Brazilian foreign policy is primarily concerned with questions of structural
power, not relative power. The difference that comes with the Brazilian
focus on structural power considerations over relative power preoccupations
is one of tone and conduct. The focus on structural power over relative
power also allows a broader understanding of how a generalized national
agenda might be advanced through non-state instruments. Central to
Brazil's foreign policy since at least the early 1990s has been the
expansion of South-South linkages to create new, alternative pathways to
development, security and political consolidation. One suggestion prevalent
in the literature is that Brazilian foreign policy collapsed during the
Dilma years. The expertise and professionalism at Itamaraty proved crucial
during the Dilma years for keeping the foreign policy project in motion
despite presidential disinterest.
Brazil and US are geographically vast with immense national populations that
produce a great deal of what is consumed domestically. The story in this
chapter is how Itamaraty's iron grip on foreign policy formulation and
decision making has been eroded since the completion of the Brazil's
democratic transition. The tale explains the function and operation of
Itamaraty, Brazil's highly professionalized foreign service. The
chapter explores how factors such as the rise of presidential diplomacy and
the increasing internationalization of Brazilian business and government
have emerged as new pressures in the foreign policy debate across the
Cardoso, Lula and Dilma presidencies. Attention is given to how Itamaraty
has worked to manage this debate and incorporate these disparate voices in
the foreign policy process in a manner that leaves final decision making
power within the Palace walls. The chapter concludes by setting out the
emerging politics of foreign policy making in Brazil.
To flesh out o jeito brasileiro, or the Brazilian way, this chapter
sets out the essential building blocks of any essential jeitinho.
First, it puts forward the Brazilian outlook on the world, one that at times
is simultaneously realist and idealist. Second, the chapter sets out the
broad strategies employed by Brazil to achieve its foreign policy goals.
Brazil risks little and whenever possible tries to pursue its policies in
the company of others. This is evident in the seven tactics outlined, which
focus on a preference for multilateralism with weak institutionalization and
a carefully constructed identity as a supporter of Southern solidarity who
simultaneously adopts a remarkably tough negotiating attitude to all-comers.
The seven tactics are avoiding mindless opposition, collectivization,
consensus creation, technocratic speak, building new organizations,
propagating new thinking, and principled presidential righteousness.
This chapter explains that Brazil is the dominant military actor in South
America, which brings an added element of security and opens new space for
leadership. It looks at how this freedom to manoeuver has been worked into
national defence and security policy, allowing these ostensibly military
fields of public policy to become new vectors for pursuing national
development as well as the regional and South-South leadership central to
the larger foreign policy priority of reframing the nature and application
of structural power. Discussion of security relations with South America,
Africa and the US highlights the persistence of a geopolitical approach to
strategic thinking concentrated on maximizing national autonomy and
excluding foreign powers from a wide space around Brazil. The high level of
intra-continental security is magnified by Brazil's geostrategic
location in the South Atlantic, far from the main axes of conflict in the
North Atlantic and Middle East.
Brazilian foreign policy makers focused on a subtler morphing of the
structures of regional and global politics and economics to create more
space for their country to pursue its interests. Rather than trying to
develop a complex theory of Brazilian foreign policy, the approach taken in
this chapter is that foreign policy analysis remains something of an art.
