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Contexto Internacional

Print version ISSN 0102-8529On-line version ISSN 1982-0240

Contexto int. vol.38 no.1 Rio de Janeiro Jan./Apr. 2016 


Legitimising Emerging Power Diplomacy: an Analysis of Government and Media Discourses on Brazilian Foreign Policy under Lula1

Rafael Mesquita1 

Marcelo de Almeida Medeiros2 

1Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brazil; rafaelmesquita_5688@;

2Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brazil;


This study analyses whether Brazilian foreign policy under Lula successfully legitimised the country's international identity as a rising power in the eyes of the domestic and international media. Based on a constructivist framework, we have applied French Discourse Analysis to a corpus of 36 official addresses by the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Relations and 137 news articles from four news outlets, two Brazilian and two international, concerning two diplomatic episodes deemed representative of Brazil's quest for greater pre-eminence: the leadership of MINUSTAH (2004) and the Nuclear Deal signed with Iran and Turkey (2010). Results show that official discourse characterises Brazil's identity as a rising power chiefly by South-South diplomacy, while media discourse was more heterogeneous, being the discursive formation of each news outlet determinant in explaining their interpretation of Brazil's international identity.

Keywords: Constructivism; Brazil's International Identity; Brazilian Foreign Policy; Discourse Analysis; Journalism; Legitimacy


The past decade was a period of change for Brazil's international identity. Seen for most of its modern history as an inward-looking, peripheral and underdeveloped country, this perception began to change in the 2000s: economic growth, internally, and growing international prestige, externally, led the country to what might be called a moment of 'identity updating'. The more assertive foreign policy exercised during the two Lula governments showed Brazil's willingness to forego its secondary role in world politics and start to be seen as an emerging power (Soares de Lima and Hirst 2006; Vigevani and Cepaluni 2007).

The interest of this study is to investigate the process of legitimation of the foreign policy of that period. Based on a constructivist framework, it is considered that the conduct of external relations is a practice through which a State materialises its identity. Identities are not given a priori, but socially conferred and legitimated through a practical and ideational process of elaboration, enactment and feedback (Wendt 1992; Barnett 1999; Marcussen et al. 1999; Guillaume 2002; Abdelal et al. 2006). While the practical part is carried out mainly by States in the course of their continued interactions, non-state actors can play an important role in the legitimation of ideas and interpretations. This study emphasises the press, in particular, due to its ability to represent, signify and socialise foreign policy and inter-State relations (Bourdieu 2003; Soroka 2003; Steinberger 2005; Baum and Potter 2005).

Thus, this article seeks to answer the following question: 'Has the national and international media legitimated the foreign policy practiced with the aim of claiming a rising power identity for Brazil?'. The adopted theoretical grounding implies that the supplanting of an identity by another depends on the interpretations that internal and external actors have about the actions taken by the State for this purpose or, more specifically, the extent to which these actors share the understanding propounded by Brazil about its role in the world. Thus, analysing identity changes implies studying diplomatic actions representative of this update project, as well as interpretations made by the State and other relevant interlocutors and their degree of consensus. Discourse convergence was considered a suitable indicator for the degree of consensus between interpretations, since discourse is understood as the locus where the world view of speaking subjects materialises (Possenti 1993; Orlandi 2007; Mussalim 2003; Charaudeau and Maingueneau 2008). Our hypothesis is that interlocutors with a world view compatible with Brazil's should legitimate its foreign policy as that of an emerging power, while those with divergent world views should not.

The article is divided into four parts: (1) a theoretical framework, which analyses the relationships between identity, Brazilian Foreign Policy (BFP), communication and legitimacy from a constructivist perspective of International Relations (IR); (2) presentation of the adopted methodology, French Discourse Analysis (DA), and justification of the selected cases and corpus; (3) presentation and analysis of the results; and, (4) conclusion.

Theoretical framework

Identity and foreign policy in constructivist theory

Constructivism is useful to understand how a country's identity changes due to three features of this approach: (1) its concept of identity as an intersubjective and cognitive process; (2) the role assigned to ideas in the construction of reality; and (3) the association between identity, power, legitimacy and discourse.

First, unlike the neorealist and neoliberal theories of IR, which see identity and interests as exogenously given, constructivism argues that they are endogenous and inter-subjectively generated through processes of interaction, interpretation and learning. Identities are relatively stable expectations and understandings about oneself, which are formed as the subject takes part in collective senses (Wendt 1992), being therefore always social, relational and contingent (Barnett 1999: 9). Hopf (1998) points out that, since identities are social and perception-related phenomena, it is the inter-subjective structure of meaning, not the individual State, that is the final arbiter of what one means to others.

Secondly, it follows from that premise that the world is shaped by both material and symbolic factors. State behaviour is not determined by material capacities alone. Beliefs held by it and its peers are also important (Ruggie 1998). Thus, Adler (1997) holds that constructivism is in an intermediate position between the rationalist/objectivist and the idealist/reflexive poles, by postulating that reality is socially constructed, yet attached to a material base. Constructivism is also in the middle ground, between the individual and the structure, as it denies them both ontological precedence. Agent and structure are mutually constituted, because structures are both the environment where practices take place among agents and the very product of these practices (Wendt 1987, 1992; Hopf 1998; Guzzini 2000).

Thirdly, the ideas that build reality also involve power relations. Shared knowledge is not the sum of the individual senses, but a knowledge common to those agents who are empowered to recognize and qualify behaviour (e.g.: legitimate/illegitimate) and which crystallises through social practices (Adler 1997; Hopf 1998). Thus, changing identities and foreign policy practices involves a change in the status quo, which can result in conflict, not necessarily between States, but between world views that battle for legitimacy.

The updating of Brazilian identity

If 'identity updating' is possible, how does it happen? One of the divides in sociology-inspired IR research concerns whether identities originate mainly from inter-State interaction or from domestic sources as well (Finnemore and Sikkink 2001).2 Though a large portion of our framework derives from Wendt, this author's adherence to the former stance leads him to 'black-box' the State (Neumann 1996). As our study intends to encompass domestic and, most importantly, non-state sources of identity change, it will adhere to the latter option.

For this study, we use a model presented by Mesquita (2014), based on the works of Wendt (1992), Barnett (1999) and Marcussen et al. (1999), which outlines how a State3 can go from the formulation of a new identity project to its consensual acceptance and institutionalisation.

A State willing to reshape its role in the world can perform a creative action that unfolds in four stages: (1) Breakdown of consensus on identity commitments. Critical scenarios may cast doubt on the existing definitions of the national self, setting off a contestation process (Barnett 1999; Marcussen et al. 1999); (2) Critical examination of old ideas about oneself and the Other, in order to formulate a new theory, better adapted to the situation experienced. The re-design takes place during a competition (e.g.: elections) between different political elites. The surviving ideas will need to be acceptable to the population's cognitive frame, and one of the ways to ensure this incorporation is to see that these ideas are compatible with existing and well-established narratives (Marcussen et al. 1999; Hall 2006); (3) Acting to change the identities and interests of other agents. The government that wins the electoral contest will act internationally, inspired by a new self-understanding, and will attempt to convince other actors to regard it in this new manner; and, (4) Feedback from the Other, which may be: positive, incentivizing the country to continue acting in the new way and thus making its identity consensual and institutionalised; or negative, when the other actors refuse to act in accordance with the new attitudes, frustrating the update and eventually triggering a new critical scenario. We hold that States are not the sole significant Other in providing feedback. As we will explain in section 1.3, governmental communication and media can also play this legitimising role.

