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Myths of Multipolarity: The Sources of Brazil's Foreign Policy Overstretch

Schenoni, LL; Ribeiro, PF; Lopes, DB; Casarões, G; (2022) Myths of Multipolarity: The Sources of Brazil's Foreign Policy Overstretch. Foreign Policy Analysis , 18 (1) , Article orab037. 10.1093/fpa/orab037. Green open access

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Abstract

In this article, we provide a framework to analyze the foreign policy overstretch of middle powers, that is, their recent tendency to expand foreign policy goals and ambitions beyond their capabilities. We propose that overstretch results from the interaction of permissive international environments and the collusion of domestic actors to produce foreign policy myths. These myths, in turn, justify unsustainable swelling of foreign policy expenditures until they are shattered. After laying out our theory, we test it against the case of twenty-first-century Brazil. First, we document how interest groups logrolled to foster and capitalize on a “myth of multipolarity,” which, once entrenched in elite discourse and public opinion, resulted in a tangible overgrowth of foreign policy. Second, we show the extent of overstretch across four indicators—number of embassies, participation in peacekeeping operations, membership in international organizations, and aid projects overseas—using the synthetic control method to compare Brazil with a plausible counterfactual.

Type: Article
Title: Myths of Multipolarity: The Sources of Brazil's Foreign Policy Overstretch
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/fpa/orab037
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/fpa/orab037
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) (2022). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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/10142378
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