The significance of the consensual hegemony for discussion of Brazil's
autonomy-protecting foreign policy lies in the concept's Gramscian
roots. One way of applying the theoretical discussion of autonomy and power
in a foreign policy analysis approach is to think about the constraints and
freedoms impacting a state's room for manoeuver in the world and the
pressures brought to bear upon decision makers. Brazilian foreign policy
makers want to position their country as leader, but are almost
pathologically averse to explicitly stating this role or accepting the
This chapter contextualizes Brazil's shift in identity to 'global
trader', exploring what this has meant in terms of trade policy on a
regional, South-South and global level. At the core of the story is the
shift from inward-orientation to export-oriented development that was
initiated during the short-lived Fernando de Collor de Mello presidency,
which in turn helped drive a deeper internationalization of the Brazilian
economy. The critical inflection point for reconstituting Brazil's
trade policy is the commencement of the Lula presidency in 2003, which
explicitly recognized the changes not only in the Brazilian economy, but
also in the international agricultural trade landscape. A series of summits
Brazil organized between South America and Africa as well as the Arab world
kept the same implicit logic of trade expansion found in efforts to move
Cardoso's infrastructure integration programme to deeper economic and
The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) shaped several of the characteristic features of Europe’s territorial states. A most important feature was the centralization of political power, expressed in a royal monopoly of command. The advent of centralized monarchies gave rise to a distinct interstate system in Europe. The interaction of monarchs was theorized in term of the twin doctrines of royal absolutism and mercantilism. The arguments of Robert Filmer reflect the attitudes of the age. But the chapter singles out British philosopher Thomas Hobbes for special attention. Hobbes’ discussion of sovereignty and of order and security are distinctly modern. His arguments are informed by an influential contract philosophy – which Benedict Spinoza later applied to interstate relations and developed a modern understanding of international politics as a ‘natural’ or ‘pre-contractual’ condition, characterized by a ‘war of all against all’. The chapter introduces the arguments of Émeric Crucé and Hugo Grotius to contrast and critique the theories of Hobbes and Spinoza.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a turning point in the Cold War. On the one hand, the crisis convinced the two superpowers of the necessity to establish diplomatic relations and regulate their nuclear arms race. On the other hand, the superpower competition for influence in the Third World increased, as the USSR began to support rebel movements which opposed the colonial domination of Western powers and fought to obtain self-rule and sovereign status for their nations. During the 1960s, national liberation-movements in Africa and Asia introduced radical, anti-capitalist arguments to scholarly IR. Not only did the number of theoretical traditions increased from two to three – in addition to Realism and Rationalism, there emerged a radical, revolutionary tradition; this revolutionary tradition, based on the anti-capitalist political economy of Marx and Lenin, gained an enormous influence. This chapter examines the way in which the new logic of structuralism affected and altered IR theory. In particular it traces the impact of structural analysis during the 1970s by discussing the very different theories of Immanuel Wallerstein, Kenneth Waltz and Hedley Bull.
This chapter begins with England’s ‘Glorious Revolution’. It traces some of the new ideas that originated with it. The example of Isaac Newton and the ideas of John Locke are vantage points for the discussion. Several Enlightenment authors are then discussed – some of them British (like David Hume), others French (like Voltaire) and still others German (like Immanuel Kant). However, the most central authors of this chapter are Swiss. First, Émeric Vattel, who pursued Locke’s ideas and established an understanding of interstate relations based on norms, laws and a reason-based argument of collective security. Second, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who broke with Locke and elaborated on balance-of-power theory. The chapter ends with a discussion of the American and the French Revolutions and the interstate debates that emerged from them. It presents the US Constitution and its concept of federalism as a distinct American contribution to International-Relations theory, and an influential vision of organizing sovereign states into a peaceful interstate order.
The terrorist attack on New York and Washington on 11. September 2001, challenged the post-Cold War, neo-idealist attitudes of the USA and its Western allies. The attack was planned and executed by Islamic extremists who resented the intrusion of Judeo-Christian powers in their holy lands. The 9-11 terrorist attack caused the USA to launch a retaliatory invasion of Afghanistan and, later, Iraq. Both invasions led to unmanageable open-ended war. They stimulated the rise of Islamist radicalism which in turn alerted the Western world to new security challenges in an oil-dependent, rapidly changing world. This chapter addresses some of the forces of change and some of the new theories that purported to account for the new situation in the post-Cold War world. Some of the new theories started out as reactions against the structuralist approaches that had been developed by the previous generation of scholars. The new, post-structuralist theories regularly drew on sociological and anthropological approaches which portrayed international relations in terms of culture and patterns produced through processes of social interaction.