Analysing BFP, we find a starting point for the update process in the 1990s. The autonomy through participation of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso's (FHC) government consisted of domestic stabilisation and entry into the neoliberal international order (Soares de Lima and Hirst 2006). This identity commitment collapsed as it became clear that neither the expected economic development nor international visibility resulted from Brazil's adherence to the neoliberal consensus. By the late 1990s, Itamaraty was marooned with a 'feeling of exclusion' (Abdenur 1997) and denounced the international system's discriminatory practices, which rekindled Brazil's developmentalist outlook (Mielniczuk 2013: 1077).

In the second stage of the cycle, the previous ideas were denaturalised, which allowed Lula's government to change the emphasis of BFP, aiming for the strengthening of South-South relations, greater balance in relations with the North and multilateralism, and searching for pre-eminence on issues of global scope: it was autonomy through diversification (Vigevani and Cepaluni 2007).

In the third stage, Brazil acts, trying to change perceptions about it, through innovative diplomatic gestures that manifest its new self-understanding. The legitimation process takes place in the leap from the third to the fourth stage, when foreign policy is interpreted by Others, whose feedback will determine whether or not this new identity is accepted. This process is illustrated in Figure 1.

Source: Mesquita (2014)

Figure 1 International identity update model associated with the evolution of the paradigms of Brazil's international insertion 

Legitimacy, consensus and communication

Legitimacy is defined here as the adequacy perceived by relevant actors between practices and their shared beliefs, values and expectations. Interested actors, who attempt to make such judgments converge by means of framing, justification and persuasion, engage in legitimation. The perception of events, value dissemination and consensus-building involved in this process are considered largely discursive phenomena.

The literature defines legitimacy in various ways. Usually, it is acknowledged that, as a political concept, it has multiple sources: legal-procedural, moral-normative, and, in some accounts, outputs and efficiency (Lipset 1967: 78; Fonseca Jr. 1998: 142; Scharpf 1998; Clark 2007; Hurrell 2007; Hurrelman 2014).

An important role is attributed to beliefs and, above all, the extent to which they are consensually shared. Beliefs comprise normative and cognitive appraisals of reality. Thus, when it comes to legitimising an identity, such as 'rising power', socio-constructivism adds an important, logically prior layer. In a socially constructed reality, legitimation 'not only tells the individual why he should perform one action and not another; it also tells him why things are what they are' (Berger and Luckmann 1991: 111). Put simply, intelligibility must precede legitimacy. This explains why identity-related justifications - which are not at base legal, moral or pragmatic but seek primarily to point out 'what is' - operate as legitimacy claims (e.g.: 'we want/do X because we are Y').

Therefore, consensus, defined here as a manifest cognitive and normative congruence between actors' world views, is a necessary condition for legitimacy. Hence, in practice, legitimacy becomes a matter of how actors perceive a situation (Clark 2007). This calls our attention, in turn, to the problem of subjects (what is being legitimated?), audiences (whom?), and loci (where?). In the current case, the subject is foreign policy. This is a State practice that undergoes scrutiny by two audiences: international and domestic (Putnam 1993: 431). Domestically, foreign policy must be, as with other public policies, subject to civilian oversight. Externally, States attempt to show that their conduct does not deviate from shared regulatory norms so as to avoid penalties.

Legitimation pre-supposes the existence of loci for dialogue, justification and persuasion, where agreement can be achieved (Hurrell 2007: 90). Hurrelmann et al. (2009) uphold that the discursive nature of legitimacy invites analyses that prioritise communicative processes, involving media and public spheres. Externally, the international arena corresponds to this propositional space (Fonseca Jr. 1998). Domestically, we can find it in the public sphere, an environment made possible with the advent of the press (Taylor 2007). Though, historically, Brazilian public opinion was uninterested in foreign policy, this began to change in the 1990s, with Brazil's liberalization, and in the 2000s, when the rise of left-wing parties across Latin America introduced the concern about the potential politicisation of external relations.4

For Hurrelmann (2014), politicisation is a necessary condition for the legitimation process, because the onset of interpretative controversies is what will trigger debates. This study was interested in two debaters: the State, which executes foreign policy and justifies it before national and international audiences, and the press, which monitors state actions, framing and socializing information.

Public Communication, understood specifically as State and/or governmental communication, establishes a dialogue between a government and the people before whom it is accountable. As summarized by Brandão (2012: 5), it is an instrument for setting a public agenda and a 'legitimate way for a government to be accountable'.

The principle of publicising power is in essence a relationship only between rulers and populations. However, Thompson (1998) argues that, with globalization, the demand for transparency has expanded beyond the limits of the sovereign State. Thus, the affairs carried out by governments undergo growing scrutiny independent of national borders.

The media provides the counterpoint to official discourse. Historically, the press has come to assume a watchdog role, bestowed with the mission of revealing to the population the actions of the political class. Monzón (1996 cited in Carvalho 2010) calls this self-perception a 'publicist conception', according to which the press claims for itself a role as a representative of public opinion, in the sense that it acts on behalf of the population when it monitors the powerful.

For the current study, such an idea implies that the press can speak against public power and thus is a relevant actor in legitimising or contesting an interpretation proposed by the government, concerning the identity of the country, given that it can mobilise its own interpretation on the nation's real identity, interests and relevant social demands. The press is also important because it operates as an intermediary between government and public opinion, defining which events receive attention (Bourdieu 2003; Steinberger 2005), and it is, for the population, often the sole source of information regarding foreign affairs (Soroka 2003).

For this reason, journalists can be considered as members of the 'Brazilian foreign policy community', that group of people who 'participate in the decision making process or contribute in a relevant way to form opinion regarding the country's international relations' (Souza 2009: 3). Hurrelmann et al. (2009: 487) agree with this, highlighting that:

[M]dia discourses are particularly important suppliers and repositories of the frames, interpretations and knowledge (e.g., knowledge about appropriate normative standards) that citizens are likely to draw upon in the development and transformation of their own legitimacy beliefs, or in the translation of behavioural dispositions into acts of support and dissent.

Internationally, the press can play varied roles in controlling, constraining, intervening and aiding the foreign policy decision process, so that a country's foreign policy representation by global media can have significant impacts on how other nations respond to it (Gilboa 2002).

Therefore, in order to verify if the required consensus for legitimising Brazil's international identity as a rising power was achieved, it is necessary to analyse to what extent Public Communication and media discourses converge.


Discourse Analysis and its concepts

French Discourse Analysis (DA) was used to interpret the discourses of the government and of the press, because it is a method that shares some of the ontological and epistemological assumptions of constructivism: discourse as a structuring principle of the meanings that build social reality, the importance of the Other on the dialogical constitution of the self, and the need to refer to a repertoire of commonly shared knowledge.

