This chapter examines the role of South America in Brazil’s strategy to establish itself as a global player. It first provides an overview of Brazil’s foreign policy in order to situate its bid for power within wider historical patterns of interaction with the world. It then considers the impact of contemporary changes in international and domestic politics, including the end of the Cold War, globalization, the transition to democracy, and economic opening, upon Brazil’s external relations and how they increased the country’s diplomatic assertiveness. It also discusses the importance of South America for boosting Brazil’s credentials as a middle power and for promoting national development. The chapter concludes by highlighting many of the dilemmas faced by emerging powers such as Brazil, including the enabling (and disabling) role of domestic politics.
Arlene B. Tickner
This chapter looks at the role of oil in the political economy and the international relations of the Middle East. Oil is commonly considered a political commodity. Because of its pivotal importance as a primary source of energy, governments are concerned with its continued availability and seek to minimize import dependence. Historically, interest in oil — especially in the United Kingdom and the United States — strongly influenced attitudes towards the Middle East and the formation of the state system in the region, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Oil also affects the power balance within the region. The polarization in the region between oil-rich and oil-poor states is thus an essential tool of analysis. The parallel distinction between rentier and non-rentier states helps to explain how oil affects the domestic political development of the oil-rich states and influences their regional relations.