Democracy Postponed: A political economy of Brazil's oligarchic foreign policy [article]

Sean Burges, Jean Daudelin
2015 unpublished
This chapter examines the ebbs and flows of pressure to democratize Brazil's foreign policy and their implications for Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Itamaraty, which claims a monopoly over the formulation and practice of the country's diplomacy. We hold distinct the questions of the democratic character of Brazilian foreign policy and the extent to which it is monopolized by Itamaraty (Lopes, 2013). Just as a state's monopoly over the means of violence tells us little about a country's
more » ... emocratic nature, the monopolization of diplomacy by a foreign ministry provides scant insight into the character of a country's foreign policy. The paper makes five related arguments. First, Brazil's deepening insertion in the global strategic and political economy has led both to a certain democratization of its foreign policy and to a weaker hold by Itamaraty over policy formulation and implementation. In particular, the opening of the Brazilian economy implied that the lives and interests of a growing number of people were affected by the outside world and foreign policy suddenly mattered in very concrete ways. A degree of engagement resulted, both from the private sector and the public, which opened up the range of interests foreign policy was meant to defend and promote. At the same time, the higher public relevance of foreign policy also increased its political appeal, leading several of the country's successive Presidents, in particular Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to grab from Itamaraty a much larger share of foreign policy--making and diplomatic activities than before. Second, by global standards and in spite of the opening just mentioned, Brazil remains relatively insulated from the vagaries of world affairs. The stakes at play in domestic politics still dominate electoral contests and make foreign policy issues a transitory and minor political side at best. As a result, broad--based public
doi:10.13140/rg.2.1.5103.0567 fatcat:mq5buvunsvgz3ptyfbffqs2mke