For the current research, there are two particularly useful concepts - inter-discursivity and Discourse Memory (DM) - that relate to the shared and pre-constructed knowledge on top of which speaking subjects can construct their current discourse; and Discursive Formation (DF), which relates to the ideological formation of the subject and the way it determines the meaning of its statements and defines which associations can be made and which cannot (Mussalim 2003; Orlandi 2007). DA understands that these concepts are interrelated, since, according to Orlandi (2007), words have no meaning in themselves, but they acquire meaning only when inserted in a certain DF which will imbue them with the corresponding ideological content. It is for this reason that the same statement can acquire different meanings depending on the DF that covers it: each one will mobilise different references and associations. This potential for re-combination and multiple connections shows the link between DF and inter-discourse: the set of available statements and references available in a given DF are a 'regionalization of inter-discourse' (Orlandi 2007: 43). This does not imply, however, that the DFs crystallize definitively the meanings woven by them - otherwise, meanings would never update throughout history. The heterogeneity and constitutive polysemy of language often blurs the boundaries between DFs (Mussalim 2003).

From DA perspective, redefining Brazil's identity is stabilising a meaning from among other competing ones. It is useful, therefore, to verify how the Brazilian State takes hold of certain shared understandings (inter-discourse), guided by its DF, in order to compose a specific identity for Brazil as a rising power, how the media reacts to this image, and what factors within the DF of each news outlet can explain their interpretation.

Corpus selection

DA was applied, firstly, to the statements of the President of the Republic (PR), Lula da Silva, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministério das Relações Exteriores - MRE), in the person of Minister Celso Amorim. The PR and the MRE were chosen because they are the most relevant agents in the design and execution of BFP (Rojas and Milet 1999; Amorim Neto 2011) and are accountable for government policies (Brandão 2012). Moreover, the personalisation of BFP in the presidential image has also promoted greater awareness of diplomacy in the media (Casarões 2012).

Regarding the press, since our hypothesis pre-supposes that legitimation stems from world view compatibility, its testing demanded we choose news outlets with varied world views. DA's concept of DF is taken as a proxy for world view. Media's DF can be best understood through the literature on newsmaking. Archetti (2010) proposes a model according to which two of the main variables that influence journalistic discourse are national interest and editorial ideology. Their influence is hierarchical and situation-specific: when the media from a nation reports on another country, national interest can override ideology; domestic news, in turn, should be influenced chiefly by ideology in the absence of a salient national interest. We have chosen four news outlets, two international and two national, looking for variation in both variables. For the foreign press, the New York Times (NYT) was chosen, because it is a left-leaning US newspaper whose readership is concentrated in its own country (90%), so its discourse should chiefly reflect the US national interest (Ho and Quinn 2008); and then the right-leaning Financial Times (FT), a British daily whose readership is geographically dispersed (Europe, Middle East and Africa: 38%; Americas: 33%; UK: 21%; Asia-Pacific: 8%) and whose discourse should likewise allude to a more cosmopolitan, transnational set of interests (Reese 2008).5 For the domestic press, national interest is held constant. News outlets with nationwide coverage and distinct editorial ideologies were chosen: the centre-right newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo (OESP) and the centre-left magazine Carta Capital (CC).6

Two diplomatic cases that were representative of the Brazilian search for pre-eminence were selected: the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), led by Brazil since 2004, and the Nuclear Deal signed between Brazil, Iran and Turkey in May 2010. Both episodes have been interpreted as actions of Brazil's diplomacy designed to achieve greater prestige and recognition as a global player. They aimed to demonstrate the national capacity to provide international public goods, play a regional leadership role, and solve humanitarian and security crises - attributes expected of a great power. The literature is nearly unanimous in interpreting them as part of the campaign for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which is the final commendation in the confirmation of a new world power.7 Thus, the degree of convergence between State discourse and the interpretation of these gestures by the media should be an appropriate indicator of how successful was the Brazilian attempt to be perceived as an emerging power. The existence of controversial interpretations for both episodes makes them analytically useful as the media's capacity for autonomous agency should become more pronounced (Baum and Potter 2008: 51). Most importantly, while the ideology of neither the government nor the media changed between episodes, national interest compatibility did vary: Brazil's leadership of MINUSTAH met the interests of the US and of the international community for stability in Haiti (Hirst 2007; Feliu and Miranda 2011); the Nuclear Deal countered US interests in pursuing sanctions, but it elicited mixed reactions from the international community (Patti 2010; Amorim 2015: 93). Compatibility between the news outlets' DF and the government's is summarized on Figure 2.

Source: Elaborated by the authors

Figure 2 Compatibility between government and media on national interest and editorial ideology 

DA was applied to a total of 36 speeches and articles of the PR and MRE and to 137 press articles, distributed as detailed in Table 1. Official speeches on MINUSTAH were given between January and December 2004, the year when the mission began, and those regarding the Nuclear Deal between November 2009 and January 2011, a period when there was mention of the deal or of Brazil-Iran relations. Press articles on MINUSTAH run from January to October 2004 and those on the Nuclear Deal are from May 2010, the month when the deal was signed.

Table 1 Total addresses by the PR and MRE and press articles for the FT, NYT, CC and OESP concerning MINUSTAH and Nuclear Deal episodes 

Official addresses Press articles
Lula Amorim Total FT NYT CC OESP Total
MINUSTAH 14 3 17 7 7 5 46 65
Nuclear Deal 10 9 19 13 9 4 46 72
Total 24 12 36 20 16 9 92 137

Source: Elaborated by the authors


The themes of Brazil's international identity

Analysing the two groups of government addresses, it has been possible to identify in them a stable set of features that Lula and Amorim attributed to the country. Only the more stable attributes, that is, those that resurfaced in more than one text or were referred to by both individuals at different times, were considered. A total of 146 sentences presented these recurring attributes and were organized into groups, called hereafter Themes of Brazil's international identity: (1) Autonomy, (2) Socioeconomic Development, (3) Regional Relations, (4) South-South Relations/Universalism, (5) Multicultural Credentials, (6) Reform of International Institutions, (7) Promoting Peace, (8) Solidarity/Non-Indifference. The relevance of each theme was measured by the number of sentences referencing it. Considering the 36 addresses studied in both episodes, the most prevalent themes are summarised in Figure 3.

Source: Elaborated by the authors

Figure 3 Importance of the themes of Brazilian international identity combining MINUSTAH and Nuclear Deal statements 

Figure 3 allows us to see a three-tiered hierarchy, in which South-South Relations/Universalism is clearly predominant. This study was also interested in analysing variations between 2004 and 2010. Thus, the relative importance of each identity theme was compared across the two cases. By contrasting both frequencies, it was possible to see that some themes varied abruptly from one episode to another, indicating a clear influence of the circumstances in the selection, by governmental agents, of which identity components to mobilize in order to build a certain image of the country.

