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Na RBPI 1/2012 – From Balance to Hegemony: Brazilian Foreign Policy in South America

Press release do artigo de Luis Leandro Schenoni – Ascenso y hegemonía: pensando a las potencias emergentes desde América del Sur – publicado na RBPI 1/2012

This article is framed within the current debate on emerging powers, trying to solve some of the theoretical dilemmas posed by mainstream rationalist approaches in IR theory. To understand the rise of Brazil as an emerging power in South America, it proposes a model of change from a balance of power to a hegemonic system that could help to understand two major questions: why has Brazilian foreign policy been so successful in positioning this country as an emerging power? And why have not any country in the region -Argentina in particular- reacted accordingly to the challenge posed by its mayor regional counterpart rise?
Transition from balance of power towards hegemony in a two-actor systemic model could help to identify the domestic variables which are relevant to explain once rise and the others decline. This approach has not been yet addressed by hegemonic stability or balance of power theorists -not even neoclassical realists- both of which still think of each others model as a completely incompatible structural understanding of world politics.
Therefore, the main specific objectives of this article are: (i) to identify the institutions and collective actors involved in foreign policy making and how they enhance communication of international incentives to balance; (ii) to analyze the main characteristics of long term coalitions among these actors and its effect on foreign policy, and (iii) to analyze whether a series of economic, military and political characteristics of Brazilian relations with the rest of the region can be best understood in terms of equilibrium or hegemony.
The article concludes that even if Argentina and Brazil were the pillars of a bipolar South American system once, this is clearly not the situation anymore. Nowadays a transition towards a Brazilian hegemony is taking place, and it is defined by the persistence of a developmentalist coalition pattern and the active participation of domestic actors in foreign policy decision-making processes in Brazil. Argentina, because of radical changes in its coalitions and development models has not yet balanced nor clearly opted for bandwagon. In such a transitional system, domestic politics gain great relevance in explaining foreign policy.
Luis Leandro Schenoni es Becario doctoral del Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). Profesor Asistente en la Licenciatura en Relaciones Internacionales de la Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA) y estudiante de la Maestría en Estudios Internacionales de la Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (UTDT) (llschenoni@gmail.com).
SCHENONI, Luis L.Ascenso y hegemonía: pensando a las potencias emergentes desde América del Sur. Rev. bras. polít. int. [online]. 2012, vol.55, n.1, pp. 31-48. ISSN 0034-7329.
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