Regional Powers in an eroded Liberal International Order
The dawn of the 21st Century signaled that a multipolar world would emerge after the American dominance after the end of the Cold War. The acronym BRICs—which stands for the initials of Brazil, Russia, India, and China—was created in 2001 by an investment bank to signal to the market that the global markets would no longer evolve around the advanced industrial democracies of the G7, composed by the United States, Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, and Canada. Two decades after the BRICS—now with a capital S, which stands for South Africa—hold regular meetings in several issue areas. Yet, more than a multipolar world, it seems that we have witnessed the rise of a new bipolarity that opposes Washington and Beijing amidst a global decline in the indexes of democracy and adherence to liberal ideas.
Which is therefore the role of emerging markets, in particular those that have a record of free and fair elections, in shaping the international system during this century? What does account for differences among them in terms of state-crafting? Based on the concepts of emerging market democracies (EMDs) and pivotal states, we aim to advance the knowledge in the Social Sciences on countries that are not superpowers, but whose political-economic allegiances and ties may define the overall balance of power and, hence, the global order in the years to come. Apart from being democracies at least in procedural terms, EMDs also tend to be regional powers given the size of their economies, territory, and population vis-a-vis their neighbors, which therefore places them as pivotal actors in a post-unipolar world.
Sovereign states include not only the democratic BRICS whose domestic politics has been under strain—Brazil, India, and South Africa–, but also other prominent regional leaders and/or emerging markets, such as Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Turkey, that face societal challenges and international pressures as the liberal international order reaches its limits.
Professor Laurence Whitehead, Nuffield College, University of Oxford
Dr. Vinícius G. Rodrigues Vieira, Armando Alvarez Penteado Foundation (FAAP)
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