and the birth of numerous mercenary regiments. According to statistics, Russia has more than 30 mercenary regiments.

Many previous analysts said that these corps, which are mostly funded by Russia's rich and powerful, are essentially private armies, and the "power game" behind them is destined to have a "destructive impact" in Russia. In a report on the 24th, Russian media also said that the root cause of "Wagner" from "henchman to henchman" is that these private military companies wander in the vacuum of Russian law, coupled with a series of entanglements such as money and power. ...........



An assessment report by the U.S. War Research Institute in October last year pointed out that Prigozhin occupies a "uniquely advantageous position in the Russian state structure and information space", which makes him more likely than a senior Russian military commander to conduct military operations in Russia and "expand his legal frame". Not only that, but Prigozhin is also free to "promote" himself and his troops, and at the same time "criticize Russian government officials or the Russian armed forces without fear of retaliation."

As Wagner has rapidly grown into a mainstay of the Russian government's allied force, its role in the Russia-Ukraine conflict has grown, perhaps best exemplified by a legal overhaul earlier this year. In March, a law prohibiting "defamation or censorship of the Russian armed forces" was expanded to include "mercenaries and volunteers". ..........

GAZPROM - Military Branch





Russia's largest energy giant holds at least 4 teams.

After being appointed as the administrator of the prison in the Russian-controlled area of Ukraine in November last year, Ukrainian pro-Russian businessman Armen Sarkisyan planned to use his position and learn from the recruitment model of the 'Wagner' group to set up a private military company. Ukraine claims the company was funded by Russian billionaire Samwell Karapetian. Karapetian is the owner of Tahir Holding, a subcontractor for Gazprom.

The most critical thing is that Russia's largest energy giant Gazprom has also formed a number of mercenary groups. At least three private military companies linked to Gazprom, known as 'Torch', 'Torrent' and 'Fortress', have been fighting alongside Russian forces inside Ukraine, according to reports.

Among them, 'Fortress' is the only company whose scale and experience are close to 'Wagner'. It is reported that the organization has existed for several years. It previously provided security for infrastructure projects in Syria. It was originally small in scale, but it has been actively "recruiting troops" after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

A similar article, dealing with the same subject, was published
the same day by some other regional news center (above).


It's about sabotage of the North Stream pipelines that should have provided Germany
with natural gas delivered by Russia's GAZPROM. After the beginning of Russia's full-
fledged attack on Ukraine, Germany froze the project and enforced the construction of
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) terminals to ensure energy supply independent from Russia.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Russia's Prigozhin - A Warlord siding with the Emperor -
Ukrainian soldiers operating behind the Russian lines

- Continuously Updated on June 24 -

Today, there are two Chinese media reports of importance, the first dealing with Prigozhin, leader of Russia's influential Wagner militia:

The conflict between the Russian mercenary company Wagner Group and the Russian army was ultimately irreconcilable. On June 23, Wagner leader Prigorzhin publicly accused Russian Defense Minister Shoigu and Russian Chief of Staff Gerasimov, saying that the two were trying to "strangle Wagner" and ordered the Russian army to attack the camp of Wagner's troops. So he wanted to "severely punish" the two of them. Subsequently, Prigorzhin, in the name of "the side of the Qing emperor"(*), wants to march into Moscow to "seek justice", and had already led troops into Rostov in southern Russia.

(*) = Chinese proverb used to depict a warlord who is allegedly still in support
of the emperor's cause while resisting the claims of the emperor's army.

Although many Russian generals came forward to appease the Wagner Group and tried to prevent Prigozhin’s actions, judging from the current situation, Prigozhin’s control over this mercenary armed force is very strong, and it is not the Russian army that can shake it off. Prigozhin also claimed that Wagner troops shot down a Russian helicopter during the expedition, implying that the "merger" had begun. In this regard, the Rostov region has issued a warning, requiring residents to stay at home, saying that law enforcement agencies would ensure the safety of locals.

