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Book review: “Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing When We Need It Most” by Thomas Hale, David Held and Kevin Young

Book review: “Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing When We Need It Most” by Thomas Hale, David Held and Kevin Young. Polity, 2013. 311 pages. R$ 84,02 (Kindle, amazon.com.br)

Academics and policy makers have, over the past decades, become so used to dysfunctional mechanisms of global governance that few would disagree that urgent reform is needed. Indeed, much of our contemporary debate seems to revolve around how to fix international institutions. In a memorable 2009 TED talk on global ethic vs. national interest, then UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown told a joke about the UN Secretary General asking God “when our international institutions will work properly.” Rather than providing a response, Brown went on, “God cried.”

Yet …


AIIB: China takes the lead

On June 29, representatives from 50 countries gathered in Beijing to participate in the signing ceremony of the articles of agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The significance of the event for both Asia and global order could hardly be overstated. It represents the definitive end of China’s traditional strategy to ‘Hide your strength, bide your time’, articulated by Deng Xiaoping. China’s claim for a global role is now fairly explicit, and for the first time, the country has opted for the creation of a new global institution to cement its leadership ambitions.

The creation of the AIIB is good news for three reasons.

First, the membership of countries from around the world will force China to operate …


BRICS and SCO: Russia’s Big Summit

A week before leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are set to gather for the 7th BRICS Summit in Ufa, the New Development Bank (NDB), often called “BRICS Bank”, dominates pre-summit discussions. Rightly so: The bank is the first institutional manifestation of the grouping long derided for being a mere talking shop. Setting up a joint development bank (and, to a lesser degree, a contingency reserve agreement) is a long-term commitment and will establish ties between governments on many different levels. Cooperation in the area of development finance is likely to increase the so-called “spillover effect” — bureaucrats will gain greater experience in intra-BRICS cooperation and establish contacts in other BRICS countries, and may seek to make …


As Brazil’s Senate approves creation of BRICS Bank, grouping enhances parliamentary cooperation

From left to right:Renan Calheiros (President of Brazil’s Senate), Eduardo Cunha (President of Brazil’s Congress), Sergey Naryshkin (Chairman of the State Duma), Valentina Matviyenko (Chairperson of Russia’s Upper House, the Federation Council), Zhang Dejiang (Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Parliament), Thandi Modise (Chairperson of South Africa’s National Council of Provinces), Solomon Tsenoli (Deputy Speaker of South Africa’s National Assembly) in Moscow. Not in the photo:Shashi Tharoor, Chairman of the Indian Parliament’s Standing Committee on External Affairs.

In an article published last week, The Economist observed that “recently,[Brazil] has made the BRIC grouping that joins it with Russia, India and China a priority.” The fact that a leading international affairs magazine misspelled the most important international platform …


Towards a leaderless and chaotic world?

BBC’s Badawi quizzes Norways FM, Joe Nye and former Putin advisor Karaganov listen

Last week, around two hundred current and former policy makers, academics, journalists, businesspeople and NGO representatives gathered at Chatham House for the 2nd London Conference, a yearly meeting to discuss global trends. Foreign Ministers from Norway, the United Kingdom, former leading foreign policy makers from the United States and India, and former leaders of government or state from Brazil, Australia, Denmark, Latvia, Sweden and elsewhere discussed a broad range of topics over the course of two days, ranging from the environment, global governance and the war in Ukraine.

While often criticized as mere networking events for globetrotting former policy makers in need of speaking fees, events like …


Dilma Rousseff’s BRICS challenge

One month from now, Dilma Rousseff will travel to Russia to participate in the 7th BRICS Leaders Summit in the city of Ufa. Together with her visit to Washington D.C., a week earlier, it will be the most important week for Brazilian foreign policy this year.

With severe budget cuts in the Foreign Ministry, lacklustre regional ties and a relationship with the United States in search of meaning, Brazil’s BRICS membership is one of the few bright spots of Brazil’s foreign policy of the Rousseff administration. It provides Brazil with privileged access to both China and India — not merely through two yearly encounters with its leaders, but also due to a growing number of institutionalized intra-BRICS activities in …


Curso intensivo de inverno: Brazil in World Politics

Os professores Matias Spektor e Oliver Stuenkel ministram, a partir do dia 13 de julho de 2015, o curso Brazil in World Politics com o objetivo de analisar a inserção brasileira no mundo sob uma perspectiva histórica. As aulas oferecem aos alunos a oportunidade de exercitar suas capacidades de análise por meio de estudos de caso aplicados. Este curso é aberto ao público e não é necessário ser aluno da FGV para se inscrever. Para todos alunos da FGV, a inscrição é feita pelo “Aluno Online”. O curso, de 4 créditos, é parte da Formação Complementar em Relações Internacionais. Para ex-alunos da FGV há um desconto de 20%.

For more information, click here

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Connecting the Global South: Why the BRICS Academic Forum matters

In May 2009, the Indian government hosted the first BRIC Academic Forum as a preparatory event to produce ideas that would feed into the first BRICS Leaders Summit in Yekaterinburg (Russia) a month later. Since the BRIC’s Brasília Summit in 2010, the yearly Academic Forum takes place in the same country that hosts the Leaders Summit. Each foreign ministry designated an institution which puts together a team of thinkers who then ‘represent’ their respective countries at the conference.

When it comes to fulfilling its primary purpose, i.e. to generate fresh ideas for diplomats who prepare the final declaration of the Leaders Summits, the Academic Forum seems to have largely failed so far. Most new ideas about the grouping are born …