This article traces the reaction of the Brazilian government to the emergence of the R2P norm. After an initial period of rejection, followed by a period of absence from UN debates, Brazil has recently engaged cautiously with R2P. The article gives a detailed analysis of the origins of the Latin American system of legal protections that resulted in an interpretation in the region that reduces sovereignty almost exclusively to the inviolability of borders. This interpretation is at the heart of Brazil’s rejection of R2P’s tenets regarding the use of force. It does not stand in the way, however, of its contributing decisively to the other two pillars identified in the Secretary General’s Implementation Report. The paper identifies two main factors that motivated the gradual opening of the Brazilian foreign policy establishment to R2P, one external and one internal. Externally, the strong endorsement of R2P in the World Summit Outcome Document did much to facilitate Brazil’s rapprochement with the concept. Concomitantly, Brazil’s rise as an emerging power has increasingly created tensions between regional traditions and still-dominant Northern views of the responsibilities that accompany Brazil’s global aspirations. Brazil is in the process of developing an approach to peace operations and intervention that defines responsibility separately from the use of force, obviating the effects of this perceived tension. As a result, Brazil has become an important peacekeeping troop contributor and is no longer a vocal detractor of R2P. It has begun adapting the non-military elements of the principle to its policy goals and looks set to be an active and important participant in the concept’s further implementation.
This article analyses the peacekeeping efforts of Brazil, an emerging power for which peacebuilding is a key element of its international presence, and which has been strongly critical of the dominant liberal paradigm. Peacebuilding is key to Brazil’s approach, as the country by tradition participates (with the contested exception of MINUSTAH) only in Chapter VI peace operations, abjuring the robust use of force. An activity such as peacebuilding which marries development and security concerns is an ideal setting for Brazil’s foreign policy aims; in order to gain a seat in global decisionmaking bodies, in the absence of hard power and the will to use it Brazil turns to peacebuilding to transform its domestic development successes into action in the security arena. The South American giant has also placed significant emphasis on Africa in part as a means to the end of underscoring – as a voice for the global South – its claim to greater international influence. This article will examine the motivations that underpin Brazil’s commitment to peacebuilding operations, as well as its commitment to that practice in Africa, which has taken place largely on a bilateral basis.
This article makes empirical use of the concepts of norm localization and norm subsidiarity, as developed by Acharya and revamped by Prantl and Nakano, to analyze Brazil’s engagement with the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and its development of the ‘responsibility while protecting’ (RwP) note in 2011. Many rising powers face a clear clash between their own normative priors and putatively universal norms such as R2P; the RwP note is one of the clearest examples in recent times of an attempt to navigate this contestation. The RwP note itself is not innovative, and its final intention is unclear; it contains elements of both norm localization and of the desire to establish the subsidiarity of Brazilian and regional traditions of non-intervention. As such it recasts the R2P in language acceptable to a Brazilian (and global Southern) public while simultaneously seeking to inject regional interpretations into the larger, global debate. The article makes use of Acharya’s model to outline drivers and resistances in the localization process, identifying the extent to which successful localization has occurred and contributing to more clearly differentiating the notions of localization and subsidiarity. RwP contains elements of both, which the paper clearly identifies in Brazil’s initial forays into the intervention debate. As such the piece contributes to advancing both the current state of norm diffusion theory and analysts’ and policymakers’ understanding of emerging powers’ engagement with R2P and intervention norms.