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To lead or not to lead: regional powers and regional leadership

Nolte, D; Schenoni, LL; (2021) To lead or not to lead: regional powers and regional leadership. International Politics 10.1057/s41311-021-00355-8. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Recent trends demonstrate that states with sufficient capabilities to be granted regional power status by its peers (primarily other states within their region) can nonetheless renounce regional leadership. This article analyzes the puzzling behavior of these detached or reluctant regional powers. We argue that resorting to an approach grounded in neoclassical realism is helpful to explain why regional powers might not exercise leadership. In this article regional leadership is conceptualized as an auxiliary goal within the grand strategy of a regional power. This goal will be pursued in the absence of certain structural and domestic constraints. Great power competition determines the incentives for regional leadership at the structural level. Capacity to extract and mobilize resources for foreign policy affects the decision to pursue leadership at the domestic level. We apply the analytical framework to analyze Brazil’s detachment from South America after the Cardoso and Lula presidencies.

Type: Article
Title: To lead or not to lead: regional powers and regional leadership
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1057/s41311-021-00355-8
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41311-021-00355-8
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Springer Nature Switzerland AG. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Regional powers, Brazil, Status, Hierarchy, Role theory, Neoclassical realism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10141693
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