Source: Elaborated by the authors

Figure 4 Comparison of the relative importance of Brazilian international identity for MINUSTAH and Nuclear Deal cases 

The sizeable variation stems, in part, from the different nature of the two cases. Reform of International Institutions was the theme that increased the most (+10.3%) and Regional Relations the one that decreased the most (-13.8%) from one episode to another. This was probably because official discourse tried repeatedly during MINUSTAH to place Haiti within the range of Brazilian interests by evoking its location in Latin America. As the Nuclear Deal involved mainly the Middle East, Regional Relations became less important, whereas the subject of the Reform of International Institutions rose in importance because the Nuclear Deal was a moment of greater confrontation with the international status quo.

The contents of each theme are presented at length in Table 3 in the next section. A summary is presented below:

1. Autonomy: Autonomy is a lasting cause of BFP, having been sought and understood in different ways through history (Fonseca Jr. 1998; Vigevani and Cepaluni 2011). In the discourse of Lula and Amorim, autonomy refers mainly to the country's assertiveness in the international system. It comprised the idea of a rebalancing between Brazil and hegemonic powers (US and EU) in spite of possible frictions,8 and a negative characterization of the prior BFP paradigms.9,10 This is the theme in which the hierarchical position of Brazil in the international system is more evident. According to the literature a central theme in Brazilian identity - Autonomy - was a relatively discrete topic in the corpus.11

2. Socioeconomic Development: Least frequent of themes, this topic is centred on the narrative that Brazil 'has found the road to growth'.12 Lula and Amorim repeatedly cited the figures of economic growth, and also pinned them to the concept of social justice, arguing that development was only legitimate if it reduced inequalities.13 There is, thus, a concern to include the fulfilment of social demands as an aspect of Brazil's new identity. Governmental discourse evokes a social debt accumulated over the years as the country grew while widening its inequality gap. It is argued that such debt was not properly dealt with prior to the Workers' Party's (Partido dos Trabalhadores - PT) government.14 The neoliberal paradigm that guided the previous government and that caused a financial crisis in 2008 is also condemned, while the national economic model is held as an example for developed countries.15 The theme also mobilized notions of self-esteem and autonomy, showing the symbiosis between this theme and Autonomy, which had already been pointed out by the literature.16

3. Regional Relations: A vast literature indicates the centrality of the region in defining Brazil's international self.17 The theme of Regional Relations had the biggest variation of all; from being the most cited for Haiti, to one of the least in the case of Iran. Its prevalence for MINUSTAH stems from the Brazilian effort to legitimate the Mission, resorting often to geography as means to naturalize Brazil's interest in its Caribbean neighbour. Such discourses responded to domestic criticisms, which affirmed that Haiti was not within Brazil's area of interest. As in the Socioeconomic Development theme, a qualitative difference was set between the previous and the then government concerning South American integration.18

Leadership was also an important topic, since Brazil's rising power project necessarily involved some articulation of the regional leader role (Hurrell 2006).19 Lula and Amorim sought to undo the country's image as a threatening hegemon, presenting it instead as a benign and generous partner.20 Leading the peacekeeping operation could undermine this construction, as it meant intervening in a weaker country. However, they stated that Brazil's participation stemmed not from hegemonic aspirations, but from its responsibility as the greatest country in the region.21

Though relevant, the theme was less salient than South-South Relations/Universalism. This corroborates the argument by Malamud and Rodriguez (2013), according to which the regional leader identity would be less accessible to Brazil presently than that of leader of the emerging world. Nonetheless, the fact that Regional Relations are the fourth most frequent theme indicates that the region is not at all marginal in defining Brazil as a rising power.

4. South-South Relations/Universalism: Universalism has been an important, albeit controversial, topic in BFP (Ferreira 2009). In the studied corpus, the relationship between Brazil and the Global South, allied to the idea that the country has a universalist vocation, was the most relevant theme of all the corpus and constituted the hard core of Brazil's rising power identity. Official speeches listed the political and commercial outcomes of the closer ties with Africa, Asia and Middle East,22 as well as the engagement in the G20, IBAS and other blocs.

Components of national history, such as its colonial past, slavery and miscegenation were evoked to justify the current multilateral dialogue, giving new partners a role in the Brazilian saga.23 It is a clear usage of DM that gives meaning to the current inclinations of BFP and naturalizes even its points of rupture. Moreover, Brazil was often characterized as a leader of the Global South. Itamaraty's actions are not tied to Brazil's interest alone, but are enlarged so as to represent all emerging countries.24

5. Multicultural credentials: Brazil's multi-ethnic matrix is a classic 'symbol stock' of 'brasilianidade' (Ortiz 2013). This image is recalled to justify Itamaraty's intervention in specific matters and to highlight traits of its diplomacy, such as pacifism, universalism and multilateralism. It is more frequent in the MINUSTAH speeches, where it centred on a common 'African heritage' between Brazil and Haiti, and justified the Mission as a gesture of fraternity towards a 'brother country'.25

The Arab and Jewish communities in Brazil are also evoked, especially in the Iranian episode. Their peaceful co-existence on Brazilian soil was cited as an example of Brazil's capacity to promote peace, and also as a justification for Brazilian mediation in the Middle East.26

6. Reform of International Institutions: This is the second most relevant theme and the one that most increased in importance from 2004 to 2010. The main organ addressed is the UNSC. Brazil accuses it of obsoleteness,27 lack of representativeness,28 and lack of transparency.29 The Brazilian role in the BRICS, IBSA and G20 is cited as an example of its efforts to build a new international governance.30 In the days of the Nuclear Deal, criticism was extended also to human rights and the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which, according to official discourse, were not implement impartially by the international community.31

7. Promoting Peace: Brazil's peaceful vocation is held as an inherent trait (Lafer 2009; Cervo 2008), though historically contingent (Santos 2010). Brazil's leadership of MINUSTAH was interpreted as a concrete gesture of this aspiration. Promoting peace was equated with promoting social justice.32 This could be a way to outline a specificity of Brazil's world view (in contrast, for instance, to US militarism).33 Being Brazil a country that still endured socioeconomic drawbacks, including a developmental preoccupation in peacekeeping efforts was a way to transport a mark of Brazilian society to the field of external actions.

Mention was more frequent in the Iranian case, since, due to its nature, it required more robust legitimising efforts. Brazil's so-called moral authority was contrasted with the international community's partiality.34 The peaceful coexistence of different races and the absence of wars with its many neighbours were cited as evidence of this Brazilian trait.35

8. Solidarity/Non-Indifference: Solidarity, particularly in the form of South-South technical and humanitarian assistance, was a relevant part of Lula's diplomacy (Faria and Paradis 2013). This theme was more frequent in the Haiti speeches, where an effort was made to reconcile the concept of non-indifference with the constitutional principle of non-intervention. The official interlocutors insisted on the moral imperative of intervening in neighbour countries in dire situations.36 Another consistent effort was to justify the costly foreign operation, given Brazil's resource limitations. Official discourse did not ignore this matter and addressed it by affirming that solidarity befits all countries and not only the rich.37 Hence, it managed to propose an identity in which Brazil was charitable though economically challenged - a more modest image than the prosperous one seen in the Socioeconomic Development theme.

