Neste texto, realizarei uma breve revisão histórica, que terá como início o período imediato do pós-guerra e terminará no momento atual. Assim, é possível ter uma compreensão adequada da política externa brasileira no período recente, compreendendo os anos 90, o início do pós-Guerra Fria, e também o início de uma era de presidentes democraticamente eleitos, até os dias atuais. O enquadramento na história foi definido pelo reconhecimento da especificidade histórica das relações internacionais da Guerra Fria, constituídas na bipolaridade geopolítica e ideológica dos blocos liderados pelos EUA e pela URSS, e sua influência no mundo. Depois desse período, entre 1989 e 1991, com a queda do Muro de Berlim e a fragmentação da URSS, as décadas seguintes observam, primeiro no ano de 1990, o triunfalismo liberal e sua utopia de mercados autorregulados, livre comércio e a cooperação entre as nações, e a partir do ano 2000, o retorno à velha geopolítica dos Estados nacionais, com o retorno da Rússia como ator relevante no cenário internacional, a ascensão da China e o surgimento do grupo dos BRICS, com sua propostas, já em fase de desenvolvimento, de seu próprio banco e fundo, e a ambição de se tornar uma alternativa às instituições ocidentais estabelecidas nos acordos do pós-guerra, em Bretton Woods.
A metodologia de análise é a da Economia Política Internacional. Essa escolha vem na tentativa de articular dimensões políticas e econômicas apoiadas no conhecimento histórico. Neste artigo haverá uma periodização dividindo a história entre o período imediato do pós-guerra e o presente em cinco períodos. Esses anos estabeleceram o papel do poder hegemônico dos Estados Unidos no sistema mundial. O primeiro período abrange os anos entre 1945 e o início da década de 1970, quando há uma rotulação de “hegemonia benevolente” para os Estados Unidos no cenário internacional; a segunda é a década de 1970 e a chamada “crise da hegemonia americana”; o terceiro período é a década de 1980, os anos da “retomada da hegemonia americana”; a quarta, a década de 1990, é da ordem global unipolar na geopolítica e no auge da “globalização” e, finalmente, a partir da década de 2000 é o quinto e último período, um agravamento da competição geopolítica e uma explicitação mais explícita. posicionamento imperial pelo poder hegemônico.
- To understand the structure of the international system: in the immediate post-war period to the present day
The reordering period of international relations after the end of the Second World War has in the United States the most powerful political and economic actor, which has, for geopolitical reasons, aided in recovering and developing economically its allies, the so-called “developing on invitation”, a type of special relationship which guarantees advantages to certain countries. In the case of the exporter Germany, for example, until the end of the decade of 1960, the exchange rate between the dollar and the deutschemark under which the German currency was quite undervalued in relation to the North-American one remained still, which facilitated their sales to the USA and was important for the country’s recovery.
An important part of the new international order was the creation of multilateral institutions (IMF, World Bank, GATT), founded mainly on the power of the new global power, the United States. In the famous meeting in Bretton Woods, United States, these institutions were created, as well as the system of parities which, in Keynesian design, intended to contain the speculative movements of short-term capital, and encourage economic growth and social well-being within the central goal of achieving full employment.
The system of fixed (but adjustable) parities worked well for nearly twenty years, but at the end of the 1960’s, the financial market in search of new opportunities for profit began to speculate against the currencies of countries members of this system, and especially against the dollar-gold standard. The North-American gold reserves were the ultimate guarantee of the international financial and monetary system. As the costs of maintaining this system were becoming too high for the United States and were threatening their gold reserves, the President Richard Nixon in 1971 unilaterally decreed the end of the gold-dollar standard and, since then, it has become a “floating” dollar-based monetary standard solely on the power of the reserve currency issuer in the international system.
There has been a little over forty years, therefore, that the international monetary standard is “dollar-floating”. One piece of evidence of the North-American currency centrality among the others is available for all those who follow economic journalism. It’s always highlighted by the press that the Federal Reserve, the Central Bank of the United States, monetary policy changes have great influence on the movements of other central banks. The actions of other central banks always have as their main reference the United States monetary policy, the main capital market in the world.
