Abstract. In the last few years, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries have been increasingly investing in developing their cooperation and seeking to exert joint global influence. BRICS’ mobilization has been visible in the cooperation of high-level officials, deeper policy coordination and investments in BRICS-related scholarship. As the BRICS intensify their pursuit of multipolarity, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the ways in which the BRICS has been received in the United States (US), which is a crucial stakeholder in creating a multipolar system. How is the BRICS represented in U.S. foreign policy circles? This article examines the state of the U.S. debate on the BRICS, drawing on the perspectives from foreign policy officials, top think tanks and academics. It argues that there is a considerable gap between BRICS’ multipolar aspirations and the perceptions of the grouping’s promise and potential in the US. The BRICS is often marginalized in the US as an entity, and – even if accepted as such – it is considered ineffective in terms of its results. However, the BRICS benefits U.S. foreign policy development: it challenges U.S. officials to clarify their message on multipolarity; it reframes the debate from bilateral China vs. US competition to multilateral processes of providing global public goods; and, it generates a subfield of BRICS studies, which internationalizes the production and consumption of knowledge in the field of global politics.

BRICS’ Pursuit of Multipolarity Response in the United States