Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Indian President Narenda Modi, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, August 22, 2023. Credit: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs via X, formerly known as Twitter The recent decision by the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — to expand the group’s membership made splashy headlines. But now it is time to assess what this move means for geopolitics and U.S. foreign policy. In a nutshell, BRICS expansion is a win for China and will increase Beijing’s geopolitical clout. China is the most influential player in the institution, which will have more diplomatic heft post-expansion. But it is a win with limits — the BRICS will remain an unwieldy organization in which meaningful decisions are hard to come by. For that reason, expansion does not significantly increase the Chinese geopolitical challenge to the U.S.. What it does suggest is that Washington must look beyond its China policy and more fully recognize the reality of a rising Global South in its dealings with all multilateral institutions, including the BRICS, the G20, and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA, where high-level debate will Subscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.