The Chinese source comes to the following conclusion:
Prigozhin is being seen as a warlord who tries to bargain a deal with the Russian military in order to remain unchallenged in his position as "chief of the emperor's private army". It is worth to have a closer look, as well, on the very special relationship between Putin and Prigozhin, both sharing a similar past in St. Petersburg from where Putin rose to the commanding heights of state and Prigozhin founded a chain of exclusive gourmet restaurants, so that he became known in the public as "Putin's cook".

However, Russia has characterized Prigozhin's actions as an "armed rebellion" and initiated a criminal case. All important institutions and transportation hubs in Moscow were guarded by heavily armed soldiers, and armored vehicles also appeared on the streets. The overall atmosphere was described as very tense.

Armoured cars and armed soldiers in the streets of Mosccow to protect official buildings after
the conflict between Prigozhin's Wagner militia and Russia's army finally escalated last night.
- TVBS News, Taiwan -

Putin's speech targeting the Wagner Mutiny

..... 从现在的情况看,俄罗斯内部并不是钢板一块,各个武装存在很大分歧,若普里戈任的问题不迅速解决,乌克兰和北约趁机发难,俄罗斯真的会陷入“内忧外患”的局面。

..... Judging from the current situation, Russia is not a single piece of steel, and there are great differences among the various armed forces. If the Prigozhin issue is not resolved quickly and Ukraine and NATO take the opportunity to attack, Russia will really fall into a situation of "internal and external troubles".

Prigozin turned his back and directed his troops from Rostov-on-Don to the city of Voronezh,
pointing his sword at Moscow. Russian security sources are saying Wagner's army had taken
control of all military installations in the city of Voronezh, about 500 km south of Moscow.


According to the "Moscow Times" and reported on the 24th, this is a video screenshot of
the Russian army's attack on the "Wagner" convoy on the southern Russian M4 highway.

After talks with Belarus president Lukashenko, Prigozhin agrees to stop his troops' advance
on Moscow to avoid bloodshed
. Instead, he vows to send his troops back to their bases, after
having already been pretty close to Moscow. [Breaking News on Al-Jazeera at 07:00 PM CET]

Whatever Prigozhin accepted when he finally caved in, he lost that round in the fight for power.
More important, however, is the damage he inflicted on Vladimir Putin who just lost his nimbus
as the uncontested leader of Russia. [Common opinion of several foreign media on June 24]

Last news of the day .....

Russian law enforcement officers found 4 billion rubles (about 343 million yuan)
in a car near Prigozhin's St. Petersburg office. Prigozhin confirmed this was kind
of "daily expenses" for the Wagner group.


Recent proceedings of Ukrainian units according to Prigozhin. The situation
should be very serious for Russia and even locals were allegedly shocked.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Artificial Intelligence - Who will Lose their Jobs ?

On May 24, 2023, some Chinese publication dealt with the consequences large-scale implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) would have on different groups of employees. However things are more complicated and far-reaching to be discussed in the frame of a single blogspot. So let me just quote some basic ideas extracted from that publication.

Within Ten Years, Two Types of People Won't be Replaced


Since the release of ChatGPT in February, there has been a blockbuster order almost every day, connecting to the Microsoft family bucket for a while, and connecting to third-party application plug-ins for a while. The latest blockbuster is to unseal and connect to the Internet.


ChatGPT has many functions, including 49 functions in the fields of program language conversion, story creation, code, brainstorming, RE text sentiment analysis, and advertisement design. In summary, there are 7 major application scenarios: application and layout, search and data analysis, program generation and analysis, text generation, content creation, general reasoning and others.

In order to survive in the times of AI, it becomes essential to master three digital capabilities: knowledge, creation, operation on the job.
First, the ability to acquire all kinds of knowledge you never imagined before you might need.
Second, the ability to create works, including text, images, audio codes, and more.
Third, empower operational capabilities. AI can generate various processes, designs, business plans, and marketing collaboration processes. That demands you to use AI in order to make business proceedings running more smoothly in your daily routine.


