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  • Author: Stephen Clarkson
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: Of all the countries identified as rising powers on the world stage, Brazil appears to have drawn considerable economic and political strength from its engagement with various forms of regionalism during the expansionist years when Lula was president. Whether by helping create a local, intra-regional entity (Mercosul) or, later, proposing a continental one (UNASUL), Brasilia appeared to have the capacity to further its own economic and political interests by generating cooperative interactions with its smaller neighbors. Subsequently it took a leading role in inter-regional negotiations between Mercosul and the European Union in the global North and between Mercosul and ASEAN in the global South. More recently still, it spread its wings by associating trans-regionally with powers that are similarly dominant within their own regions – IBSA (India, Brazil, and South Africa) and BRICS (Russia, India, China, and South Africa) which shared with it a desire to play greater roles in the major institutions of global governance. While these new associations have their inner raisons d’être, belonging to them also bolsters Brazil’s weight in such traditional multilateral organizations as the United Nations and the WTO which were previously dominated by the US-Europe-Japan triad. This working paper assesses the relative importance of these different regionalisms in Brazil’s emergence on the global stage by counterposing them with such standard explanations of a state’s global significance as its military might, economic strength, and its soft-power influence overseas. We identify how various regionalisms interact with traditional bilateral and multilateral relations in helping or hindering Brazil in its global ascent. We conclude to our surprise that regionalism has only played a minimally positive role economically. Even politically, it has on occasion become more hindrance than help in boosting Brazil into its current orbit – as its announced intention to negotiate separately with the EU suggests.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, European Union, Regionalism, BRICS
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Brazil, South America, North America
  • Author: Stefano Palestini
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: Why do regional powers such as Brazil, South Africa, or Russia undertake different collective strategies to supply public goods in their regions of influence? When do those states prefer to delegate competences to existent multilateral financial institutions, such as regional development banks (RDBs), and when do they prefer to make use of their own national financial instruments? Why do those states create new RDBs that challenge the existing ones? The article builds and tests a set of hypotheses based on the interplay between capabilities and legitimacy to help answer these questions using contemporary South America as a case study. Through a process tracing analysis carried out for the period 2000–15, the article explains the different strategies undertaken by two states, Brazil and Venezuela, to supply infrastructure in the region, ranging from the use of the Brazilian National Development Bank to the creation of a new Bank of the South. It is suggested that the low capabilities and legitimacy expectations of both states explain the rising importance of external actors in the supply of regional public goods that we are currently witnessing in South America.
  • Topic: Development, Regional Cooperation, Banks, Regionalism, Financial Institutions
  • Political Geography: Brazil, South America, Venezuela, Global South