Debates about Brazil's regional leadership peaked in 2004, when Cardoso's successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, used the concept of "non-indifference" in the context of Brazilian leadership in the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
It was the closest Brazil came to developing a regional foreign policy doctrine, whose origins can be traced back to 1995, when President Cardoso successfully overcame hyperinflation and began discussing ways to deepen regional integration and cooperation under the terms of Brazil.
The crisis of multilateralism could therefore diminish a space that has been crucial for Brazil to defend its strategic interests. A world without a WTO, without an annual meeting of G20 presidents and with a paralyzed UN Security Council - as was the case during the Cold War - would be a world more hostile to countries like Brazil.
Back in 2014, the West eventually caved in and accepted Putin's continued presence at the G20 summits. In the same way, Russia was allowed to organize the FIFA Soccer World Cup only a few years after the invasion, a sign that Putin's gamble had paid off. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, BRICS member countries are following the same strategy again. In 2014, the BRICS (besides Russia) - Brazil, India, China and South Africa - signaled that they opposed Western attempts to pull Russia out of the G20. With the exception of Brazil, they went further: the governments of China and South Africa blamed NATO for the conflict, and India is mobilizing to help Russia maintain its trade ties. Brazil's continued participation in the BRICS summit, a group that has become essential for the Russian president to avoid diplomatic isolation, could affect Brazil's image in the West, which is now strongly mobilized against Russia.
Providing global public goods to increase strategic autonomy
Due to its deep economic ties with all poles of power, no future Brazilian government will be able to avoid maintaining relations both with Beijing and Moscow, and with the West, which, even after the displacement of power to Asia, continues to be essential for the Brazilian economy. While China has been the largest trading partner for more than ten years, the European Union countries, together, still represent the largest amount of investment, followed by the United States. Unlike the current government, however, seen as an unconstructive actor at the international level, a new government may try to increase its strategic room for maneuver by returning to being a provider of global public goods. To give a concrete example: when Brazil agreed to lead the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti in 2004 - thus temporarily ridding the United States of a problem - President Lula increased his bargaining power when negotiating other issues with Washington. The more a new Brazilian government can project itself as a country that makes a concrete contribution to dealing with global problems in the Post-Western World, the more freedom it will have to resist the pressures of choosing a side among the great powers.
Seen by Bolsonaro as a strategic vulnerability, the Amazon Forest can, in this context, become a Brazilian diplomatic asset: as long as Brazil manages to project itself as an environmental superpower willing to quickly reduce deforestation and assume a key role in combating climate change - a stance for which it could receive billions of dollars in aid, - the country could try to minimize the political cost of maintaining ties with all the major players, both on the Western side, and with Russia and China. The best way to achieve this is for Brazil to become an essential player in the fight against deforestation and climate change. If it is recognized worldwide as such, it will have much more room to maneuver to defend its national interests in the post-Western world.
Copyright : Mikhail Klimentyev / Sputnik / AFP
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