Ren Zhengfei
[the founder of HUAWEI] said that there will be only two types of people in the future, one is those who are proficient in using AI tools, and the other is those who can produce AI tools.

After the emergence of AI, many human positions, departments, and industries have been eliminated at once. But compared to AI, humans still have some comparative advantages in skills showing up in three fundamental abilities. From there, three categories of working positions can be described as follows :
The first category is dexterity work which requires manual precision work together with expert knowledge. Precision surgery or arts and crafts could serve as an example.
The second category is creative work. Such work cannot be fully standardized.
The third category is work that requires empathy. You might say that current machines also have empathy, such as intelligent care robots for the elderly, comfort robots, robot girlfriends, and so on. But at present, the gap between robot 'ethics' and human empathy is still very large.


These three types of [working] positions are currently relatively safe and secure. If you do not belong to these three categories, as long as you master the three digital capabilities mentioned above, or quickly become one of the two types of professionals
[mentioned by Ren Zhengfei], you can still keep pace with the times.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Defender 23 - Japan joining NATO ? - Chinese view

The question why Japan joined NATO forces in the frame of their Defender 23 drills is driving China. However, opinion from China, as it appears in the quoted article below, should be seen in the frame of Japan recently overhauling its defence strategy in the presence of an increasing danger posed by China. Here is another blogspot of mine dealing with the same subject.


从日本角度来看,参加这次军演,一方面能提高和美制军备的磨合度,一方面也能熟悉美国和 北约的作战手法,为以后做准备。其次,对日本来说,这次的军演是一个加强自身军事力量,跳出军事实力限制的圈子。对好战的日本来说,被限制发展核武器、限制军队人数、限制军舰规格简直不能忍。之前美国为了照顾东亚各国的情绪严格限制日本军事发展,现在日本在美国的战略中拥有越来越重要的地位,默许日本扩张军事实力也是美日心照不宣的事。之前的限制阻碍了日本军国主义的复苏,现在链子松了,我们也该警惕日本军国主义的反扑。


Going back to Japan, although Japan has always been the number one "running dog" of the United States, these are all joint military exercises of NATO countries and quasi-NATO countries. Japan also wants to participate. What is the purpose?

From Japan's point of view, participating in this military exercise can improve the degree of integration with the US-made armaments on the one hand, and on the other hand, it can also familiarize itself with the combat methods of the United States and NATO to prepare for the future. Secondly, for Japan, this military exercise is a way to strengthen its own military power and jump out of the circle of military power limitations. Rules of restriction and limitation for the belligerent Japan, concerning the development of nuclear weapons, the number of troops, and the size of warships are simply unbearable. In the past, the United States strictly limited Japan's military development in order to take care of the emotions of East Asian countries. Now Japan has an increasingly important position in the United States' strategy. The previous restrictions hindered the recovery of Japanese militarism. Now that the chain is loose, we should also be vigilant against the counterattack of Japanese militarism.

For the United States, allowing Japan to participate in this NATO military exercise can better tie Japan to its anti-China and anti-Russia chariot. The second is that although it was said before that NATO would establish an office in Japan, this was opposed by France. Now the United States directly pulls Japan over for joint military exercises, and for France it's not easy to object. The United States can also further strengthen its control over the Asia-Pacific situation.

Editor's Note: It must be added that Japan takes part in the Defender 23 drills only as an observer, same as Sweden which does not yet enjoy full Nato membership. Some Nato circles, however, are favoring the foundation of a Nato office in Japan in order to coordinate common military projects and relations that are already existing. In fact, Japan has more cooperation with European and American allies than may immediately be visible. "No NATO partner is closer or more capable than Japan," Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in January on a visit to Tokyo.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Defender 23 - Nato Drills in Germany - US Voices

While the proceedings of Defender 23 Nato drills are rather smoothly going on, here are US voices from Germany where Nato operations should simulate a situation of war in an allied country. The imagined situation: Germany being already partly invaded by an unnamed enemy is trying to defend an East German port from being taken over by that enemy.