What is of most importance in highlighting about this period of “benevolent hegemony” is the success of the economic recovery of USA allies destroyed by the Second World War. The years of Keynesian economic management of the economy of the triad USA, Western Europe and Japan, between the post-war era and the beginning of the decade of 1970, were a period of unprecedented economic prosperity. However, as soon as the second half of the year 1960 the first “cracks” in the regulated regime of fixed exchange rates began to appear. The development of financial markets, which sought ways to increase their speculative profits and, therefore, gaps in the existing system, increased instability coupled with the growing deficit position of the United States. The so-called “twin deficits”, internal and external, would make the gold-dollar standard unfeasible. The creation of the “dollar-floating” standard allowed the North-American currency to remain central in the international financial and monetary system without needing the further assurance of USA gold reserves. The dollar came to be founded only on the power of its issuer in the international system and not on reservations in precious metal anymore. In the new standard the interest of the USA is to be identified with financial deregulation and freedom of capital movements. The flexibility of this system that varies according to the dynamics of the market and the attractiveness of its vast financial market has been providing the USA with prominence as the keeper of the world’s currency reserves, the most widely used in international trade and financial transactions.
In the second period analysed, the “crisis of American hegemony”, which covers most of the 1970 decade, some considerations have to be made in relation to the so-called “crisis” of the hegemon. Why the United States’ hegemony, established because of its condition as the victorious country in the Second World War, was being questioned? By a series of factors.
In the financial scope, the abandonment of the gold-dollar standard, which to a large extent emulated the earlier dominant pattern, pound-gold, with the adoption of the floating-dollar standard and the problematic economic consequences in the early years (exchange rate instability and inflation combined with recession, stagflation, in several countries, including the United States) made it so that the position of the dollar as a currency reserve started to be questioned. At the end of the 1970’s, many Europeans have argued that the Special Withdrawal Rights of the International Monetary Fund, overrode the dollar as a global currency reserve. Another important economic disturbance that rocked the economic status quo was the oil price shocks, which produced inflation, scarcity of fuels and the end of the reign of the “seven sisters”, the large oil multinationals.
In the strategic field, the 1970’s were the period of a large U.S. military defeat: the Vietnam War, ended in 1975 with North Vietnam’s victory. In this period the guerrillas of the extreme left radicalized in Western Europe (Baader Meinhof in Germany, Brigatti Rossi in Italy) and other left wing movements of armed confrontation around the world, especially in Africa and Latin America. At the end of the decade, the U.S lost an important area of influence in Asia with the revolution controlled by the ayatollahs in Iran, and the Jimmy Carter government faced enormous internal and external deterioration with the hostage crisis caused by the invasion of the American embassy in Tehran. To finish setting the scene of the USA’s fragility as global hegemonic power, in the year of 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
The realization of this scenario by the American political establishment caused them to take the decision, still in Carter’s government, to radically alter the economic policy and the foreign policy of the United States. This move has dramatically changed the world’s geopolitical and geoeconomic situation from the decade of 1980 onwards. The set guideline was followed and deepened by the following North-American president, Ronald Reagan. A “double movement” for the reaffirmation of the United States hegemony in the world. As explained by Fiori, citing Maria da Conceição Tavares
In the field of the geoeconomics, the diplomacy of the strong dollar, ‘to maintain a tough monetary policy and force the overvaluation of the dollar, starting in 1979, allowing the FED to resume, in practice, the control over their own banks and also the rest of the international private banking system, articulating in its benefit the interests of the available dispersed flock. From there, the system of interbank credit was oriented decisively towards the USA and the banking system remained under control of the FED monetary policy, which started to dictate the rules on the world game’. (…) In parallel, in the geopolitical field, the Reagan administration boosted an anticommunist offensive, which started at the beginning of the 80’s, with the announcement of the Star Wars military program that culminated in the decomposition of the Soviet Union – two movements in articulation which, according to M. C. Tavares, explain, ultimately, the huge concentration of economic, military and financial power which occurred in the last two decades of the 20th century. That is, its thesis is that the resumption of American hegemony and the new capitalist financialization are two sides of the same process, as a result of the American government policies themselves, matured at the time that its power seemed to enter into decadence. This strategy and its policies changed the economic and political face of contemporary capitalism: first they consolidated a new international monetary system, based on the dollar and without any reference pattern; little by little, the rules and institutions of a new regime of accumulation started to be defined, besides a new world political-military hierarchy (FIORI, 2001, p. 13-14, translated from original in Portuguese)
