Brazilian Foreign Policy After the Cold War

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Brazilian Foreign Policy After the Cold War
By Sean W. Burges
University Press of Florida, 2009
248 pp. $65.00
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Drawing on extensive interviews with Brazilian diplomats, the Canadian scholar Burges cogently argues that Brazil is self-consciously pursuing a "consensual hegemony" to establish leadership in South America, partly in order to gain regional support for its international initiatives. This pursuit relies not on coercion or force, he finds, but rather on an inclusive, consultative style of leadership. Burges prefers the more oblique, behind-the-scenes statecraft of professional diplomats and of former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso to the explicit leadership claims of Cardoso's successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva -- for Brazil, he argues, has lacked the resources to provide the public goods and pay the financial costs of explicit hegemony. More recently, the Brazilian Development Bank has been promoting the internationalization of Brazilian firms and the Brazilian government has begun to use its $200 billion in reserves to expand its regional influence. But it is unclear whether these new economic incentives will temper the resistance of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela to Brazilian hegemony in South America -- a question somewhat underexplored by Burges.