I decided to quote an article from ABC News (June 7) where US Ambassador to Germany, Amy Gutman, and the director of the U.S. Air National Guard, Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, are putting things more bluntly than German sources usually would do. Here is what they are saying, together with a raw translation of their words into Chinese:

First a diplomatic view:

“This is an exercise that would be absolutely impressive to anybody who’s watching, and we don’t make anybody watch it,” U.S. Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann said.

“It will demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt the agility and the swiftness of our allied force in NATO as a first responder,” she told reporters in Berlin.

“I would be pretty surprised if any world leader was not taking note of what this shows in terms of the spirit of this alliance, which means the strength of this alliance," Gutmann said.

"And that includes Mr. Putin,” she added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"对于任何正在观看的人来说,这是一项绝对令人印象深刻的演习,我们不会让任何人观看它,"美国驻德国大使艾米古特曼说(Amy Gutmann)。

And here is opinion from the US military:

The director of the U.S. Air National Guard, Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh, said the exercise goes beyond deterrence.

“It's about the readiness of our force. It’s about coordination, not just within NATO, but with our other allies and partners outside of NATO,” he said.

Loh said the exercise would be an opportunity for younger U.S. airmen, many of whom have mainly gotten experience serving in the Middle East, to build relationships with allies in Europe and prepare for a different military scenario.

“So this is about now establishing what it means to go against a great power, in a great power competition,” he said.

美国空军国民警卫队主任迈克尔·A·罗(Michael A. Loh)中将表示,这次演习超越了威慑。

June 14: German National Radio DW on the presentation of Germany's first
National Security Concept by Chancellor Scholz and four of his ministers.

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Russia's Situation in Ukraine - Chinese Evaluation

Based on the attack of Russian territory at Belgorod on June 2, some Chinese media comment, published June 10, comes to the following conclusion : It is not looking too good for Russia.
That evaluation is founded on the idea that the Belgorod incident, even though restricted to one single region, is revealing essential shortcomings of both, Russia's military forces and Russia's politics. It therefore comes to the conclusion that Russia's position should not be looked at with any optimism.

Title: Russia's Belgorod region was attacked 107 times in 24 hours.




One: Russia's desire to completely defeat Ukraine is nowhere in sight. It is said that there is no hope, no possibility. I'm afraid it cannot be said to be realistic. After fighting for more than a year, [Russia] not only failed to achieve a repressive victory, but also experienced its own territory being attacked by the Ukrainian side.
[phrase based on a Chinese proverb]

Second: [Only consider that] Russian attacks on Ukraine were allowed to go unchecked, comprising 107 attacks within 24 hours. Then just imagine the Ukrainian side launching a [similar] attack and the Russian side failed to suppress it in time while the Ukrainian side was only allowed to attack with artillery fire. Such a situation is really not optimistic.

Third: The Russian border is in a severe state of emptiness. Belgorod is a border city of Russia, and the Ukrainian side used artillery and mortars to attack the [Russian] state. In other words, it was a close range attack. To put it bluntly, it was an attack launched from the Ukrainian border city adjacent to Russian territory. To compare the border forces of both sides, the Ukrainian side could make 107 attacks within 24 hours. The Russian side let them go and was beaten passively. It can be seen that Russia's military strength on the border is severely lacking.

Based on the above told facts, the Chinese commentator draws a rather gloomy picture of Russia's position in its war on Ukraine. However, this is only a single person's opinion.

Editor's opinion: Speaking of myself as somebody who already encountered different Chinese opinions regarding Putin's war on Ukraine, I came to think that such pluralistic treatment of the subject is rather unusual in an evironment lacking the total freedom of press. This should only be possible, if China's leadership had their own problems of coming to terms with Putin's war policy. And there is much at stake for China in the frame of its 'road and belt' policies in Central and Western Asia.



Comprehensive analysis: Regarding the Russia-Ukraine war, there are at least three things that Russia did not expect.

