Four elements of Brazil’s identity—its large size, its self-perception as part of the Western world, its vulnerability to European intervention and to the changing world economy, and its success in defending itself through diplomacy—have all contributed to shaping its aspirations in the international domain. Participation in the councils of the great powers became a means by which Brazilian diplomats could pursue a world order that was more favorable to its interests.
But even though domestic aspirations and foreign perceptions have held out the prospect for Brazil becoming a major power, it has lacked the capabilities—particularly on the military and economic dimensions—to pursue a traditional path to greatness. Militarily, Brazil has been only episodically consequential, and less so as we approach the present. Given South America’s remoteness from the geopolitical centers of global conflict, Brazil has faced little pressure to improve its modest security capabilities beyond what was necessary to fend off its smaller neighbors. Brazil’s efforts to advance through partnerships with other states have been hobbled by a historical reluctance to pool its sovereignty. In addition, turbulent domestic politics or major economic crises have periodically undermined Brazil’s credibility and capabilities, interrupting its rise.
How has Brazil sought to overcome the gap between its ambitions and its capabilities? Brazil was a prominent exponent of the practice of ‘soft power’. It positioned itself internationally as a proponent of equality among nations, international law, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts. To this, Brazil has added a formidable cultural output and most recently, democracy, prosperity and social inclusion. This is an attractive package, particularly for other developing countries who want to find a similar status. This chapter follows Brazil’s attempts in the 20th century and up through President Dilma Rousseff to parlay this approach into a say in shaping the rules governing the international order.
Hugo Rogelio Suppo
Between 1934 and 1943, French cultural diplomacy in Brazil was the task of intellectuals, the so called “intellectual ambassadors.” Notwithstanding the differences in their individual profiles, political convictions, academic conceptions, and religious beliefs, they all carried out their common mission of creating a pro-French profile in the Brazilian academic realm. The article is an analysis of the strategies, means, actors, and results of French cultural diplomacy in Brazil between 1934 and 1943, whose success can be explained, fundamentally, by the symbiosis between the university field and the diplomatic field.
Japanese immigration to Brazil started in 1908 as a replacement for European immigrants to work for the state of São Paulo’s expanding coffee industry. It peaked in the late 1920s and early 1930s, in the face of growing anti-Japanese sentiment in Brazil. The Japanese migrated to Brazil in mandatory family units and formed their own agricultural settlements once they competed their colono labor contracts and became independent farmers. Under Getúlio Vargas’s nationalistic policies, a 1934 immigration law severely limited the entry of the Japanese. Strict legal restrictions were also imposed on them during Vargas’s Estado Novo (1937–1945). Japanese immigration was eventually terminated in 1942. Then the number of Japanese immigrants reached 188,986. At the end of the war, the Japanese were sharply divided among themselves over the defeat of Japan, and Sindō Renmei’s attacks on other Japanese factions terrified the nation of Brazil. Having given up their hope of returning to their homeland, the Japanese and their descendants began to migrate on a large scale to the cities, especially São Paulo City. Japanese immigration resumed in 1953 and peaked in 1959–1960. A total of 53,657 postwar immigrants, including many single adult men, arrived in Brazil before 1993. By 1980, the majority of Japanese Brazilians had joined the urban middle class, and many were already mixed racially. In the mid-1980s, Japanese Brazilians’ “return” labor migrations to Japan began on a large scale, due to Brazil’s troubled national economy. More than 310,000 Brazilian citizens were residing in Japan in June 2008, when the centenary of Japanese immigration was widely celebrated in Brazil. But the story does not end there: the global recession soon forced unemployed Brazilians and their Japanese-born children to return to Brazil.