Therefore, the elevation of the interest rate caused by the “Volcker Shock” (a reference to the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman at the time, Paul Volcker) and the end of the policy of détente with the USSR which increased military spending, both still at the end of the Carter government (reorientation which was insufficient to prevent the defeat of the Democratic Party in the election of 1980), formed the “double movement” that in the Reagan government intensified and gained many more ideological shades. As highlighted by Fiori, these policies were extremely successful from the point of view of what were the USA interests. The “financialization” of capitalism put the dollar once more in the position of world currency reserve and the arms race with the USSR, which made that they did not afford the new investments that would be required to compete with programs such as “Star Wars” and passed through a process of disaggregation. This also led to the defeat of the socialist project and soared the United States to the condition of single global superpower.
The decade of 1990, the fourth period mentioned above, then, is the decade of “globalization”, the liberal triumphalism, a time of belief; after the end of the socialist regimes, the world came to what the North-American political scientist Francis Fukuyama has termed “the end of history”, the era from which free markets and liberal democracies would be the economic and political model for the world. In this period the United States experienced what some economists pointed as roaring nineties, a prolonged period of economic growth. East Asia, with strong trade relations with the US, lives a period of great expansion, with the exception of the year that followed the crisis of 1997. The success of Asian countries like South Korea, Taiwan and China is in a close relationship and coordination between their companies and the State, having the instruments and advantages given by these to their national capitals as crucial to understanding the relative economic success of these nations. Latin America, Africa and Western Europe have not had the same performance, with low rates of economic growth and high unemployment. The globalizing ideals and liberal policies became hegemonic in these spaces, with the deleterious effects mentioned. Not without reason globalization has been much questioned in recent years, in this context in which people began defending the prevalence of free markets to the detriment of the national states’ actions.
The case of eastern Europe economies is even more dramatic. The “wild transition” to capitalism, without the appropriate adjustments and institutions, without the definition of areas in which the direct presence of the state was required, before the accelerated privatization of the state apparatus of these countries caused them to go through serious problems. In the case of Russia, the radical liberalism of President Boris Yeltsin has resulted in a drop in the Gross Domestic Product of more than 30% in the decade of 1990, not a case of recession, but of economic depression, comparable to countries that have lived experiences of war.
The 1990’s also attend to the emergence of a new political entity, the European Union, and also of the euro, the first currency shared by several countries within a single central bank. But of greater importance than this supranational entity, which undoubtedly was an unprecedented advance in relation to the processes of regional integration, this decade also witnessed the resurgence of Germany as a leading actor on the European scene, bringing consequences to the region and to the international system. The Germany free of the constraints of the Cold War period has transformed Eastern Europe in an area of direct influence by means of increases in trade and investment. In relation to Russia, it deepened relations, increasing exports of manufactured products and establishing partnerships in the field of energy (Russia became the main supplier of natural gas to Germany and important supplier also for several other European nations). With the end of the Cold War, France sees its weight in Europe lower in face of the German ascension. The lack of a rival block in its border decreased the importance of the strategic aspect (which was important for France and its nuclear arsenal, an advantage in relation to Germany without the bomb) and increased the importance given to the economic aspects as the Germans after reunification started to have even greater advantage in. Specialists in the study of German foreign policy say that it began to exercise a “semi-hegemonic geoeconomics” in the European Union. The dilemma in resolving the debt crisis of European countries on the periphery, such as Greece, is due to a distinctly national take in the question (and which also does not take into account the imbalances caused by the introduction of the euro among member countries) at the expense of a more “europeanist view” of the issue, defended by several countries and the European Commission.
