Brazil and International Conflict Mediation: Can This Rising Power Innovate?

Event summary by our intern Katarina Rebello:

In her recent lecture, Dr Adriana Erthal Abdenur explored the diverse contributions of Brazil in matters of international security and conflict mediation. As a “rising power,” Brazil has historically encouraged the development of multi-polarity while equally building legitimacy for its regional and global ambitions through engagement with international conflict resolution and post-conflict development. Dr Abdenur argued that these efforts have primarily unfolded within multilateral institutions like the Union of South American States (UNASUR) and the United Nations. Dr Abdenur also elaborated on Brazilian appeals for systemic change across the international community, promoting peaceful conflict resolution in lieu of military interventionism as well as advocating for broader reform of the United Nations Security Council. Many of these foreign policy objectives have come under increasing pressure from the ongoing economic recession and recent political turbulence in Brazil.

Drawing on her extensive fieldwork, Dr Abdenur shared unique insight into the roles that Brazil has played (and has not played) within the ongoing Colombian peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). While Brazil was not a prominent actor in the negotiations of the recent FARC peace agreement, Brazilian officials have expressed their willingness to contribute towards the implementation of the Colombian peace process, specifically advancing the benefits of technical assistance through agriculture and economic development in the region. Dr Abdenur argued that these contributions reflect a broader appreciation for the links between development and security. On this basis, Dr Abdenur contended that Brazil possesses normative power, further referring to the contributions of Burges (2008; 2015) who frames Brazil as a “consensual hegemon.” In different ways, this lecture opened up the possibility that Brazil will continue building its capacities for international conflict mediation while at the same time renegotiating the very meaning of “interventionism” in the contemporary world.