One is that they did not expect so many countries to support Ukraine, and the support is getting stronger and stronger.

Second, I did not expect Zelensky to be so mischievous as an actor.

Third, I did not expect so many Chinese, very friendly [towards Russia], to oppose Russia's war.

Friday, June 09, 2023

Ukraine Started its Counteroffensive

UPDATE on June 11: Chinese video link added.

According to China's CCTV news, on June 9 local time, Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first evaluation of the Ukrainian army's counterattack in Sochi. Putin said the Ukrainian army had launched a counteroffensive and that the Ukrainian army had used its strategic reserves, but it failed to achieve any of its intended goals.

On the eve of the counter-attack [i.e. June 8], some 'military editor' from Shandong province wrote that Russia has deployed thousands of FPV suicide-drones named 'Warrior 40' at the front-line during the last days.

The 'Warrior 40' drone seeems to be a modified civilian four-axis drone being able to drop a bomb. It has a flight distance of about 12 kilometers, a battery life of 35 minutes, and can carry 2.5 kilograms of ammunition. In terms of weight alone, it is heavier than a 60 mm mortar shell. From the perspective of charge, the charge of the Warrior 40's high-explosive warhead is estimated to be at least 2 kg, which is heavier than that of some 80 mm mortar shells. But in general, its power should be equivalent to an 80 mm mortar shell.

Above: Russian 'Warrior 40' drones approaching their targets. Below: Similar war drones deployed by the Ukrainian army.

Chinese news site that has a video about Ukrainian drone attacks
targeting a Russian airfield and mastering Russia's air defence.
The attacks are marking the beginning of Ukraine's counterattack.

Monday, June 05, 2023

Shangri-la Dialogue - China Clarifying Its Position

The IISS Shangri-la Dialogue is Asia's premier defence summit. It’s a unique meeting where ministers debate the region’s most pressing security challenges, engage in important bilateral talks and come up with fresh approaches together. The 2023 event took place in Singapore on 2–4 June. Here is a brandnew report from the meeting by China's People's Daily 人民日报 :

《人民日报》2023年6月5日 - 昨天6月4日,国务委员兼国防部长李尚福在第二十届香格里拉对话会上就“中国的新安全倡议”议题作大会发言。

People's Daily, June 5, 2023 – Yesterday, June 4, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu delivered a speech at the 20th Shangri-La Dialogue on the topic of "China's New Security Initiative".


Li Shangfu stressed: Taiwan is China's Taiwan, and how to resolve the Taiwan issue is the Chinese people's own affair, and no outside forces should be allowed to interfere. The DPP
[i.e. Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party] authorities' "coercion of foreigners to seek independence" and external forces "using Taiwan to contain China" are the biggest troublemakers in changing the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will not hesitate in the slightest, will not be afraid of any opponent, and will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity no matter what the cost.

This comes shortly after a new incident in the Taiwan Strait when a US navy ship was blocked by some Chinese warship and which led to a dangerous encounter between both vessels.

After the incident, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin surprisingly approached China's Defense Minister Li Shangfu at the Shangri-la meeting and shook hands with him. However, there was no subsequent discussion of the naval incident between both sides.

Photo going viral on WeiBo !

Saturday, June 03, 2023

BRICS Alliance - State of the Art - Further Development

To begin with the essential facts. Here is what everybody should know about the BRICS Alliance :

The BRICS countries are a cooperation mechanism composed of China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. These five countries have 25.24% of the global GDP, 42% of the foreign exchange reserves, 26.46% of the total territory, and nearly 42% of the population. One of their projected purposes is to replace the incumbent US$ currency standard by an adequate alternative, thus reducing economic dependencies of developing nations from the USA. While Russia is being occupied with waging war on Ukraine and struggling with Western sanctions, China seems to be the true global power behind BRICS and which is pulling the strings by now.

As the BRICS countries begin to play an increasingly important role on the international stage, capacity expansion has become a hot topic among the five BRICS countries. According to South African officials, currently 13 countries have formally submitted applications for membership, and 6 countries have informally expressed their intention to join. That process of expansion, however, is going to be tedious and time-consuming.