Some sentences were coded as pertaining to more than one theme. The matrix displayed on Table 2 shows the number of such sentences. The prevalent theme South-South Relations/Universalism had also the highest co-occurrence with other topics, especially Multicultural Credentials, due to the aforementioned attempt to naturalise the diversification of foreign partners.

Table 2 Number of sentences coded into multiple categories in official discourse 

Autonomy Multicultural Credentials Socioeconomic Development Promoting Peace Reform of International Institutions Regional Relations South-South Relations/Universalism Solidarity/Non-Indifference
Autonomy 12
Multicultural Credentials 0 13
Socioeconomic Development 1 0 11
Promoting Peace 0 2 0 22
Reform of International Institutions 0 0 0 0 22
Regional Relations 0 0 0 1 0 21
South-South Relations/Universalism 3 4 1 1 0 3 31
Solidarity/Non-Indifference 0 2 0 0 0 3 0 14

Source: Elaborated by the authors

Convergences and divergences between official and media discourses

In order to verify the degree of consensus between media and government discourses, we observed the number of sentences in each news article on MINUSTAH and on the Nuclear Deal that addressed one of the eight identity themes and, after, whether or not the newspapers' discourse was compatible with that of the government. The results are summarized in Figure 5, which shows for all four news outlets the percentages of convergence and divergence on all themes, as well as silences.

Since the eight themes did not have the same weight for governmental discourse in defining the country's identity (as shown in Figure 3), the media's engagement with those pre-eminent themes is considered more meaningful for inferring its overall legitimation or de-legitimation of Lula's diplomacy. Figure 6 weighs media discourse in relation to that of the government by multiplying a news outlet's converging/diverging sentences by the percentage of that theme's importance in official discourse. The graph indicates the change in the overall percentage of convergence of each news outlet from one episode to another.

Table 3 summarizes the main ideas mobilised by all studied interlocutors for both episodes. Its first three columns list the eight identity themes and the main ideas used by official discourse to characterize each one. The other columns summarise the discourse of the four news outlets.

Of the international newspapers, the FT proved to be closer to the government discourse, converging on all topics it mentioned, except Socioeconomic Development. The FT saw the country as a global commodity exporter, so that the commercial liberalisation of the past years was not the antithesis to this identity (as in the official discourse), but the starting point. Also, on the South-South Relations/Universalism theme, the FT showed less optimism concerning emerging countries' capacity to impact on world affairs. This finding is in tune with previous research that had indicated that the financial press had a positive view of Lula due to his economic orthodoxy (Procópio 2012).

Source: Elaborated by the authors

Figure 5 Percentage of converging and diverging sentences for all four news outlets across identity themes in their coverage of MINUSTAH and the Nuclear Deal 

Source: Elaborated by the authors

Figure 6 Comparison of the total percentage of converging sentences for all four news outlets in their MINUSTAH and Nuclear Deal coverage 

The NYT's convergence with governmental discourse varied greatly from one episode to the other, going from 81% to 13%. While for MINUSTAH it presented some intermediate articles but no major divergence, it diverged on all topics it mentioned but one in the Nuclear Deal. This shift can be due to the newspaper's DF. Archetti's (2010) model implies that this US publication should have its discourse determined chiefly by national interest considerations when covering BFP. This could explain why the NYT approved the leadership in the Caribbean island (Hirst 2007: 4), but disapproved of a deal with Iran that could jeopardize the US project to impose sanctions on Ahmadinejad.

Table 3  Content of official and media discourses on the eight identity themes in the MINUSTAH and Nuclear Deal cases 

