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Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida;

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terça-feira, 6 de fevereiro de 2024

Daniel Buarque, livro: Brazil's International Status and Recognition as an Emerging Power: inconsistencies and complexities (Palgrave)

Tenho o prazer de apresentar este livro, publicado pela prestigiosa Palgrave MacMillan, do jornalista-acadêmico (ou vice versa) Daniel Buarque, mais um dele sobre o Brasil, este em inglês, resultado de seu doutoramento no King's College de Londres, focando no Brasil como país emergente e candidato a potência média mundial.

O livro tem uma apresentação do conhecido brasilianista da Universidade de Carleton (Canadá), Sean Burges, que transcrevo abaixo, e que faz a pergunta relevante: O que um país como o Brasil precisa fazer para tornar-se um grande poder mundial, com uma cadeira permanente nas mesas relevantes da governança global?

Esta é a pergunta que Daniel Buarque se empenha em responder, e pelo seu prefácio (e numa consulta à bibliografia), percebe-se que ele desenvolveu uma metodologia apropriada, e muniu-se de dados empíricos adequados para ver como o Brasil é percebido no mundo, daí o subtítulo: inconsistências e complexidades.

Transcrevo igualmente seu prefácio ao livro, que condensa uma vasta experiência em temas brasileiros, para o público nacional e estrangeiro.

Daniel Buarque is a post-doctoral researcher at the Instituto de Relações Internacionais of Universidade de São Paulo (IRI/USP—Brazil). He holds a joint Ph.D. in international relations from King’s College London (KCL—UK) in partnership with USP and also holds an M.A. in Brazil in Global Perspective from KCL and a B.A. in Social Communication (Journalism) from Universidade Católica de Pernambuco (Brazil). His research focuses on the study of international status of states from an intersubjective external perspective, working towards a theory of how nations can increase their level of prestige and gain recognition from the established great powers. He has published widely in Third World Quarterly, Carta Internacional, Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, International Journal of Communication, Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, Brasiliana, Interesse Nacional and more. A journalist with more than 20 years of experience in Brazilian news outlets, has also published six books, including Brazil, um país do presente (2013) and O Brazil é um país sério? (2022).

Reproduzo o sumário do livro aqui abaixo: 

 Apresentação e prefácio: 



The first two presidencies of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) were accompanied by an unprecedented surge in Brazil’s international presence. Everywhere you turned there appeared to be a Brazilian delegation putting forward alternate language in treaty negotiations, proposing new models of development cooperation, negotiating new corporate take overs, or working to calm simmering tensions between contending parties. From Haiti through Geneva and Doha to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil was there. As commentators and pundits quipped, Brazil had arrived.


Brazil’s global influence also prompted a cottage industry in the academy with scholars seeking to explain Brazil’s rise. The big questions dominating this literature were hardly surprising. What was it about the 2000s that allowed Brazil to assume such influence in the global and regional system? How might we characterize the role Brazil saw for itself in world affairs? Was there something particular about the Brazilian approach to foreign policy that marked a new era? Could we argue that Brazil’s approach to South-South Cooperation required a fundamental rethink of international relations theory with a specific look to thinking from the South? Thousands of pages of high-quality research were published answering these and many other related questions about Brazil in the world. Yet, almost all of this literature side-stepped a critical question: what did the established powers think about Brazil’s rise? Perhaps more importantly, much of this scholarship did not quite explain ‘what went wrong’ and why Brazil faded with the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff in 2016.


An obvious, but largely unanswered question has been left lingering: what does a country like Brazil have to do in order to become a major world power with a permanent seat at key global governance decision tables? To date the attempts to answer this question have largely relied on theoretical and analytical frameworks to support inductive hypotheses. Although there have been a few publications by decision-makers in other countries musing on Brazil’s place in the world and some academic papers informed by conversations about Brazil’s rise, deep and systematic research is absent. This is where Daniel Buarque’s book steps in. 


Rather than relying on the traditional tropes and inductive techniques, Buarque has undertaken the hard task of developing a methodological framework for collecting the empirical research necessary to answer the question of how Brazil is actually perceived. Moreover, Buarque chose to focus his research on the key gate keepers to lasting power and influence in the international system. After all, it is the Permanent Five in the UN Security Council that ultimately will decide who has power and influence in global affairs, even if such acceptance is grudgingly given.


