Bric Analysis Essay

Better Essays

. Volume 42, Number 1 . January 2010

r 2010 Northeastern Political Science Association 0032-3497/10

Brazil, the Entrepreneurial and Democratic BRIC*
Leslie Elliott Armijo Portland State University Sean W. Burges University of Ottawa
By most objective metrics, Brazil is the least imposing of the ‘‘BRICs countries’’— less populous than China and India, slower-growing in recent years than China, India, or Russia, and the only member of the group lacking nuclear weapons. We argue that Brazil’s material capabilities are more significant than commonly supposed. Moreover, Brazil’s democratic transition in the mid-1980s, along with that of its neighbors, has for the first time enabled Brazil to
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We are important because of our deportment and, above all, our objectives.’’1 As a large democracy determined to steer a course independent of the major advanced industrial states that have dominated global politics since the mid-twentieth century, Brazil perhaps calls to mind the India of Jawaharlal Nehru in the 1950s and early 1960s. Nehru sought through the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to claim the moral high ground between what he viewed as two equally imperialist camps of Soviet Communism and Western capitalism. But a more appropriate heuristic might be Brazil as the new Canada, a close ally of the United States, with whom it shares liberal democracy and a capitalist economy.2 Brazil’s recent assertiveness around SouthSouth cooperation and rebalancing of representation in international organizations constitutes a bid for greater global influence, implicitly at the expense of
´ 1. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, ‘‘Discurso durante cerimonia em comemorac¸ao ao Dia do Diplomata,’’ ˆ ˜ ´ Palacio Itamaraty, Brasılia (7 May 2009), authors’ translation. ´ 2. Andrew Cohen, While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2004).


POLITY FORUM: Brazil — Entrepreneurial & Democratic BRIC

the traditional Western European powers, but does not threaten the values underpinning the liberal world political economy: Brazil is the quintessential ‘‘responsible stakeholder.’’3 Brazil pursues its aims of greater voice in global
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