Theme Official Discourse FT NYT CC OESP
1. Autonomy - More balanced North-South relations - Reciprocity - Stand for Brazil's rights, respect and self-esteem - Previous BFP was submissive and incorrect - Current BFP is active and non-subservient - Brazil can take action without the permission of great powers - Commercial victories were defeats for the North - Change in the bilateral US relation: support in spite of friction - Change in the international agenda - Brazil is a 'confident nation' trying to chart 'a diplomatic path of its own' - - New BFP damages Brazil-US relations - Iranian deal shows amateurism of Brazilian diplomacy - Brazil antagonizes the US due to careless exhibitionism - - Brazil has been a 'subject of the Empire... forever and ever', and particularly under FHC, who 'cheered for the opponent' - Lula's foreign policy is independent from the Empire's interest - Brazil and Turkey are trustworthy mediators because 'they are not mere US satellites' - Diplomatic professionalism - US indifferent to the new identity - Frictions during the MINUSTAH can compromise Brazil-US relations in the future - BFP is becoming ideological - Brazil has 'gone too far': Lula does not consider the 'consequences of his diplomacy' - Brazil has 'serious divergences' with the US - New BFP aggravates the US and can harm bilateral relations - Iranian deal shows amateurism of Brazilian diplomacy
2. Socioecon. development - Economic growth with reduction of internal inequality - Payment of a social debt - Modernization - The time when Brazil thought it was poor is over - Economic growth with reduction of internal inequality - Modernization/ Change in international image - Positive legacy of the neoliberal governments of the 1990s - - - - WHO report shows that Brazil is a violent country due to its great social inequality - - -
3. Regional Relations - Placing Haiti within Brazil's area of interest - Commitment with regional stability - Regional integration is a current priority - Benevolent regional leadership - Regional integration is a current priority - Answers to domestic criticisms to regional focus - North-American interest in the stabilizing potential of Brazilian leadership - Regional integration - - MINUSTAH is a demonstration of Brazilian regional leadership - Brazil and allies act in defence of the region's values (democracy, peace, multilateralism) - BFP carried out by Lula has damaged democracy in Latin America - - Brazil and Turkey are 'representing the interests of their own regions' - Haiti is within Brazil's area of geopolitical interest - MINUSTAH is the starting point for South-American defence cooperation - In spite of commercial competition, Brazil and Argentina have extensive military cooperation - Brazil talks with regimes that promote terrorism in important regional allies (Argentina)
4. South-South Relations/Universalism - Diversification - Banner carrier for the Global South - Domestic criticism comes from 'colonized heads' - Diversification - Banner carrier for the Global South - South-South is a modern rendering of Itamaraty's longstanding multilateralism - Domestic criticism comes from 'colonized minds' - The country might become the power it tries to be through diversification - Banner carrier for the Global South - Brazil wants to build bridges between the West and the developing world - Commercial ties with Iran - Historically, emerging countries are 'diplomatic failures' - - Commercial ties with Iran - Brazil represents the post-Western world and it will continue to rise in the global stage - - Brazil's elite (and the big media that represent it) is hostile to Lula and is surrendered, anachronistic, and spreads a 'subaltern opinion' - 'Third World' focus is an ideologization of the BFP - Depreciation of Itamaraty's prestigious diplomatic corps - Criticism to the waiver of debts and donations to Africa - Commercial ties with Iran - Brazil claims to be a representative of emerging countries, critics see 'megalomania' and 'excessive protagonism' instead
5. Multicultural Credentials - African heritage - Haiti as a sister nation - Peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs - Racial mixture equalled to: universalism, understanding and South-South diplomacy - African heritage - Peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Brazil qualifies it to be a mediator in the Middle East - - - Soccer players from the Seleção are admired in Haiti because of their black colour and humble origins - - - - Multi-ethnic trait makes Brazilian leadership well accepted - Domestically, Brazil still has racism; externally, Haiti has cultural and ethnic ties with Brazil -
6. Reform of International Institutions - Reform of the UNSC (obsolete and unrepresentative) - MINUSTAH leadership is a concrete gesture of Brazil's commitment - UNSC is obsolete, non-transparent and unrepresentative - Human Rights are treated in a politicized way - Denounces nuclear-arms countries for refusing to disarm - MINUSTAH and other gestures (waiver of African debts, campaign against hunger) are part of a campaign for prestige and a permanent seat at the UNSC - The UNSC's 'permanent five' exert a mystified power, have obsolete and undemocratic rules face to the non-Western world - Great powers have been unable to solve the nuclear proliferation problem - Brazil as a regional power seeks a permanent seat - MINUSTAH is part of the UNSC permanent seat campaign, though denied by official discourse - 'Amateurism' in Teheran might compromise the UNSC permanent seat goal - Solution for the Iranian issue will come from the UNSC permanent members - Brazil supports Iran and silences about attacks on human rights and democracy, behaving like the great powers it once criticized - Brief mention to the fact the great powers have not been able to solve nuclear proliferation - - Deal is a milestone in the 'shift of global power', from the West toward the South and the East - Brazil was the main protagonist of the deal - The West was inefficient and biased in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue. - Brazil and Turkey have greater moral authority on disarmament than countries with nuclear arms. - Brazil and Turkey are 'new powers' - UNSC obsolete and symbolic. The permanent seat is less worthy for Brazil than displaying actual economic and geopolitical leadership. - US violates the 'rights of the peoples' - MINUSTAH is part of the UNSC campaign - South-South diplomacy is part of the campaign for the UNSC (though not officially declared) - Govern has predicted benefits but not the costs of the MINUSTAH - Moral condemnation of Brazil's ties with a country that violates Human Rights - Brazil condemns NPT asymmetries and the refusal of nuclear-arms countries to disarm - Brief acknowledgment of 'Lula's tenacity', denounces reactionary attitude of the US and 'old school powers' of the 'atomic club'
7. Promoting Peace - Peace is a perennial trait of Brazil, embodied in the MINUSTAH - Social justice as a prerequisite for peace - Peaceful regional relations - Desire for peace - Moral authority on disarmament matters - - - Country is critical of violent unilateral interventions (Iraq) - 'Non conventional' diplomacy demonstrates a desire for peace (e.g.: Seleção's soccer match in Haiti) - Brazil and Iran have undergone similar experiences with their nuclear programs - Brazilian involvement could raise suspicion regarding its own nuclear program - The problems faced by Brazilian troops in Brazil (crime) and in Haiti (national security) are not the same, in spite of the similarity pointed out by the government. - Brazilian soldiers are 'guardians of Peace' - Brazil leads peace mission, but is one of the most violent countries in the world. - Lula is 'a president willing to search for the ways of peace' - Teheran mission is a 'peace mission' - Brazil is concerned with peace, while the belligerent US are concerned with sanctions or war - Success of the peacekeeping mission depends on social justice - Poverty in Haiti proves the peace/ development association correct - Soccer match is a gesture for peace - Brazilian intervention contrasts with US militarism - Defends the Brazilian nuclear program - Lula has electoral and self-projection goals
8. Solidarity/Non-Indifference - Moral impossibility of indifference - Though not rich/developed, Brazil must help - Though not rich/developed, Brazil has helped - - - Brazil has financial limitations, but within the 'labour division' it can help in other ways - But there are criticism originating inside the president's party (imperialism/non-intervention) - - - - Brazil can help Haiti with technical cooperation - Permanent UNSC seat is the motivation for the generosity with the South - Donations are misused by recipients -

Source: Elaborated by the authors

Domestically, CC was convergent with the government, though it also changed abruptly from one episode to another. For MINUSTAH, the magazine was surprisingly silent. It had no articles following the troops in Haiti, publishing instead minor pieces on correlated topics, and it even contested official discourse on all of the two themes it referenced. But for the Nuclear Deal, there was zero divergence. The magazine replicated government reasoning closely. It was silent on human rights violations in Iran. As for OESP, it was the most antagonistic of all news outlets. It was still receptive on MINUSTAH, converging considerably on Regional Relations and Promoting Peace. However, in the Iranian case, both themes were negatively interpreted along with the remainder, notably in terms of their political costs - a determining factor for popular endorsement of foreign policy (Baum and Potter 2008).

Comparing national and international newspapers, it is possible to see that there was no single theme for which all four shared the same position. Regional Relations, which had a higher number of overall convergences, did not have a stable interpretation across cases. For Haiti, though there was no unanimity, the news outlets tended to agree more with governmental discourse, while for Iran there was little overall concordance on the themes, as shown on Figures 5 and 6. This difference can be due to the fact that the Iranian episode proved itself to be more difficult to interpret by the media, and therefore triggered more heterogeneous readings. It is useful to mention Steinberger's (2005) differentiation between 'current' and 'new' facts in journalism; the latter are those that lack a clear script due to their novelty. Brazil has a tradition in peacekeeping missions, so that MINUSTAH is a current phenomenon; dealings with Iran, however, are a new fact. The lack of available scripts (or 'consensual frames', according to Baum and Potter 2008) for interpreting it seems to cause a more pronounced influence by the DF on the newspapers' discourse. This is shown by the proximity between the arguments used by the FT and CC and those used by the NYT and OESP.

The results suggest that national news outlets with an ideology that is different from that of the government (OESP) and international newspapers that are influenced by a national interest opposed to the Brazilian one (NYT) were less receptive to the discourses that asked for change in the global status quo, refusing to legitimise the role Brazil claimed. News outlets with an ideology compatible with the government's (CC), or where interest was less national and more cosmopolitan (FT), tended, then, to converge with the official opinion. This corroborates the original hypothesis that world view compatibility would determine legitimation.


The findings of this study have contributed to an understanding of BFP under Lula, Brazil's international identity as a rising power, the media's role in interpreting international reality, and the workings of discourse in legitimizing identities.

First, the predominance of the South-South Relations/Universalism theme in the official discourse and its considerable acceptance by the media indicates that Brazil as a rising power is defined mainly by South-South diplomacy and diversification. Vigevani and Cepaluni (2007) and Malamud and Rodriguez (2013) had already proposed such a feature as a distinctive practice in BFP under Lula; our findings show that it has also become a leading idea in defining Brazil's role in the world.

For the press, the 'national interest' and 'editorial ideology' variables behaved as expected. The similarity between the NYT and OESP took place in spite of the opposed ideological orientation of these newspapers (so also for the FT and CC), indicating that, across borders, national interest tends to override ideology in shaping journalistic discourse.38 The influence of these variables was greater in the case of the Nuclear Deal, suggesting that the DF of a news outlet is more pronounced in controversial stories with no prior scripts.

