«Brazil, the Emerging Powers, and the Future of the International Order 2016 to remember the optimism that Brazilians once IT IS DIFFICULT IN shared ...»
Brazil, the Emerging Powers, and
the Future of the International Order
2016 to remember the optimism that Brazilians once
IT IS DIFFICULT IN
shared about their country’s climb up the ranks of international standings.
Already the fifth largest country in terms of landmass and demography,
it grew to become the seventh largest economy in the world, powered
by a major increase in commodity exports. It won bids to host the 2014
World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. It greatly increased its diplomatic representation, opening embassies across Africa and the Caribbean. It led peacekeeping operations in Haiti and the Demo cratic Republic of Congo, and a Brazilian rear admiral commanded UN naval forces off the coast of Lebanon. It aspired to find a peaceful solution to the international controversy generated by Iran’s nuclear program. It hosted and led major conferences such as Rio + 20 on the global environment in 2012 and NETmundial on global Internet governance in 2014. Together with its partners in the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), Brazil launched proposals for new multilateral institutions— BRICS New Development Bank and Contingent Reserve Arrangement (paralleling the role of the International Monetary Fund [IMF])— designed to give a greater voice to the Global South. In 2009, the newsmagazine The Economist celebrated Brazil’s rise with a controversial cover that depicted the famous statue of Christ Redeemer rising like a rocket from its perch on Corcovado Mountain high above Rio de 2 Brazil and the Future of the International Order Janeiro’s bay.1 For a few years, it seemed that Brazil would finally fulfill its long-held aspirations to become a major power. 2 By contrast, in 2015 the news from Brazil was mainly dominated by economic turmoil and the possibility of a presidential impeachment. Impeachment proceedings against Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, began in December 2015, just one year after she had been reelected. A major scandal at the national oil company Petrobras landed major politicians and top executives in jail, paralyzing an industry that constituted almost 10 percent of the economy. A prolonged economic recession, a significant fiscal deficit, and rising inflation eventually produced a downgrade of its international credit to junk bond status. In the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Competitiveness report, Brazil slipped eighteen places to seventy-fifth (out of 140).3 And it increasingly found itself left out of the major international debates of the day, such as those concerning Russia’s annexation of Crimea or the civil war in Syria. In light of such severe domestic setbacks, its recent international aspirations seemed to rapidly recede into historical memory.
Yet even in the midst of Brazil’s troubles, Brazil is still apower with the aspiration to become globally influential. And it is a power that other major powers recognize as potentially impor tant and a possible key to solving major crises in global governance. In June 2015 U.S. president Barack Obama made these points forcefully at a joint press conference with Brazilian president Rousseff, stating that the United States regards Brazil as a global power, rather than a regional power as a Brazilian reporter had suggested.4 Although this statement may have been a diplomatic way to score points with a visiting foreign leader, it also reflects the hopes of the United States for Brazil to play a constructive role in global governance.
Brazil’s efforts to emerge as a global power are particularly important now that international politics are in flux. The unipolar moment that followed the end of the Cold War seems to be slipping away in the face of the Chinese economic and military surge of the past decade and Russia’s desire to contest U.S. leadership along its periphery. In this context, some developing nations such as Brazil and India have increased their military, economic, and political capacities to the point that they appear to be on the brink of emerging out of the classification of a middle power and into a second tier of major power rankings.
Although it is common to speak of “rising” countries, the emerging powers are impor tant not just because they have accumulated more Brazil and the Future of the International Order material resources or military might but also because of their aspirations to influence the way global governance works. Emerging powers such as India and Brazil are more capable than middle or regional powers such as South Korea, Indonesia, or Mexico— but they are not (yet) great powers.
These emerging states are increasingly clamoring for a larger role in global politics and demanding that the governance structures of the international system take greater account of their interests. They are seeking recognition of both their economic importance and their political influence in the international organ izations that structure economic, political, and security global governance. It is impor tant to note that although they seek a greater say, states such as Brazil and India do not seek to overthrow the present order.5 In particular, Brazil sees both reform and revision as attainable and beneficial, both for its growth as a major power and for the stability of the international order.
From the perspective of U.S. leaders, these questions are primary:
What do emerging powers want, and are their intentions generally benign or potentially harmful to global order? The United States has to consider whether the interests of emerging powers can be incorporated into present international governance structures without long-term damage to the global order it put in place after World War II. The growing power of new actors such as India and Brazil has objective ramifications for the functioning of the international order. But their growing economic, military, and diplomatic power implies little about what these states might do with their expanded capabilities.
The next important question we should ask is this: Why have today’s emerging powers so far stopped short of attempting to overthrow the present system that they so often criticize? To answer this question it is essential to understand the underlying phenomena that shape the behavior of newly influential and capable states such as Brazil in the realm of global governance. In this book, we use Brazil as a case study for understanding how emerging powers seek to shape the international order.
We argue that as an emerging power Brazil seeks inclusion, not the overthrow of global governance structures.6 But inclusion as an influential participant does not mean simply accepting the rules of the existing international order. Emerging powers are not strong enough to be “rule makers” in the traditional sense— and frankly, even the United States is no longer strong enough to be a rule maker in isolation from other powers.