The result in this book is a careful exploration of what key power-broking countries saw Brazil doing well during its boom years in the 2000s and where the country failed. For the specialist in Brazilian foreign policy the wealth of elite interview data and accompanying analysis is of obvious interest. Yet, the lessons from this book extend far beyond the specific case of Brazil to offer deeper insights into how status changes in the international system and what exactly the dominant actors expect to see in a country that would be their equal in practice and not just legal name. Copious reference to elite interviews with experienced diplomatic and government officials from the P5 countries paints a detailed picture of what sort of behaviour is expected from a would-be global power. In itself this betrays much of the underlying preconception and prejudice about what makes a country important and worth listening to, which in turn offers further avenues for understanding why new ideas in the global system may stutter and fragment. It also serves as a diagnostic for how Brazil or any other aspirant to global powerdom might want to shape their behaviour and approach going forward.


As this book is being published policy and scholarly circles are devoting a tremendous amount of energy to exploring the question of potential hegemonic transition, shifts in global power structures, and the possible end of the liberal international order. Brazil under newly re-elected Lula clearly wants to be a major player in this process. Whether you are studying the wider macro questions of change in the global system or the specifics of evolution in Brazilian foreign policy, Buarque’s book is of enormous value. Per Giovanni Sartori’s arguments about the ‘ladder of abstraction’, the detailed single case study provided by Buarque here offers us an ideal platform for opening up new questions and formulating new, testable hypotheses about status and change in world order. Moreover, his research methodology points us back to an important lesson sometimes lost in modern political science, namely the need to patiently sit down and speak with the people who populate the institutions mediating power and influence in world order.


Sean Burges

Carleton University

July, 2023


Preface – Brazil, show your face



Quando eu te encarei frente a frente não vi o meu rosto

Chamei de mau gosto o que vi, de mau gosto, mau gosto

É que Narciso acha feio o que não é espelho[1]


(But when I first met you face-to-face and didn’t see my own face

I wrote it all off as just more of the city’s bad taste

You know Narcissus likes only what he sees when he looks in the mirror)[2]




In the late 1980’s, as the country turned the corner after more than two decades of an oppressive military dictatorship, one of its most popular singers asked Brazil to introduce itself and explain to its population, and the world, who it was. “Brazil, show your face”, sang Cazuza[3]. For the following three decades, the then established democratic state would work hard to understand and consolidate this identity that it was developing, as well to present itself to the rest of the planet and to try to be recognised as the important global player it had long wanted to be.


Trying to know oneself is one of the most pressing questions of humankind, however, and great philosophers have since Ancient Greece thought about and discussed the importance of self-knowledge. Achieving that is a challenge. When we think about the real world, this interrogation might be fundamental to understanding the very identity not only of individuals, but also of entire countries. In international relations, states have a need to know themselves and the type of recognition they get from others in order to understand their place in the world. And that is particularly true for those nations that want to be among the ‘greatest of all’, as Brazil does.


For more than a century in its not so long history, Brazil has believed it was destined to greatness and tried to project itself to the rest of the world as an important, modern, developed nation, worth of admiration and respect. Long has it believed it deserved to be seen as it saw itself and tried find out what was the image reflected, what the others in the world thought about it. 


Mirrors can help with this search for self-knowledge. They allow one to see oneself on his own as well as to closer perceive what others see. Even the wicked woman of the fairytale would need to use magic to find out how beautiful she really was in comparison to the others in her realm. ‘Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who in this land is fairest of all?’[4], she would ask to be convinced of her own grace. 


This appeal to a reflection is a result of one of the two traditional paths to trying to know oneself. There is the introspective (thinking in first person) and extrospective (thinking in the third person). The first one might appear easier, since it comes from inside, but self-distancing, viewing oneself from an external perspective, can be more conducive to wisdom. It appears to be imperative to learn about oneself from the outside in order to fully develop one’s own identity. 


But in international relations there are no magic mirrors. And while it might be possible to develop and introspective understanding about this identity as well as interests and aspirations, seeing a state’s own image from the outside may be even more difficult. 


This is the challenge that this book has tried to solve. Even without magic, it applies a systematic research method to go beyond what Brazil believes itself to be and what it tries to project. The study presented here wanted to learn about the other side of the mirror, what is seen of the country and reflected back. What kind of recognition can such a rising state get from others. Not what Brazil wants to be, but what it is perceived as being.