After the end of the Cold War, one of the discourses of the heyday of “globalization”, in the 1990’s, was that a period began in which the cooperation between nations would be in vogue. For many, the period of Bill Clinton’s presidency (1993- 2001) was indicative of a new attitude of the superpower, now “unipolar” on the planet. The USA would be focusing on consolidating international regimes such as the WTO, in the process of integrating markets that would lead the world to a new period of prosperity. However, in truth what has occurred, in addition to this ideological discourse, was a strong military interventionism on the part of the USA. The analyst Andrew Bacevich did a survey of all American interventions in the decade of 1990, and concluded that adding what had been done in Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Bosnia, Kuwait, Panama, etc. There is a number greater then than all the interventions made by the United States during the period of the Cold War. Therefore, at the time when the virtues of free trade and free market were the most advertized, the armed forces power for the defense of national interests was exercised by the hegemonic power with the most force. A weakened Russia saw NATO expand to the East European countries former members of the Warsaw Pact, despite the opposition of the French and the Germans, who considered this gesture an unnecessary provocation to the Russians, but with resolute American action. In the decade of 1990, among the powers, the United States, China and Germany were winning in relative terms while Russia, Japan, France and Great Britain were losing with the new configuration of power in the world.
In the fifth period, from 2000 to the present day, the hegemonic power needs to show itself more explicitly imperial: new and old actors enter the scene to make the world return to the old “geopolitics of nations” that seemed to be discredited. Russia, now under the presidency of Vladimir Putin is the old great power that rises on the world scene ready to retrieve the status of important player in world politics. As an example, already at the beginning of his mandate in 2000, Putin recasts the doctrine of Russia’s defense; this sets out that any military aggression to Russia, of whatever nature, can then be resolved with nuclear weapons. The other big country of the Eurasian continent, China, a country that has experienced the greatest continued process of accelerated economic growth of history, from 1980 onwards, enters the ranks of major powers, becomes an economic actor of first magnitude and also counts with the second highest military budget in the world. As a counterpoint to the expansion of NATO, China and Russia are associated in the Organization for Cooperation of Shanghai in 2001, strategic structure of these two great actors as are other Asians appearing as members and observers, among other categories.
As previously mentioned, the hegemony of the United States in the world assumes a more pronounced “imperial” take from the beginning of the George W. Bush government in 2001. The attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th of that year, served as justification for the “War on Terror” and a warmongering now without disguises. The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the support for the opposition groups in Syria and Libya were all part of the North-American and NATO’s startegy for the “Great Middle East”, an area which, in this aception, goes from Morocco to Pakistan. The neo-conservatives who have ascended to power with the victory of Bush advocated this strategy of aggressive interventionism with views to give rise to the “New American Century” in that turn to the 21st century. These interventions, be them direct or, when in the Obama administration, indirect by means of opposing armed groups, have proved to be a disaster for the North-American plans of an equilibrium in the “Middle East”. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya are now countries physically destroyed, with hundreds of thousands of dead, territorially fragmented and in civil war. The ethnic and religious divisions widened and the political stability before maintained by secular dictatorships of Iraq, Syria and Libya and the fundamentalist regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan, are far to be a reality in these countries. The USA is positioned militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan and has an influence on the governments of these countries. The price for that was very high for the region, which became much more unstable than before. And, finally, the chaos in Iraq and Syria resulted in the emergence of the sunni fundamentalist group “Islamic State”, which forced populations to adhere to a radicalized interpretation of Islam, despite having lost most of its territorial base in these countries, has become a multinational organization and a terrorist threat.
So, to conclude this part, the stabilization of the Middle East, on which stands the resolution of the conflict in Syria and the arbitration of the regional dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran; the dispute with Russia over Ukraine and the tensions in other locations such as the Baltic republics; the siege to China in Asia with military agreements covering most countries of the region and the excess productive capacity in the world with low demand are some of the major challenges facing the global leadership of the United States.
