WORLD ROUNDUPHow to Trump-Proof America’s Alliances | Southeast Asian Countries Looking to Join BRICS | West African Junta Leaders Rule Out Rejoining ECOWAS, and more

Published 8 July 2024

·  Why Are Southeast Asian Countries Looking to Join BRICS
Malaysia and Thailand are the latest nations in Southeast Asia to express interest in joining the expanded BRICS group of emerging economies.

·  West African Junta Leaders Rule Out Rejoining ECOWAS
The military rulers of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger held a summit in Niamey, the first since the coups that saw them seize power. The neighbors quit the regional ECOWAS bloc in January, accusing France of interference

·  How to Trump-Proof America’s Alliances
An essential step will be to let Ukraine into NATO

·  After a Deadlocked Election, Can Anyone Govern France?
The country is scrambling to find a new prime minister

·  Keir Starmer Should Rethink Britain’s China Policy
Festering issues—from Beijing’s support for Moscow to domestic interference—fill the Labour government’s inbox

Why Are Southeast Asian Countries Looking to Join BRICS?  (Emmy Sasipornkarn, DW)
BRICS is attracting Southeast Asian countries, with Thailand and Malaysia being the latest to express their interest in joining the bloc. 
Last month, Thailand submitted a membership request, while Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said in an interview with Chinese news portal Guancha that his country would soon begin formal procedures.
“Being a member of BRICS would open up trade and investment opportunities, so the question is ‘why not?’” Piti Srisangam, the executive director of the ASEAN Foundation, told DW
“The bloc has members from all over the world, but none from Southeast Asia yet,” he added. 

According to James Chin, a professor of Asian Studies at the University of Tasmania, “both Thailand and Malaysia are seen as middle powers.”
“It’s better for them to join groups like BRICS so that they will have a larger voice in the international arena. But the major benefit will be trade,” he added.

West African Junta Leaders Rule Out Rejoining ECOWAS  (DW)
The military leaders of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger said Saturday that they had no plans to rejoin the West African regional bloc.
The three juntas left the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in January, accusing the body of being manipulated by former colonial ruler France.
Speaking at the first gathering of its kind since military coups in all three countries, Niger’s military leader Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani said the nearly 50-year-old ECOWAS has become “a threat to our states.”
The three leaders agreed to strengthen their own union, the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), created last year amid fractured relations with neighbors.
“[It will be] an AES of the peoples, instead of an ECOWAS whose directives and instructions are dictated to it by powers that are foreign to Africa,” Tchiani said.
Burkina Faso’s leader Capt Ibrahim Traore went further, accusing Western countries of exploiting Africa.
“Westerners consider that we belong to them and our wealth also belongs to them. They think that they are the ones who must continue to tell us what is good for our states. This era is gone forever; our resources will remain for us and our populations,” Traore said.
“The attack on one of us will be an attack on all the other members,” Mali’s leader Col. Assimi Goïta also said.
The meeting, which took place in Niger’s capital Niamey, came on the eve of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summit in Nigeria.