The semester’s most popular articles: “Brazil and the dilemma of regional leadership” and more

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1. Brazil and the dilemma of regional leadership

Much too late has the public debate in Brazil picked up on growing anti-Brazilian feelings in the region. Brazilian policy makers' traditional view, particularly on the left, is still that South America needs to resist North American dominance, something that seems increasingly out of touch from a, say, Bolivian or Paraguayan perspective. READ ARTICLE

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2. Brazil in Africa: Bridging the Atlantic?

Yet what can Brazil offer Africa that other emerging actors such as China and India cannot? The first thing that comes to mind is Brazil's expertise in tropical agriculture. Not only is Brazil's agriculture among the most productive in the world, but similar soil and climate conditions have allowed Brazil's Agriculture Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) to help African nations boost agricultural development. READ ARTICLE
 

3. BRICS Summit: A perspective from Brazil (Interview with AlJazeera)

Below is part of my interview with Stuenkel, where he sheds light on Brazil and the prospects and challenges the BRICS face. He also pushes back against those who say that the BRICS countries have failed. READ INTERVIEW
 

4. BRICS and the ‘Responsibility while Protecting’ concept (op-ed in The Hindu)

The concept of “Responsibility while Protecting” (RWP) may be a way towards a compromise. It proposes a set of criteria (including last resort, proportionality, and balance of consequences) to be taken into account before the U.N. Security Council mandates any use of military force. In addition, a monitoring-and-review mechanism to ensure that such mandates' implementation is seriously debated. READ ARTICLE
 

5. Can Brazil learn to manipulate China?

One of the key questions for Brazilian decision makers - both in domestic and foreign policy - this year will be how to deal with China's growing influence. Brazil's strategy is not only crucial for the bilateral ties between China and Brazil, but also fundamentally influences the way Brazil would like to position itself in the larger context of an historic and inexorable shift of power towards the BRICS. READ ARTICLE

6. Brazil: Regional perspectives matter

The institutions that are home to the bulk of Brazil's International Relations community remain concentrated in the triangle of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, and most academics rarely have a chance to engage with Brazilian thinkers located in other regions. While the South is better developed and boasts growing IR departments in places such as Porto Alegre and Florianópolis, very few IR scholars are based in the Northeast and North of Brazil, so this regional perspective is particularly underrepresented in debates about Brazil's national interest. READ ARTICLE

7. What can the BRICS Summit in New Delhi achieve?

As Manmohan Singh has rightly pointed out ahead of the summit, "the agenda of BRICS has gone beyond the purely economic to include issues such as international terrorism, climate change and food and energy security." This statement seems to reflect a growing consensus among Indian policy makers and analysts. For example, many of the topics that will be debated at the 4th BRICS Academic Forum (which takes place in New Delhi one month prior to the leaders' summit) have little to do with the economy, but include broad themes such as technology sharing, urbanization and education. READ ARTICLE
 

8. Why São Paulo needs a foreign policy

Hundreds of millions of people will move to ever-expanding cities, requiring a innovative solutions regarding urban planning and sustainability. Even human rights issues - an area many think of as a domain exclusively reserved for national governments - play an important role, as cities often suffer from extreme inequality, providing terrible living conditions for many of its newest arrivals, especially in emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil. READ ARTICLE

9. How should universities train Brazil’s future political leaders?

The main problem in Brazilian politics does not seem to be the lack of hard skills. Policy analysts agree what kinds of reforms need to take place - such as pension reform, tax reform and education reform. How to implement these issues given a complex and somewhat dysfunctional political system is much more difficult, and public policy schools do little to prepare students to navigate the politics involved in pushing through these reforms. How should policy makers deal with political deadlock? How do they communicate difficult decisions to the public and the media? How do they deal with the 'rise of the individual' in international affairs? How do they mobilize uninvolved citizens? How do they team up with actors outside of governments, such as civil society movements? READ ARTICLE

10. Will Brazil follow India’s Rafale bet? (op-ed in The Hindu)

In a somewhat unusual move, India agreed during Amorim's trip to share with Brazil some of its experiences of carrying out the open tender evaluation to select the best aircraft. This matters greatly to Brazil, as it is currently involved in a similar selection process. Brazil would like to buy 36 fighter jets, and the Rafale, F-18 and Gripen-NG are still in the race. Just as in India, the process was mired in controversy given its large size and the significant political implications. After President Lula seemed to favour the Rafale in 2009, the Dilma administration put the deal on hold in an effort to reduce public spending. READ ARTICLE

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