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Volume 53 / Social Sciences

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: BRAZIL


SCOTT TOLLEFSON, Assistant Professor, Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School

THE LITERATURE ON BRAZIL in the international system can be divided into at least seven major themes. The first and over-arching theme is that of Brazil's role within a changing international system (items bi 91009783, bi 91006398, bi 93002512, bi 92016352, bi 91006403, bi 91008164, and bi 93021112). The second theme is Brazil's relations with Latin America (items bi 93002107, bi 91025853, bi 93020882, and bi 93021056). Special attention is given to Brazil's integration with the Southern Cone through MERCOSUL, which unites the economies of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay (items bi 93002785 and bi 91025862). Within that integration scheme, as one would expect, the Brazilian-Argentine relationship has received the most attention (items bi 91006402, bi 91025788, and bi 92000712). Much of the analysis seeks to explain why the two countries have moved toward greater cooperation, as exemplified in the nuclear arena (item bi 91005020). Most of the literature traces the history of Brazilian-Argentine relations; an unexpected gem is a 1920s secret document discovered in the archives of Brazil's foreign ministry (item bi 91018766). As a counterpoint to the literature on integration, a number of authors assess Brazil's hegemonic pretensions in the hemisphere (items bi 92016354 and bi 93021072).

An additional theme examines Brazil's relations with the US (items bi 91025875, bi 91025838, bi 92005836, bi 91025762 and bi 91004946). In the past, this has received most of the attention in the literature, but that is no longer the case. Indeed, most of the work in this area is historical.

The diversification of Brazil's external relations, away from the US, and toward Europe and Asia is also studied (items bi 91009787, bi 91008151, bi 91005075, and bi 91004768). The Brazilian-Japanese relationship is a topic of growing interest (items bi 91025790 and bi 93021034), but is poorly understood. Predictably, there are few works on Brazil's relations with Africa (although item bi 92003110 is an exception). A major gap in the literature is Brazil's relations with the Middle East. This is surprising, given the significant level of trade between Brazil and various Middle Eastern countries.

The rather traditional theme of diplomatic history continues to produce some of the finest work in the field (items bi 91025763 and bi 91025841). See, for example Hilton's book on Brazilian-Soviet relations from 1917-47 (item bi 91006035).

Emerging issues such as the environment and Brazil's role in the Amazon are also well represented (items bi 93002514, bi 91023160, and bi 91025865). There is a growing awareness on the part of Brazilians that these issues are global in nature.

A final theme relating to security issues and their implications for Brazil's foreign policy (items bi 91006177, bi 90011676, bi 91025857, and bi 91005871) also includes works on Brazil's armaments industry (items bi 91023204, bi 91007713, and my 1991 dissertation for Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies).

A major weakness in the literature on Brazilian foreign policy is a level-of-analysis problem - that is, the tendency to analyze only at the nation-state or international system level. There is a need to focus the foreign policy analysis on decision-making, bureaucratic politics, leadership, etc. A prominent and promising exception is an article by Hirst and Lima (item bi 91008158). Furthermore, much of the literature suffers from a lack of theoretical orientation. Some notable exceptions are works by Lima (item bi 92014513), Evans (item bi 90013295), and Graham (item bi 93020845).


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