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Chapter 9

Brazil: The Underlying Ideas of Regional Policies
Since the end of the Cold War, Brazilian governing elites have sponsored a move to the region (Burges 2008, Flemes 2006, Soares de Lima/Hirst 2006). A nuanced narrative shows increased attention to the region and renewed (if often frustrated) attempts to strengthen the record of regional cooperation. Successive



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2. Brazil Engages South America – Does It?


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There is now a substantial body of knowledge on the role of ideas in international relations. Recent work has focused on the place of ideas in systemic change (for example, Tannenwald/Wohlforth 2005, Risse-Kappen 1994) and on the pattern of ideational change within regions and regimes (for example, Acharya 2004, 1997, Keck/Sikkink 1998, Finnemore 2003, Foot 2000). The focus on ideas has also left a mark on the study of the foreign policies of major states (Goldstein 1993, Rose 1998, Foot 2001). This chapter explores the connections between strategic ideas and the regional activism Brazil has pursued in the last ten to fifteen years. The goal is to map core Brazilian concepts and beliefs about the region and the nature of power in the region as they have evolved in strategic circles and have shaped Brazil’s current posture. If one were to explain Brazil’s regional policies with reference to ideas, what would these ideas be and how would they help account for behaviour? Under which forms do ideas and other factors interact in the shaping of Brazil’s regional power profile? Do these ideas reflect fundamental ideologies, or are they mostly instrumental? Do they ever translate into a coherent normative vision? Are they built upon an explicit understanding of what ‘regional power’ might mean? And how have these ideas been institutionalized, if at all? The chapter unfolds in three parts. The first section describes Brazil’s pattern of regional activism in the last ten to fifteen years....

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