- The Brazilian foreign policy Post Cold-War
And what’s Brazil’s place in the system? How to describe it? From this overall of the dynamics in the world system, particularly from reading the movements of the hegemonic power over time, one can make an informed analysis about the role of Brazil. It is not the intention of this article to deal with Brazilian foreign policy from the post-war period, i.e. the last seventy years, but it is possible to say that Brazil, most of the time, was an ally and had a foreign policy whose objectives did not clash with those of the United States, with the exception of a few years known as the period of “Independent Foreign Policy” of Jânio Quadros and João Goulart, especially between 1961 and 1964. Such exception affected the interests of Washington, which were also affected by decisions in domestic politics, leading to the North-American support to the 1964 coup. Another moment of Brazilian national assertion and a degree of challenge to the hegemony of the United States was the “responsible pragmatism” of General Ernesto Geisel, between 1974 and 1979, in the military regime.
Brazil, however, throughout its history, most of the time had a supporting role in the Americas and showed no intention of any expansion project of national power that disputed the hegemony of the United States. It has been included in the strategy for North-American security in the Cold War (as well as the rest of Latin America, with the exception of Cuba after the revolution) and it has always been an important area of foreign investment of the U.S.A.
The decade of 1990, times of “globalization”, watched Brazil adhere to the liberalizing reforms, among these the privatization of state companies, the capital account opening to the flows of foreign capital (which gave foundation to the anti-inflationary program of the Real Plan), the opening of strategic sectors to foreign capital (electricity, telecommunications, oil), the reforms in social security and labor. But the most important change took place in the ideological level as essential substrate to the desired changes: the liberal criticism of the developmentalist state in Brazil. In accordance with “the spirit of the times”, the State is to be seen as an obstacle to development, so the greater part of their functions should be delegated to the market, this inherently seen as more efficient in the implementation of the greater part of the former state assignments.
In the first five years of the decade of 1990, governments Fernando Collor de Mello and Itamar Franco, the liberal agenda had progressed and the first wave of privatizations of state companies occurred, such as, for example, in the steel sector. There was also an important gain in foreign policy: the institution of Mercosur by the Treaty of Asunción, in the year 1991, therefore still under Collor’s government. The rapprochement between Brazil and Argentina in the Sarney and Alfonsín governments, still in the years 1980, putting an end to decades of mistrust, sedimentiing relations on agreements about the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which had continuity in the governments of Collor and Menem, who sealed this regional pact involving also Paraguay and Uruguay. That was also in the “spirit” of liberal globalization: such agreement meant an important step toward the integration of these countries and the future integration of South America, and from the point of view of Brazil, the creation of an area of political and economic projection.
The government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, initiated in 1995, continues and deepens the liberal project. The opening of the capital account and the foreign companies in strategic sectors, the privatisations and the pursuit of monetary stabilization, constituted the pillars of government action in the economy. In foreign policy, Cardoso stated that globalization was an inexorable reality in which Brazil was to enter not to be late in relation to those who adhered. The sociologist president understood that this insertion could make the country “reap the fruits” of globalization. In this view, FHC’s, Brazil was weak to bargain the terms of their insertion and it would fall to the country to join the international regimes, therefore having good behavior and adhering to the rules of trade, human rights, environment and nuclear non-proliferation. These actions, added to the pro-market policies mentioned above, would give Brazil, in these lights, its place in globalization.
