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«Brazil, the Emerging Powers, and the Future of the International Order 2016 to remember the optimism that Brazilians once IT IS DIFFICULT IN shared ...»

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These principles may or may not be accepted by other actors in the system, even if they do not necessarily challenge the present order. A state may accept the order while disagreeing with the underlying principles if it finds the existing order advantageous or is unwilling to bear the costs of opposing the foundational principles. In the current international order, four foundational principles— two adopted from earlier Western orders and two developed under U.S. leadership in the post–World War II liberal international order— stand out.

Brazil and the Future of the International Order

First Foundational Principle

The fi rst foundational principle defi nes the nature of the members of the order. The fundamental starting point for all modern international orders— a product of the series of treaties commonly referred to under the rubric “Peace of Westphalia”—is that states in the system are “sovereign,” meaning that the government of a political unit has governance rights over that unit. Although sovereignty does not mean that a state is free to do whatever it desires, the concept implies that governments decide how their state will respond to the opportunities and constraints presented by the international situation and at home. Sovereignty is violated when one state makes a decision in the name of another or replaces a government of another state. In practice, sovereignty has always been a relative concept. Although minor powers have found that right constrained, the major powers have not seen their internal affairs as subject to outside intervention.10

Second Foundational Principle

Although the principle of sovereignty became an important part of international relations discussions during the eighteenth century,11 only with the Second Hague International Peace Conference in 1907 did members of the Western international order accept the second foundational principle that all states are equally sovereign. This claim to sovereign equality has nevertheless been constantly challenged since then, not because states try to influence the choices that other state leaders make but by the consistent attempts of states (sometimes successfully) to coerce or overthrow governments of other states that are behaving in ways with which they disagree.12

Third and Fourth Foundational Principles

In addition to the foundational principles regarding sovereignty and sovereign equality, the modern post–World War II liberal international order is guided by two other overarching principles. The third principle relates to the system’s efforts to safeguard the world from military agg ression, in par tic u lar nuclear war. The UN Security Council and the Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are the key elements in this regime. A fourth principle of the liberal international order is promoting 8 Brazil and the Future of the International Order a market-based global economic order, not only in trade but also in finance and development assistance. An emphasis on free market principles as the basis for the global economy is seen as the best path toward development and prosperity of all states, particularly after the end of the Cold War.

is also founded on a myth, which holds


that its foundational principles are equally adhered to by all powers, great and small. The emerging powers have questioned this myth, claiming that the five nations with veto power in the UN Security Council— the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, and China—do not behave as if they are fully bound by Security Council decisions regarding the appropriate use of military force. They also do not behave as if they are fully bound by the NPT commitment toward nuclear disarmament, nor do they support the sanctioning of nuclear proliferators that they consider to be their important partners, such as India in the 1970s for the Soviet Union, India today or Israel for the United States, or North Korea for China. Similarly, countries such as Brazil regularly accuse the major powers of violating the global market-based economy principle to promote the competitiveness of their national economies, either through the use of nontariff barriers or of preferential treatment for some of their domestic industries (notoriously agriculture in Europe and the United States). From the perspective of countries in the Global South, it appears paradoxical to promote a global free market in capital but to regulate labor flows across national boundaries, regularly placing obstacles to external migration to developed economies— given that labor is as much a factor of production as capital and there is no a priori reason why it should not flow equally freely in a global economy based on free market principles. Finally, for countries such as Brazil that have been historically forced to accede to IMF conditions in return for financial assistance, the status of the  U.S. dollar as the de facto global reserve currency is galling because it allows the United States to ignore many of the recommendations that international financial institutions regularly impose on other states to ensure smoothly functioning global capital markets.

The incongruence between great power behavior and the principles on which the order is based was not fully apparent until after World War II. Before then, the international system, which became global as a consequence of nineteenth- century Eu ropean imperialism, operated under a thinly institutionalized governance structure built around the Brazil and the Future of the International Order balance of power among a few large states in the Global North. Parallel

governance structures operated across subsets of the international system:

the League of Nations was relevant for some nations, European imperialism governed others, and in the Western Hemisphere, the dominant U.S. power structured relations among states to varying degrees. Imperial European states did not accept the notion of sovereign equality of the polities of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The Pan-American Union, which included the Latin American states, was usually incapable of raising the costs to the United States of its intervening against regional governments perceived as detrimental to U.S. interests.13 As a result of decolonization in the mid-twentieth century, national rather than imperial states became the basic building block of the international order, and the international system became truly global. The liberal international order created by the United States and its European allies after World War II needed to address the incongruence between the actions of major powers, which treated some states as more equal than others, and the principles of sovereignty and sovereign equality preferred by the middle and smaller powers, the numbers of which were rapidly growing as decolonization proceeded. This incongruence, however, was not a problem confronted by the Soviet Union within its sphere.