The refusal to validate Brazil's new identity, when it was exerted with Iran, indicates that there are relational limits to the performance of identity prerogatives. The Islamic Republic has a dense identity of being a rogue regime, which is the product of continuous symbolic work (Izadi and Saghaye-Biria 2007). Such identity did not accommodate the features of Brazil's new self as a rising, peaceful and conciliating nation. This finding contributes to the understanding of identities as relational (Barnett 1999), indicating that the intelligibility of a new identity depends on the peers with which it interacts and their social identities - a factor often beyond the control of the State attempting to redefine itself. This can be seen as a cognitive frontier outlined by shared knowledge on identities in a system; in order to be legitimate, identity update projects need to operate within the boundaries of prevailing narratives about the nation-state at hand, but also about the international community and other States.

Moreover, official discourse has referenced a common repertoire of stories and symbols aimed at rendering BFP familiar to the population, as foreseen by the literature (Marcussen et al. 1999; Hall 2006). Themes such as the Multicultural Credentials were mobilized to naturalize innovations and ruptures, such as the South-South Relations/Universalism. According to Entman (2003 cited in Baum and Potter 2008: 51), this would be an attempt to convert a contested frame in a 'culturally congruent' frame, increasing the chances of popular support. Besides multiculturalism, references to the country's peaceful nature have likewise sought to evoke some form of national tradition as a legitimising strategy (Lopes 2013).

Lastly, the press proved to be an agent that is aware of the political and symbolic processes that establish international identities. This was seen in their concern in deconstructing the unity of governmental discourse, in their selective portraying of the reaction of the international community to Brazilian gestures, and in denouncing the instrumentality of how some regimes get labelled by hegemonic powers. This indicates an awareness that identity update requires positive feedback by the Other, as predicted by constructivism (Wendt 1992).

Some of the limitations of this research indicate pathways for future studies. In the constructivist perspective, identity change is produced by prolonged interaction between actors. The relatively narrow scope of this research, which comprised two case studies, does not allow it to infer whether Brazil's identity as a rising power was actualized, which is why our main focus was the legitimation strategies deployed by government and press in interpreting Lula's foreign policy. Future articles could analyse the Brazilian case more extensively, through methods that allow for the incorporation of larger, less asymmetric corpora and longer time spans, so as to better identify which themes of Brazilian international identity are more stable and which are more contingent.


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1.An earlier version of this article was presented at the 39th ABCP Congress (October 2015).

2.Wendt (1992) and Katzenstein (1996), respectively, exemplify both perspectives.

3.For this study, the State was considered mainly as (i) the target of electoral competition, (ii) the seat of power that allows parties to execute their projects, and (iii) an instance of a body that is responsive and accountable to civil society. Though government and State have conceptual distinctions, the terms are used interchangeably since, as this theoretical section explains, identities are attached to the State, but it is successive governments that challenge and update such identities.

4.For a discussion on Brazilian public opinion's lack of interest in foreign policy, see Fonseca Jr (1998: 267, 355-356); Lopes (2008), Lafer (2009: 120). For case studies of moments when BFP awakened greater public interest, see Fuser (2008) and Ferreira (2009).

5.Data on the NYT and the FT were extracted from their media kits 'International Rates and Information 2014' and 'Financial Times' Average Daily Global Audience (ADGA): Methodology January 2013 - December 2013', respectively.

6.The fact that one is a daily newspaper and the other a weekly magazine is a problem for the corpus, because the news volume in each is asymmetric. This shortcoming was taken into account during selection. We chose nonetheless to preserve both because the main variable used to explain Brazilian journalistic discourse is editorial ideology, and there are no nationwide left-wing dailies in Brazil. Though we could have selected a Brazilian right-wing magazine instead of OESP, this would imply in an overall smaller corpus for the sake of symmetry, which would do greater harm to our inferential leverage. The total number of foreign articles is also not very vast (36), but this is a limitation that besieges all research on Brazil's representation by the international media: Brazil is not a major power and thus it does not make it to the headlines very often. See Wu (2000) for an empirical assessment.

8.'So, what do we want? We want for Brazil what the Americans want for themselves, we want to participate, we want to be respected, we want our rights to be taken into account. And, because of that, we have decided to fight these fights' (Lula da Silva 2004c). Full references of the official addresses, coding, and news articles used in this study are provided at Dataverse ( Please note that bibliographic references therein will not match perfectly those listed here, as this article only lists a fraction of those texts - the ones which are directly cited. Interested researchers are welcome to replicate the results.

9.'You know that Brazil, many times, did not have the courage to fight. Many times, people were afraid of sitting down, because we cannot fight the US, we cannot fight I-don't-know-who' (Lula da Silva 2004c).

10.'We have moved, clearly, from a subjection to the will of an allegedly inexorable international order to an active insertion in an international context marked by great transformations.' (Amorim 2010c). 'Brazil has known how to challenge the false paradigm that our foreign policy should be guided by the notion of "limitation of power". This, in turn, was based in a false accountancy' (Amorim 2010b).

11.We would also like to highlight the gap between the concept of "Autonomy" as a hermeneutic device used by scholars to give Brazil's diplomatic practices a theoretical congruence and "Autonomy" as an idea or representation in political discourse that can be empirically captured. This identity theme refers to the latter. We thank Tullo Vigevani for his comments on this point during the 39th ABCP Congress.

13.'The current economic results only make sense if they serve to restore the basic elements of citizenship to millions of men and women' (Lula da Silva 2004b).

14.'We have had several lost decades, such as the 1980s and part of the 1990s, in which the population grew and the economy didn't. What does that mean? That we have a very large deficit with Brazilian society [...] I am near my 60s and it has not been paid yet. But we will have to pay it. And if we don't pay it, I ask myself: who will pay it? Well, we have that commitment' (Lula da Silva 2004e).

15.'[I]f the developed world has doubts about what to do about the economic crisis, they could humbly - they, who came here so often preach sermons to us - come here humbly to learn how to do serious economic policy [...] when the market broke down, the state [...] solved the problem' (Lula da Silva 2010e).

16.See Magnoli et al. (2000).

18.'When President Lula took office, Mercosur was in a process, if not dissolution, of great fragility' (Amorim 2004). 'We have made Mercosur and South America an effective priority again' (Amorim 2011). 'When they say that "South America was already a priority", I say that it was, but not carried out with the intensity that it has been' (Amorim 2004). 'You know that hardly there was any candidate in South America who has not used the discourse of Latin-American or South-American integration. The concrete fact is that this integration cannot be a catch phrase or something eminently theoretical. [...] we have started to do it.' (Lula da Silva 2004e).

19.For a discussion on Brazil's regional leadership, see Flemes and Wehner (2015) and Burges (2015).

20.'[W]e want to make each country in South America believe that Brazil is a real partner, because there are many people afraid of Brazil, many people thought Brazil was imperialist. We are showing that we do not want to have a hegemonic relationship with anyone. We want to have a partnership relationship, we want to be friends' (Lula da Silva 2004e).

21.'When we take action in a crisis such as the one in Haiti, we are exercising our responsibility in the international scene [...] As a member of the Security Council, Brazil has sought to reflect the concerns of our region and to interpret the interests of the Haitian people and of the international community' (Lula da Silva 2004a).

