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Volume 61 / Social Sciences


SCOTT D. TOLLEFSON, Assistant Professor and Director of M.A. Program, Department of Political Science, Kansas State University

IN THE FIRST PART OF THE 21st CENTURY, Brazil's international relations took on a more activist and nationalist tone as the presidency shifted from Fernando Henrique Cardoso to Luís Inácio Lula da Silva. That activism was evident in Brazil's decision to lead peacekeeping efforts in Haiti. The nationalism was more nuanced, but drove Brazil's efforts to counter the US efforts to increase the scope of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. The nationalism was also exemplified by President da Silva's closer ties to Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez, who openly defied the US on a series of issues. In many respects, however, there was continuity in Brazil's international relations, as the country continued to seek a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, to expand its influence in South America, and to cultivate ties with countries in Africa and Asia.

An excellent starting point for a study of the literature on Brazil's international relations is Paulo Roberto de Almeida's "O estudo das relações internacionais do Brasil (item #bi2002000568#). In chapter four, the author calls attention to the contributions of Brazilian scholars and diplomats to the study of Brazil's international relations. Indeed, the lion's share of the literature on Brazil's international relations is written by Brazilians—and much of it is excellent. One of the best examples of that quality is Sérgio França Danese's rich study of the role of presidents in shaping foreign policy, in Diplomacia presidencial: história e crítica (item #bi2002000571#). Danese's analysis is enhanced by his explicit use of theory and methodology.

Brazilian diplomats and scholars have collaborated on numerous studies over the years. A fine example of that rich cooperation is volume 2 of Sessenta anos de política externa brasileira, 1930–1990 (item #bi2002000577#). A common theme of those studies has been Brazil's position within the international system. The title of the book edited by João Paulo dos Reis Velloso, O Brasil e o mundo no limiar do novo século captures the sense of anticipation with Brazil's international opportunities in a new millenniun (item #bi2002000575#).

Some of the better studies on Brazil's international relations focus on specific themes such as human rights (item #bi2002000572#), multilateral issues (item #bi2002000566#), and security (item #bi2002000569#). In conclusion, the quality of the literature on Brazil's international relations is improving. One can only hope that with Brazil's growing prominence in the international system, that the literature will continue to expand and improve.

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