Its international order was based on the foundational principle that the Soviet Union provided the correct interpretation of Marxism and had the historical responsibility to lead and to intervene when necessary to protect socialism. But the United States, even though it believed that it understood how to best achieve security and prosperity for all, made no such claims of an inherent right to impose its interpretations on friend and foe alike.

Foundational Myth

Therefore the United States needed a foundational myth that it felt justified its occasional violations of the principles undergirding the liberal international order. This myth would also need to indicate to the other major powers that U.S. actions running counter to the system’s founding principles were intended to provide public goods, such as international security or international trade, not to overturn the global order. This myth has been referred to in many ways— all emphasizing the “exceptional” nature of the United States and both its ability and its willingness to provide public goods to the world, such as freedom, 10 Brazil and the Future of the International Order security, and democracy.14 It holds that, when confronted by norms violators, the United States sees the need (and therefore has the right) to defend the prevailing order unilaterally and in ways that, in the short term, contradict acceptable behavior in a system characterized by sovereign equality.15 The reason we label this a myth rather than a principle is that many states, including emerging powers such as Brazil, do not support episodic U.S. violations of the principles of the international order as legitimate.

Yet, because they perceive the costs of opposing such unilateral behavior as outweighing its benefits, they thus accept it de facto without granting it legitimacy.16 For example, the UN Security Council did not support the U.S. decision to invade Iraq in 2003. The subsequent U.S. invasion of Iraq and the lack of a condemnation of it by the Security Council did not indicate the other major powers’ acceptance of the U.S. action as correct behavior, but rather their inability to prevent such behavior. When the United States invaded Panama in 1989, Latin American states did not believe that the United States had the right to punish Panama for transgressions of rules about the drug trade that it had unilaterally defi ned.

The Organization of American States (of which the United States is a member) condemned the invasion as a violation of international law, yet the Latin American members took no further action to force the U.S. to desist.17 This open criticism of U.S. unilateral behavior implies disagreement, not acceptance of its legitimacy.

Much of the international relations literature revolves around the choices made by great powers in maintaining the global order. It has long been preoccupied with what happens when a dominant power is overtaken by a rising power, such as when Germany twice tried to become a hegemon. Recent discussions of the implications of the rise of China for the liberal international order fall into this category.18 In contrast, this book focuses on choices made by emerging states, the second-tier great powers. These are the states that have the resources to potentially affect the international system: they have more resources than middle powers, but not enough to rival the system’s great powers. At this stage, emerging powers can either become followers or seek revisions and reforms of the present order’s foundational myths and principles. In this book, we show that Brazil seeks revisions and reforms that would make the four principles undergirding international order more salient and more effective in fully constraining U.S. unilateral behav ior. The question for dominant powers such as the United States is whether Brazil and the Future of the International Order emerging powers such as Brazil can play a constructive role in supporting the prevailing global order and can become more effective in doing so if their interests can be accommodated or whether these states’ demands and behavior will corrode global governance.

–  –  –

Emerging power status is determined by the accumulation of power that spans military, economic, political, and social arenas. For example, North Korea may have a large army and a few nuclear weapons, but because of its economic weakness, totalitarian governance, and repulsive social policies, it has no ability to influence anything beyond its own security; the North Korean government knows that and does not seek to become a player in discussions about the future of the international order.

We argue that as states develop their power across domains relevant to the governance of the prevailing international order, they will reach a point where they will seek to “emerge” into global leadership positions.

Emerging powers are identified as such because they are on a path that will move them from the middle ranks to great power ranks. No one (except their neighbors) is particularly interested in the small power that rises to a middle power position, but those countries that rise to the top rungs are watched closely.

All decisions regarding international behav ior carry some costs, domestic as well as international, and international behavior of consequence will require that states pay the costs of cooperation or of confrontation.19 These costs are inversely related to capabilities; therefore weaker states face greater costs than more power ful states and have a more limited range of choices available to them. All existing theories of international relations contain some argument about how costs influence choices, even those theories that postulate that costs are not always calculated rationally. 20 Emerging powers face a set of choices that guide their international behavior that are unavailable to middle and small powers. These choices provide opportunities to promote their interests, and we expect them to seek out those opportunities. We can thus postulate that an emerging power has three goals as it rises in the international order. The fi rst is to gain influence. A second corollary goal is to reduce the costs to itself of different foreign policies. A third goal is to open up new opportunities within the international system. The fundamental means of achieving 12 Brazil and the Future of the International Order these goals is by building up its hard and soft power resources in a balance that has resonance with the interests of the major powers in the international order and is sustainable at home over the medium to long term.

Emerging powers have the same interests of other states— the defense of their sovereignty and the pursuit of national goals at minimal cost.

Security against invasion or coercion is implied in defending one’s sovereignty. Developing the national economy is also a strategy for defending sovereignty, because the wealthier a state is and the more diversified its economy, the less vulnerable it is to sanctions, the more costs it can absorb in pursuing its interests, and the more options it has.

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