As the world struggles to deal with its two largest foreign-affairs dilemmas,
That's the acronym foreign-policy wonks use for the block of nations that routinely refuses to join the multilateral world of diplomacy, dominated by
The nations like to say they bring a principled alternate opinion to the table. In fact, look at what they do and you'll see that actually they're totally self-interested. They don't seem to care about the rest of the world's concerns.
Who cares if Syrian President
They look out only for themselves. But even at that, they're doing an extremely poor job.
A few weeks ago, for example,
At the same time,
Right now, one-third of the population lives on less than
Its economy is imploding, though Chinese and Western economists say the government is falsifying data to cover up the true depths of the problem. All the while, the nation is in constant foment. Several recent internal surveys of
Meantime, the government estimates that Chinese last year staged at least 180,000 "mass incidents," as the government calls them -- large local protests over corruption, land seizures, pollution, job safety and a dozen other social ills. Almost 500 every day.
All of this may foretell regime change at some point in the not-so-distant future.
And then there's
That's just the latest in a continuing cascade of repressive measures Putin has signed into law, indicating his full realization that many if not most Russians know he stole the election in March and don't recognize him as the nation's legitimate leader.
In just the last two months he has signed bills authorizing draconian fines for people who protest against him. He reinstituted a law ordering criminal penalties for "slander," a term that can be twisted to apply to almost anything you want. And he is beginning Web censorship for the first time.
His courts sentenced three young women, members of a punk rock group, to another six months in prison on top of four already served, for criticizing Putin in a song.
The point is, these three BRICs face incendiary challenges at home, among the most daunting in the world. Maybe if they were not so obstinately selfish and contrary, the rest of the world might be willing to step up and help.
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