A Leader Without Followers? The Growing Divergence Between the Regional and Global Performance of Brazilian Foreign Policy

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ABSTRACT

Brazilian diplomats and academics alike have long regarded regional leadership as a springboard to global recognition. Yet Brazil's foreign policy has not translated the country's structural and instrumental resources into effective regional leadership. Brazil's potential followers have not aligned with its main goals, such as a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and Directorship-General of the World Trade Organization; some have even challenged its regional influence. Nevertheless, Brazil has been recognized as an emergent global power. This article analyzes the growing mismatch between the regional and global performance of Brazilian foreign policy and shows how both theoretical expectations and policy planning were “luckily foiled” by unforeseen developments. It argues that because of regional power rivalries and a relative paucity of resources, Brazil is likely to consolidate itself as a middle global power before gaining acceptance as a leader in its region.

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