The book is the result of over four years working on a PhD at King’s College London (in partnership with Universidade de São Paulo, in Brazil), but it also comes from more than a decade researching and writing about the foreign perceptions of Brazil both as an academic and as a journalist. It all began in the early 2000s, writing articles for the Brazilian newspaper “Folha de São Paulo” about how the world was watching one of the waves of violence in the country. It has long been very common for all the national media to publish articles alluding to what was said about the country abroad. Brazilians often pay attention to the work of Brazilianists, academics studying the country with a foreign perspective, as well as to what the international media says about whatever is happening in Brazil and its ‘repercussions’ abroad. And I wrote a good share of articles like that not only for “Folha”, but also for “G1”, “Terra”, “Valor Econômico”, “BBC News Brazil”, “UOL” and many other outlets – and these foreign perspectives ended up becoming several other reports, two books, a masters and doctoral research, academic articles and this book.


In 2010, I travelled to the US and spent six months conducting interviews and developing independent research that would be published as the book “Brazil, um país do presente” (Brazíl, a country of the present). Based on over a hundred interviews conducted while living in New York and traveling to ten states, It surfed on the wave of optimism about Brazil and argued that the country “had arrived”. It didn’t take long for that to change, however, and by 2013 I was abroad again, living in London and doing a MA in Brazil in global perspectives at KCL and watching the positive images about the country crumble under a wave of protests, political and economic crisis. The dreamed “future” seemed to be far away once again.


But there was something in that oscillation that deserved more attention. It was clear that Brazil wanted to be seen as an important country in the world and valued seeing its reflection in the mirror of international opinion. One problem, though, was that there was not a consolidated image reflected. There were interpretations of the international media, there were anecdotal evidence from interviews, there were several different global surveys repeating stereotypes related to the country, but there was not a clear image that represented the reflection of Brazil. Especially when thinking about international relations and the actual role the country plays in the world.


This is part of what motivated the research presented in this book. I started my PhD trying to develop an understanding of Brazil's reflection in the mirror of international relations. I’ve tried to do so by conducting interviews with foreign experts from great powers of the world. These are the countries that decide the paths of global politics, this is the group that Brazil wants to be a part of, so it would be important to reveal their perceptions about the country. It would be a means to achieve the necessary self-distancing in order to think extrospectively about the country so that it would be possible for it to know itself better. 


And the study ended up going beyond that and developing an important understanding about what any state that have the same aspirations as Brazil can do in order to achieve international recognition for a high level of prestige. Based on the perceptions of elites from the top of the global hierarchy, it analyses the challenges to change the status quo and provides a typology about possible (albeit difficult) paths emerging countries can follow in order to attempt to gain recognition from the established great powers.


As in the fairytale, the reply from the mirror might not be what the person/country looking at it wants to hear. The reality of what is perceived from the outside can be frustrating. But in the real world, instead of going ‘wicked’ and trying to get rid of rivals as in ‘Snow White’, it is important to understand this feedback, learn from it, align the expectations and develop an actual strategy to work out how to improve the reality so that the reflection can be more suited to what one wants. 


This book offers an analysis that can help in this process and allow Brazil to learn about itself and how it is seen from the outside so that it can know its itself a little better and think about its identity, its place and its aspirations in the world. This may surely help the country show its face to the world and try to find the best place for itself in global relations. 


As the Rolling Stones would say: You can't always get what you want, But if you try sometimes you just might find, You just might find that you, You get what you need’[5].

[1] Caetano Veloso. 1978. “Sampa.”Track 7 on MuitoPhilips Records.

[2] Rogow, Zack. “Translating ‘Sampa’ by Caetano Veloso”. World Literature Today (blog), 2014. https://www.worldliteraturetoday.org/blog/translation/translating-sampa-caetano-veloso.

[3] Cazuza. 1988. "Brasil." Track 6 on Ideologia. Philips Records.

[4] Walt Disney’s Snow White and the seven dwarfs. 1st ed. Disney Princess. New York: Disney Press, 2005.

[5] The Rolling Stones. 1969. "You Can't Always Get What You Want." Track 9 on Let It Bleed. Decca.

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