Rob Muggah and Gustavo Diniz at the Igarapé Institute in Brazil have just published a very enlightening research paper on Brazilian approaches to regional security. Entitled “Security the Border: Brazil’s South America First Approach to Transnationalized Crime“, the paper offers a valuable contribution to understanding how Brazil is addressing a number of pressing transnationalized crime issues. The paper is available in English and Portuguese. The abstract is as follows:
Brazil is at a crossroads in the fight against transnational organized crime. For one, Brazil is claiming a wider involvement in the international peace and security agenda and pursuing priorities overseas. At the same time, the country is adopting what might be described as a “South American first” approach to dealing with narco-trafficking, arms smuggling, money laundering and cybercrime. It consists of investing in sub-regional institutions and discrete bilateral agreements in its near abroad. This more localized approach is contributing to the consolidation of Brazilian state institutions in its hinterland. But what direction will Brazil take in the coming decade? This Strategic Paper offers an overview of the scope and scale of organized crime in Latin America and Brazil more specifically. It critically reviews Brazil´s normative and institutional responses – both regional and national – and considers likely future security postures.
From my point of view a particularly interesting aspect of the papers is the extent to which Brazil is focusing on bilateral and trilateral approaches to transnational crime issues rather than taking what might seem a more logical regionally multilateralized approach. This fits neatly with the longer term trend of Brazilian foreign policy makers working to ensure that they do not become ensnared in regional bodies that restrict their autonomy. Whether this will be a problem for addressing transnational crime remains to be seen.
Another interesting point is the extent to which Brazil is providing concrete assistance, leadership and ‘aid’ within the ambit of its bilateral agreements.
The paper is well worth a read if you are interested in the Brazilian role in the provision of security in the Americas.