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Brazilian Foreign Policy after the Cold War

Sean W. Burges

Publication Year: 2009

Since 1992--the end of the Cold War--Brazil has been slowly and quietly carving a niche for itself in the international community: that of a regional leader in Latin America. How and why is the subject of Sean Burges's investigations.

Under President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Brazil embarked on a new direction vis-à-vis foreign policy. Brazilian diplomats set out to lead South America and the global south without actively claiming leadership or incurring the associated costs. They did so to protect Brazil's national autonomy in an ever-changing political climate.

Burges utilizes recently declassified documents and in-depth interviews with Brazilian leaders to track the adoption and implementation of Brazil's South American foreign policy and to explain the origins of this trajectory. Leadership and desire to lead have, until recently, been a contentious and forcefully disavowed ambition for Brazilian diplomats. Burges dispels this illusion and provides a framework for understanding the conduct and ambitions of Brazilian foreign policy that can be applied to the wider global arena.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright

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List of Tables

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

Development of the ideas in this book benefited greatly from discussions with a number of people. Nicola Phillips and Jean Daudelin were tireless sources of advice and invaluable constructive criticism and were always ready to provide the necessary nudge to keep the project moving forward. My colleagues at...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xiii

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pp. 1-16

Brazil started the twenty-first century by raising its global foreign-policy profile, catching attention as one of the four BRIC emerging-market countries— Brazil, Russia, India, and China—preoccupying foreign ministries in the G-8 nations. As part of this group of emerging powers Brazil has played an increasingly...

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1. The Historical Path of Brazilian Foreign Policy

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pp. 17-42

The notion of an integrated South American political and economic space that formed the core of the leadership project advanced by Itamaraty during the Cardoso era was not a sudden invention. Indeed, an abiding characteristic of Brazilian foreign-policy makers is their slow rate of change and careful consideration before...

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2. Leadership in Brazilian Foreign Policy

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pp. 43-63

As outlined in the previous chapter, Brazil’s diplomatic history is marked by consistent efforts to avoid any suggestion that the country was seeking a leadership role in the region. The idea that Brazil was looking to lead in South America was resisted by many of the diplomats I interviewed. Most, keeping strictly to the...

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3. The Ideas Dimension

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pp. 64-91

In the Introduction I adopted Susan Strange’s pyramidal model of structural power as a guide for understanding the different aspects of power involved in leading the construction of a hegemony. The elegance of Strange’s model is that it captures the interconnected nature of the various constituent dimensions of structural...

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4. The Economic Dimension

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pp. 92-124

The physics underlying the pyramidal model of hegemony—that each of the sides depends on the support of the others for stability—suggests that the economic dimension of a consensual hegemony must be constructed in a manner that explicitly includes or controls all participating states. The two economic facets of...

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5. The Security Dimension

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pp. 125-157

In his discussion of the rise of a nascent Mercosul security community Andrew Hurrell (1998a, 252) notes that questions of politics, economics, and security are intertwined, with advances in one sustaining and furthering progress in the others. Within this mix regionalism takes on a stabilizing role, working to build the shared...

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6. Continuity and Change during the First Lula Presidency

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pp. 158-184

In the Introduction we looked briefly at the slow pace of change and the sense of continuity that has marked Brazil’s foreign policy. One of my major arguments is that the presidency of Fernando Henrique Cardoso is an important and worthy subject of sustained study because it precipitated and implemented a substantive...

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pp. 185-191

Nuance is important. Traditional conceptions of leadership as relying on forms of coercion and domination played little role in the approach adopted by Itamaraty during the Cardoso era. Instead, a new style of leadership was developed, one that found parallels in the Gramscian student-teacher dialectic’s focus on consensus...


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pp. 193-220


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pp. 221-229

E-ISBN-13: 9780813040103
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813033334
Print-ISBN-10: 0813033330

Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 9 tables
Publication Year: 2009