The swearing-in of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, in 2003, marked a shift in the direction of Brazilian foreign policy. Lula and his Chancellor Celso Amorim understood that globalization is a process conducted by the powers of the north and which must be negotiated with Brazil, considering the country as one of the major developing countries, and so in better conditions to bargain. The formation of the G-20 group for the negotiations of the Doha Round of negotiations in the World Trade Organization, the formation of the Union in South America (Unasur), supporting the creation of Celac, the rapprochement with the African continent and the creation of the triennial Summit of South American-Arab Countries are examples of initiatives of the Brazilian government that sought not only adherence to international regimes defined essentially by the USA and its European allies, but the creation of regional agreements between developing countries to give alternatives and greater possibilities of negotiation with the rich countries. As such, the creation of the BRICS group, at the end of the second Lula government, involving the major powers in the developing world, primarily Brazil, Russia, India and China and subsequently with the accession of South Africa, representing the African continent. This group, initially only a summit meeting between the leaders of these countries gained a greater degree of ambition after the “Fortaleza Declaration”, negotiated in 2014 in the capital of the Brazilian state of Ceará, defined the creation of the New Development Bank, known as the “Bank of BRICS”, headquartered in Shanghai, and the creation of the Contingent Reserves Agreement, the “IMF of the BRICS countries”. These initiatives have raised the BRICS group to a project of contestation of the international financial and monetary order represented by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and expressed dissatisfaction in these countries with the resistance by the US and Europe to allowing reforms that would change the correlation of forces in these institutions and better reflect the world of today.
The decade of 2000 was, as already described in this text, an intensification in global strategic dispute. The hegemony of the United States came to be explicitly affirmed by weapons, without the Clinton’s “liberal globalist” speech of the years 1990 and many other actors, of greater and lesser expression, sought to increase their capacity to wage war from this decade on. The prosperity generated by the commercial and financial axis China-United States, between 2002 and 2008, strengthened the finances of many countries in the periphery and allowed them, in addition to improving the living conditions of their populations, to increase their expenditure on armaments. Brazil, in a motion also observed in the rest of Latin America, reformulated its security policy with the drafting of the National Defense Strategy of 2008, which emphasizes three strategic sectors: nuclear, cyber and space. The National Defense Strategy understands that this is inseparable from the National Development Strategy. In addition to the strengthening of the Brazilian armed forces with the construction of ships and submarines (including nuclear submarines, technology held only by a few countries) and the development and construction of its own jet aircraft (in this case, in partnership with Sweden), the National Defense Strategy defines South America, the South Atlantic, Africa and Antarctica as the Brazilian “strategic environment” and place for its projection of power.
In these 26 years between 1990 and 2016 we had, then, two periods of 13 years in which two different projects for the economy and external insertion of Brazil were stated, with the exception of Itamar Franco’s interregnum (from September 1992 to January 1995), liberal in its economybut, when it came to foreign policy, of a nationalist brand, and which had as Chancellors Fernando Henrique Cardoso (who left the position to become Minister of Economy, position that sprung him to the presidency) and, for most part, Celso Amorim, who would be Chancellor once more with Lula.
As previously presented, governments Collor, Itamar (in its economic dimension) and the two governments of Fernado Henrique Cardoso, were the expression of a liberal project for the insertion of Brazil in globalization. Later, in the two Lula governments and in these little over five years of the Dilma Rousseff presidency, the same insertion took place with more activism on the part of the State and within the vision that globalization is an asymmetric political process imposed by the powers of the north and which, therefore, must be negotiated. It would be very simplistic to attribute, for example, to the FHC government an attitude of total adherence to the policies of the United States, as well as see the Lula government as the opposite. The diplomacy of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso has had several points of friction with the North-Americans, as well as Lula has cooperated actively with the United States on various issues. These processes are quite complex and involve positions that result in alliances and, sometimes, in clashes. But in general, in the core of the policies, the 13 years after 1990 conformed a project that intended Brazil to enter into an order to which it little could question or modify while the project re-established from 2003 onwards argues that the country must necessarily propose the modification of this order so that the insertion gives in to terms favorable to the development of the country.
The insertion captained by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, in the years 1990, produced a scenario of the country’s external position being weakened, with deficits accumulating through opening up to imports and its expressive growth, without considering the corresponding elevation of exports. The opening of the capital account with low reserves produced a tendency to macroeconomic instability, especially when in external crises. The Brazilian economy went through a new process of denationalisation and the state has lost relevance in the formulation of development strategies. The Brazilian diplomatic “good behavior” with adherence to international regimes, although it may have been translated in some situational successes, as for example, in the victories obtained in World Trade Organization disputes, in general proved to be insufficient as a strategy to enter a country with the territorial dimension, population and level of development that Brazil needed.