But emerging powers no longer wish to be “rule takers” either. Instead, 4 Brazil and the Future of the International Order they seek the opportunity to be part of the club of major powers that act as “rule shapers” in the international order.7 The third set of questions revolve around the capabilities that emerging powers may use to influence the international order, particularly in a system where war between the major powers has become vanishingly rare. The traditional route to influence through the accumulation of “hard” military and economic power is no longer the only way that emerging states can influence global governance. We examine the combinations of soft and hard power that Brazil uses to seek influence within the liberal international order and its governance structures. The domestic and international determinants of those combinations are distinct, and we note how and why those sources change over time.
This book seeks to answer these questions by examining the key arenas where states seek influence over the governance of the contemporary order— security, economics, and the global commons— and then evaluating the extent of Brazil’s impact on each area. We seek to understand why Brazil is critical of the present order (although it does not seek its overthrow) and argue that its repeated failures to both significantly revise and reform global governance are caused by its inability to develop the combination of hard and soft power that would make success possible. Because of its emphasis on the use of soft power, Brazil is a particularly good case study of emerging powers’ attempt to balance the use of different kinds of power. Given that soft power is based on the success of a country’s institutions, achieving influence requires both a favorable international context and successful governance at home. To date, theories of international relations have not incorporated the possibility of a developing country rising to a prominent position in international governance largely through the use of soft power.* In this chapter, we first examine the foundational principles that guide the contemporary liberal international order. We note that, among the emerging powers, Brazil is most in accord with many of the principles, but it also critically considers a myth the claim that the major powers adhere sufficiently to the principles of the order they lead. The second section examines what emerging powers want from the international *The discussions in the 1980s that Japan might become number one via a soft power approach dealt with a country that already possessed a developed economy.
Brazil and the Future of the International Order order; we argue that emerging powers are neither followers nor revolutionaries, but rather are reformers, revisionists, or a combination of the two. Emerging states may seek changes to the present order that would stabilize existing governance arrangements even as an emergent power’s rise alters the distribution of power. Or they may follow a more revisionist strategy, seeking to change the principles underlying the international order. The third section discusses hard and soft power and postulates why Brazil is attracted to the latter, without denying the value of the former as a last resort. In the fourth section we justify the use of Brazil as a case study that helps us think about emergence and the requirements to succeed in moving from an emerging power to a major one. The fi nal section explains how the structure of the book illustrates our argument about the choice and challenges of using soft power through the evaluation of Brazil’s current efforts to rise in the ranks of international standing.
EMERGING POWERS AND THE GLOBAL ORDER:
FOUR FOUNDING PRINCI PLES AND ONE MY THEmergence is the pro cess by which states are recognized by other state and nonstate actors as legitimately influential within international governance— either because their growing capabilities are potentially disruptive or because they offer the promise of contributing to the successful operation of the present order.* We avoid the use of the once-popu lar term “rising” to describe states such as Brazil and India. “Rising” implies a positive change in a set of state capabilities— GDP, military force, technological development—whereas “emergence” implies legitimacy for a rising power’s participation in shaping the rules of global order. Emergence requires both vertical and horizontal legitimacy. Vertical legitimacy is achieved when elites and/or public opinion supports efforts by an emerging power to play an influential role in global governance. Horizontal legitimacy is extended by the incumbent great powers when they recognize that an emerging power should be accommodated or consulted on global governance, either because it has enough hard power that it cannot be ignored or because it has enough soft power that it is attractive to *A leadership role in a multilateral institution that has little impact on the behavior of the major players in the international order—for example, being elected president of the Non-Aligned Movement—is not, however, an indication of emergence.
6 Brazil and the Future of the International Order include as part of the solution to major challenges confronting the international order. A major question thus becomes how the process of emergence (which has both objective and subjective components, unlike “rising”) affects foreign policy.
When emerging powers confront a global order made by others that came before them, the question is whether they seek to reform or revise it. Reform is focused on the design of global governance institutions and the procedures under which the order is implemented; for example, gaining a permanent seat at the UN Security Council or influence in the multilateral institutions that design the guidelines by which international behav ior is judged. Revision entails promoting reforms of the governance structures in conjunction with a revision of the foundational principles of the order. Although the academic literature in international relations tends to consider “revisionist powers” as those that would create a completely new order, we fi nd it more useful to group those states as “revolutionary.” This additional category allows for a more nuanced analysis of the revisionist aspects of the foreign policy of emerging powers, while at the same time allowing for the possibility that revolutionary major powers may seek to overturn the international order, as Napoleonic France, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union each attempted.
Principles play important roles in international governance, particularly given the anarchic character of the international system, which has no central government to enforce binding outcomes. Principles can be used to judge whether the behavior of states is legitimate,8 as well as to justify and legitimize action taken by the states powerful enough to create these foundational principles.9 Foundational principles defi ne what state behavior is proper and not proper (and therefore what kinds of behavior should be punished by the leading states in the international order).