Here is what Tencent Network 腾讯网 wrote today (June 3) about expected development and basic intentions of the BRICS Alliance, as seen from a Chinese point of view :



Faced with the rapid development of the BRICS countries, some countries began to panic. According to Japan's "Mainichi Shimbun", 19 countries line up to join the BRICS countries. The BRICS countries will absorb more and more developing countries to join, and gradually gain the strength to compete with the Group of Seven (G7).

Japanese media lamented that for developed countries, the BRICS countries may become a "difficult existence" in the future. Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey and other countries were invited to participate in the Hiroshima G7 summit not long ago, but now they all intend to become a member of the BRICS.




The United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other oil-producing countries have also applied to join the BRICS countries, which means that the BRICS countries will control more than half of the world's natural gas and oil. The BRICS mechanism will play an increasingly important role in the global energy sector.

Moreover, the BRICS countries will likely absorb many Asian, African and Latin American countries that have been marginalized by the Western world. Brazil has always wanted South American countries to join the BRICS. Brazilian President Lula met with Venezuelan President Maduro a few days ago and made it clear that he would support Venezuela in becoming a member of the BRICS.

In addition, Brazil regards Argentina, the second largest country in South America, as a "strategic neighbor" and pushes it to join the BRICS. If Argentina and other South American countries become members of the BRICS, other countries in the region will also have the idea of joining the BRICS.

India - A Swaggering Candidate ....

India seems to have some difficulties with BRICS expansion. It fears a loss of importance in the presence of other developing nations owing a similar potential.



Bloomberg reported that India hopes to reach an agreement on the BRICS expansion process, so as to obtain assurances that China and its allies will not "squeeze" India to a secondary position.

In fact, our country [i.e. China] has always sought to carry out practical cooperation with other countries, and has never excluded any country. However, if India will only delay the formation of decision-making in the BRICS mechanism and interfere with the cooperation of other countries, more and more countries will take the initiative to put India aside.

US Decay Led to the Rise of BRICS

Instead of naming it a confrontation between the West and BRICS, the Chinese source is stressing that BRICS came into being as an alternative for nations on the rise to a Western dominated alliance, already weakened by US decay.




The American media saw the decline of the United States from the development and growth of the BRICS countries. Some American media believe that since so many countries want to join the BRICS mechanism, this may reflect a trend in the current international situation. Emerging economic forces are launching a "challenge" to the original economic forces.

According to a report released by Gallup, the international leadership of the United States is weakening, and China has surpassed the United States in many aspects. Moreover, from a long-term perspective, the world no longer trusts the United States, and does not expect the United States to regain the trust of other countries by changing its own image.

In this general environment, many countries have begun to seek broader resources, markets, and global governance solutions by joining cooperative organizations such as the BRICS mechanism. Therefore, the BRICS can strengthen leadership in regional and global governance through expansion.

Editor's Comment

US decay partly enabled the unprecedented economic and political rise of China, as well as Russia's imperialism in its regions of interest. In addition, US politics, namely under president Trump, fostered a dangerous development in Iran and North Korea. As a result, even long-standing partners in Europe are showing their disappointment of what is happening in the States now.

Seeing itself at the center of a democratic alliance, at times referred to as the "Community of Democracies" or a "Concert of Democracies", US leaders forgot the necessity to attract other countries by alternatives rather than exclude them by sanctions.

National interests, not ideology, should therefore be the guiding compass for US policy. Some US source I recently encountered put it like this: Instead of simply relying on an alliance of hand-picked democracies, there should be a coalition of open and resilient economies (CORE).

Looking at BRICS that's just what China and Russia have in mind as far as it concerns the unhampered economic development of BRICS member countries. The BRICS concept, however, wilfully excludes all those aspects related to democratic development and human rights. This could become the critical point of decision for developing nations as soon as Western alliances were able to realize the CORE concept. - Ulysses -