Brazil’s Status Struggles: Why Nice Guys Finish Last
Recent domestic crises have put a dampener on Brazil’s great power aspirations. We suggest that this period of pessimism is an apt moment to take long-lens perspective on Brazil’s historical quest for status. To be sure, the “rise of Brazil narrative” was certainly ubiquitous, but prior research has lacked a means of assessing the extent to which international recognition for Brazil’s rise was forthcoming. Therefore, to complement existing research into Brazil’s status seeking, we provide a systematic evaluation and analysis of Brazil’s status performance between 1970 and 2010. To what extent was Brazil able to translate its economic resources into international status across the period? Compared to its BRICS peers, did Brazils status seeking bring about relative improvement in international recognition? To this end, we put to work a recently developed mixed-methods framework for systematically assessing and comparing countries’ status performance across time. Our results will be chastening to Brazilians but not entirely surprising. In short, our findings suggest that not only does Brazil underperform compared to its status resources, but also that it performs worse than any of its BRICS peers. While Brazilian politicians have tended to blame the P5 for excluding them from the high status “in group”, our findings show that Brazil has also struggled with recognition from smaller powers for a prolonged period stretching from the 1970s and into the twenty-first century.
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