Brazil has overcome a plethora of domestic challenges over the past generation and risen to become the seventh largest economy and fourth largest democracy in the world – yet its rise challenges the conventional wisdom that capitalist democracies will necessarily converge to become faithful adherents of a U.S.-led global liberal order. Indeed, Brazil demonstrates that middle powers, even those of a deeply democratic bent, may offer important challenges to prevailing conceptions of the world order, differing in their views of what democracy means on the global stage and how international relations should be conducted among sovereign nations. For Brazil, successful diplomacy involves an increased voice for the developing world, greater accountability in multilateral institutions, and a desire to reduce emphasis on coercive instruments.
Recognizing the significance of Brazil’s emergence and its changing international role, CLALS has teamed with American University’s School of International Service and the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) to study the implications of Brazil’s changing role in global affairs. A jointly-sponsored workshop in Washington, DC in September 2013 brought together experts from the two universities to debate their ongoing research on the topic. Their productive collaboration resulted in a series of wide-ranging essays that comprise a book entitled Brazil on the Global Stage: Power, Ideas, and the Liberal International Order (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
The book is co-edited by Professors Matthew Taylor and Oliver Stuenkel, of AU and FGV respectively, with contributions from eight faculty from the two institutions, as well as experts from the Washington community. The study offers a general evaluation of Brazil's stance on the global order, while also addressing its postures on specific aspects of foreign relations, including trade, foreign and environmental policy, humanitarian intervention, nuclear proliferation and South-South relations, among other topics. The authors argue from a variety of perspectives that, even as Brazil seeks greater integration and recognition within the prevailing global liberal order, it also brings challenges to the status quo that are emblematic of the tensions accompanying the rise to prominence of a number of middle powers in an increasingly multipolar world system.