From 2003 on, the strategy defined by the Lula government for the Brazilian insertion, with the understanding that the international order needed to be challenged by a large emerging country like Brazil, took to practice through the decision of bringing together the other countries of the “South”, as the developing world is commonly called , although this option has not meant any type of break with the North. Relations with the North have been retained and alignments were sought after, as in the case of the negotiations between Mercosur and the European Union for a free trade treaty (which had not been made until now, even as its attempt shows no veto for agreements with the rich north, provided that these are in acceptable terms). The cycle of global growth between 2002 and 2008 that made China, in particular, a gigantic importer of raw materials and increased to record-high levels their prices stimulated major exporters of these products, as is Brazil’s case, and has enabled both the internal policies of growth and income redistribution and gave greater leverage in external negotiations. It is a mistake, however, to say that Brazil only “surfed the wave” of commodity prices rise in the decade of 2000. The reserves accumulated by this cycle were essential, but without the decisions made for effective policies of income distribution and increased public investment in the internal scope, and the initiatives of contestation of the order which increased the degree of the country’s autonomy, being the most daring of these the creation of the G-20 with other developing countries, to the negotiations of the Doha Round for the trade liberalization in the World Trade Organization. Recent texts discuss the impact of these Brazilian initiatives in the global order and the strong indications of destabilizing actions promoted by the hegemonic power, in the heart of the Brazilian crisis recently. Historically those who occupied positions of great power and, in the case of Great Britain and the United States, hegemonic power in the world system, at the same time articulated the instruments that allowed their ascension on the scale of the global power, also blocked, to bigger or smaller extent, rivals who threatened their positions of power. This is an inexorable reality of this capitalist interstate system: the sovereign states are competitive and in the “systemic” anarchy that prevails in international relations, their relative positions may change over time. And the shift to another level of power and wealth in this system necessarily implies that Brazil had a national project and built alternative alliances in order to maximize its potential. And this is not done by merely acquiescing to, and having a proper and respectful behavior to the rules of the old powers.
FIORI, Jose Luis. História, Estratégia e Desenvolvimento. Sao Paulo: Boitempo, 2014
FIORI, Jose Luis. Depois da retomada da hegemonia. In: FIORI, José Luis. Polarização Mundial e Crescimento. Petrópolis: Vozes, 2001.
SERRANO, Franklin. Relações de Poder a a Politica Macroeconômica Americana, de Bretton Woods ao Padrão Dólar Flexível. In: FIORI, José Luis. O Poder Americano. Petrópolis: Vozes, 2002.
 In this condition are the States and the national economies that adopt strategies for direct integration in relation to the leading economies. Talks on “developing under invitation” or “associate” to refer to these countries with privileged access to markets and to the capital of the great powers, obtained in exchange for submission to its foreign policy and its global military strategy. As was the case in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, before and after its independence, and also from Germany, Japan and Korea, after the Second World War, on condition of PROTECTORATES of the U.S. Military. (FIORI, 2014, p. 107, translated from original in Portuguese).
 (…) on the one hand, the very success of American strategy for reconstruction and development of the other capitalist countries (including accepting currency devaluations in other countries) was progressively reducing the trade surpluses and current account of Americans. But to maintain the role of international currency of the dollar it was necessary (…) to avoid deficits in the current account. At the same time, the simplest way to improve the American external competitiveness would be through a devaluation of the dollar. But how isit possible to devalue the dollar without threatening its role as an international currency? England at the time of the gold-pound standard had faced (and did not manage to solve) a similar problem, in view of the difficulty in reconciling its role as an international currency (and the advantage of not facing restrictions in the balance of payments), and at the same time protect its real competitiveness (SERRANO, 2004, p. 196, translated from original in Portuguese).
 That does not mean that the hegemonic power has not been involved in wars in the period, on the contrary, it got involved in the conflicts of the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The “benevolent hegemony” was related to its closest allies and this same logic made the United States more tolerant with the developmentalist projects from the periphery, as was the case in Brazil. (translated from original in Portuguese)