22.'We have made a new economic and commercial geography. Twenty years ago, nearly 70% of Brazilian foreign trade was with OECD countries. Today, 55% of our exchanges are with the developing world. This diversification was possible thanks to the progresses of Latin-American integration and the strengthening of partnerships in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Without foregoing our traditional partners, we have made South-South relations a great asset of our foreign policy' (Lula da Silva 2010b).

23.'Africa, where we went not only to search new commercial partners - we went there to search for ourselves, our own origins, frequently forgotten' (Amorim 2011). 'We are multiethnic, we embrace different religions and cultures. The Brazilian nation is formed by our original peoples, by millions of Africans that came here forced into slave labor. We host successive waves of European and Asian immigrants. Here, millions of descendants of Arabs co-exist peacefully with hundreds of thousands of Jews and their descendants. Brazil has a huge debt with the peoples of almost the whole world, that have helped to build our material wealth, but who, above all, are responsible for the construction of our cultural heritage. All of them, without exception, are part of what we call Brazilian civilization' (Lula da Silva 2010d).

24.'When we do this, like the WTO struggle, regarding cotton, the beneficiary is not only Brazil. Many times, a small African country, whose economy is based in cotton, is the one that will be the great winner of this deal' (Lula da Silva 2004c). 'In Cancun, not only did we have the courage to face the powerful and challenge the established paradigms. We sought to and managed to make the positions of developing countries converge, in favor of an outcome that would not do violence to the interests of the poorer' (Amorim 2010b). 'We are in a privileged position to make the voice of emerging countries heard [...]' (Lula da Silva 2010c).

25.'Haiti is the third country with the greatest black population in the Americas. Brazil shares that African heritage and could not be indifferent to the problems that the Haitian people are facing' (Lula da Silva 2004a). 'Haiti is a brother country, with which Brazil shares an African heritage of great importance for our national identity' (Lula da Silva 2004d).

26.'Brazil, which has around ten million Arab descendants and a Jewish community co-existing in harmony, will not hold back to give its contribution to the Peace that all hope for (Amorim 2010e).

27.'It is not possible that the UN continue with a Security Council represented by the geopolitical interests of the Second World War and does not take into account all the changes that have taken place in the world' (Lula da Silva 2010a). 'It is not possible that the mode of deciding the great global questions is still based in geopolitics from 1948 and not 2010!' (Lula da Silva 2010f).

28.'Currently, it is clear for anyone that the world can no longer be guided by a club of self-entitled decision makers' (Amorim 2010a). '[UNSC's composition] must adapt to today's reality, and not perpetuate that of the Post-WWII or of the Cold War. Any reform that limits itself to a new dressing for the current structure, without increasing the number of permanent members is, certainly, insufficient' (Lula da Silva 2004f).

29.'[O]n the lack of transparency of the Security Council [...] the fact that you have five permanent members with veto powers discussing only among themselves lends itself to all kinds of bargaining (Amorim 2010f). 'It is not possible to continue to un-transparent working methods, which allow permanent members to discuss, behind closed doors and for how long they wish, matters that interest all of Mankind' (Amorim 2010e).

30.'The BRIC group; the IBAS forum; the BASIC group in the negotiations on climate change; the WTO G20 have contributed to building a fairer, more democratic and inclusive international order' (Amorim 2010b). 'In the economic field, the substitution of the G7 by the G20 as main instance of deliberation on the future of international finance and production is the acknowledgment that the decisions on world economy lacked legitimacy and effectiveness without the participation of emerging countries' (Amorim 2010d).

31.'We favour a non-selective, objective and multilateral treatment of human rights. A treatment without politicization or partiality, in which all - rich and poor, powerful and weak - are subject to the same scrutiny' (Amorim 2010e). '[W]e don't think that just pointing your finger at someone will actually improve human rights on the ground' (Amorim 2010f).

32.'[In Haiti] the name of peace is social justice. Democracy can never flourish in the midst of the hopelessness of a people condemned to poverty and violence' (Lula da Silva 2004b).

33.'In Haiti, we are not taking stabilization on the tip of bayonets' (Lula da Silva 2004h).

34.'We stand for a planet free of nuclear arms and for the fulfillment, by all countries, of the determinations of the NPT [...] Brazil is one of a few countries that consecrated, in its Constitution, a prohibition of producing and using nuclear arms' (Lula da Silva 2010d).

35.'I don't think there are many countries that can boast that they have 10 neighbors and haven't had a war in the last 140 years.' (Amorim 2010f). 'And if anyone wants to know a quiet place on the planet, look to South America [...] it has been a long time since we made war among ourselves' (Lula da Silva 2010g).

36.'We don't believe in interfering with internal affairs in other countries, but we also do not hide in omission and in indifference face to the problems that affect out neighbors' (Lula da Silva 2004f). 'Brazil could not stay indifferent to a humanitarian and political crises in Haiti which threatened to drown the country in a bloodbath' (Lula da Silva 2004d).

37.'[E]ven we Brazilians, who have many poor, have an obligation of helping countries poorer than us' (Lula da Silva 2004g). 'Brazil, as greatest country in the continent, has to make gestures of generosity to those that are poorer [...]' (Lula da Silva 2004c). '[W]e have the chance of getting Latin America to help, even in its poverty. And I say this: we, even being poor, can help' (Lula da Silva 2004e). 'IBAS has become a model in projects in favor of poorer countries, showing, in practice, that solidarity is not an appanage of the rich' (Amorim 2010d).

38.Fuser (2008) identifies a similar interplay in his study of OESP's coverage of the 'Responsible Pragmatism' diplomacy. Ideologically pro-US, the newspaper's only 'autonomist' interlude was caused by national interest considerations concerning the Brazil-Germany nuclear cooperation agreement.

Received: October 28, 2015; Accepted: February 22, 2016

Rafael Mesquita is a Political Science/International Relations Doctorate student at UFPE (Recife - PE, Brazil), Master in Political Science/International Relations and Journalist from the same university. He is a member of the Centre of Comparative Politics and International Relations - NEPI/CNPq/UFPE. He holds a grant from CAPES. He is also a graduate in Business Administration from UPE and has undertaken part of this undergraduate studies at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). He recently published as a co-author The Impact of Summitry on the Governance of Mercosur. In: Gordon Mace et al. Summits and Regional Governance. New York: Routledge, 2016. His current research topics include emerging powers, regional leadership and Brazilian Foreign Policy.

Marcelo de Almeida Medeiros received his PhD in Political Science from the Institut d'Études Politiques de Grenoble and his Political Science Habilitation Thesis from the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). He is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Federal University of Pernambuco - UFPE and PQ-1C Research Fellow of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development - CNPq. He was Rio Branco International Relations Chair - St Antony's College - University of Oxford (2015) and Simon Bolivar Political Science Chair - Institute of Latin American Studies - University Sorbonne Nouvelle (2009). He recently published The Impact of Summitry on the Governance of Mercosur. In: Gordon Mace et al. Summits and Regional Governance. New York: Routledge, 2016.

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