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The geography economy and society of brazil a latin american country

Geopolitics in Latin America, Old and New Introduction Geography can certainly influence politics, as the complicated topography of South America with its inaccessible rainforests, deserts, and high mountains illustrates. However, geographic obstacles are not as insurmountable as recent transcontinental infrastructure projects have demonstrated.

Being endowed with natural resources creates opportunities for action to be taken in terms of exploitation, development of infrastructure, and securitization. However, political decisions must be made in order for changes related to geographic spaces and endowments to occur.

Geopolitical thinking constructs narratives at the interplay of territory, geography, and politics, and with regards to how these elements should shape the interactions of states within a region Cohen 2009 ; Kacowicz 2000 ; Kelly 1997. Geopolitical thinking and policy-making may have waned in other regions of the world, but Latin America is still a fertile ground for the development of geopolitical ideas and doctrines.

While geopolitics is still important in political discourses and foreign policy in Latin America, there are only few analyses of current geopolitical thinking.

Political models and the search for authority

Moreover, most of these works are rather descriptive or adopt a historical perspective on the development of geopolitical ideas. Critical geopolitics refers to the analysis of the spatializing of boundaries and dangers the geopolitical map of the worldand of the geopolitical representations of self and other the geopolitical imagination Mamadouh 1998: It is a policy-oriented approach, which conceptualizes foreign policy challenges and the international politics of a state in light of its geographical features, or its position on the map.

It formulates guidelines for conducting statecraft based on this analysis van der Wusten and Dijkink 2002: Therefore, neoclassical geopolitics gives explanatory primacy to physical and human geographical factors—for example, whether a country is landlocked or has a large coastline, or whether it is rich or poor with regard to raw materials—which tend to lead to environmental and structural determinism.

This chapter focuses on both major political and economic developments that have influenced geopolitical thinking in South America. It also seeks to elucidate the constitutive and basic elements of existing geopolitical narratives.

Classical geopolitics in Latin America The reference to geopolitical codes and maps i.

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Thus, the past still has a significant psychological the geography economy and society of brazil a latin american country on the current international relations of the region and present-day boundary disputes Kacowicz 2000: Latin American geopolitics until the end of the Cold War era was characterized by a focus on the state—sometimes perceived as an organic entity—as the provider of territorial security in both its domestic and external dimensions.

The state prioritized the need to exert control over its own territory by trying to provide space for population growth and economic expansion. However, few connections were made between the internal territorial geographies and topographies in the field of geopolitics in its old variant—that is, the study of sparsely populated areas as places from which nonconformist sectors of society including criminal networks can subvert and control the state Cohen 2009: The centrality of the state in geopolitical thinking was related to the need to determine and defend its territorial boundaries.

Border disputes are related to the very origins of the nation-state in Latin America Parodi 2002. However, these terms simultaneously attest to the lack of large-scale armed conflicts in the region, despite the existing rivalries Kacowicz 1998 ; Mares 2001. The authoritarian regimes of the 1960s and 1970s tended to emphasize nationalistic narratives in the face of territorial issues.

The geopolitical thinking of the military governments was closely linked to national security doctrines Kacowicz 2000. Moreover, geopolitical thinkers from the military became political protagonists who were able to shape relationships with other states in the region. A good example is General Augusto Pinochet, who was a professor of geopolitics but not an important geopolitical author. The predominance of the military sector in the field of geopolitics is related to the role played by the military geographical institutes that exist in most Latin American countries.

They were closely linked to the respective national military academies. While traditional geopolitics perceived the state as a unitary actor, geopolitical narratives and policies have always been contested.

Geopolitics at the domestic level has remained under-researched in terms of actors, competing policies and narratives, and internal dilemmas regarding the implementation of one policy over another. The subfield of foreign policy analysis can illuminate this facet of geopolitics, as it has shown that even in authoritarian contexts policies can be contested domestically.

Traditional geopolitics in the 1960s and 1970s was influenced by the structural frame set by the systemic variable of bipolarity during the Cold War. The key point is that ideological and power structures had the upper hand in geopolitics in South America. For instance, the dissemination of anticommunism of the United States was key for the development of the national security doctrines in Latin America Cohen 2009 ; Child 1979 ; Kelly 1997.

Further, an overemphasis on border delimitations in the analysis of old geopolitics research may have influenced the lack of interest in geo-economic issues. While economic issues were present in existing studies of old geopolitics, they were nested in studies of disputes over territorial and maritime boundaries without being distinguished from the study of sovereignty issues.

For instance, the maritime treaties signed by Chile, Ecuador, and Peru in 1952 and 1954 were not exclusively driven by the need to delimit sea borders. Rather, economic strategic reasons were fundamental for the signing of these accords, to exert economic control over those 200 miles, to protect national fishing industries, and to allow for national economic development as a whole and in specific geographical zones that could serve as economic poles.

A reexamination of old geopolitics topics in Latin America could lead to new understandings of concepts and to new perspectives of research, such as the observed but neglected intrinsic relationship between security and development in this period. New geopolitics in Latin America The main factors influencing geopolitical thinking in Latin America since the 1990s can be summarized as follows: A decade later, however, South America had become an independent geopolitical region with balanced ties to the United States, Europe, and Asia Cohen 2009.

There are now new interregional dialogue forums with Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Arab countries. Moreover, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina are part of the G-20 of leading economies. States from this region are also important partners in global governance forums such as climate summits; in this way, Latin American countries are increasingly shaping the global architecture.

Geopolitics of integration The early 1990s represented a period of change characterized by a sequence of different regional cooperation projects.

  1. We argue that it is essential to include gender as a category of analysis across all areas of geography, rather than it being only set up as a separate focus. Reviewing the location of the authors of the presentations and publications and the topics addressed, two points stand out.
  2. Although Is Geography Destiny? With the structures of the old system removed, the inhabitants of each country set out on programs to create a postcolonial political, economic, and social order.
  3. Historically there has been always an overlap of intraregional cooperation Latin America and inter-American or hemispheric cooperation Hurrell 1992. Further, Latin America also boasts a rich biodiversity, as well as important freshwater reserves.
  4. Since the turn of the century, natural resources have again become an important geopolitical and geo-economic factor.

These projects were manifestations of divergent geo-economic and geopolitical interests. Historically there has been always an overlap of intraregional cooperation Latin America and inter-American or hemispheric cooperation Hurrell 1992.

In the 1990s the idea of the Americas as a political and economic geographical space was in vogue. The Americas project was a reaction to contemporary major global geopolitical and geo-economic trends, such as the fear of an exclusive regionalism in other parts of the world.

At the same time, the U. For a short time, the so-called Washington Consensus unified the region behind the same economic model.

Moreover, Canada joined the Organization of American States OAS in 1990 to convert it into a genuinely all-encompassing continental organization of the Americas. Liberalization within the framework of the Washington Consensus facilitated economic cooperation projects in Latin America under the premise of open regionalism.

Observers identified a positive transformation from geopolitics to geo-economics Kacowicz 2000. However, the dream of creating the neo liberal Americas under benign U. The EU started to court Latin America, organizing regular European—Latin American and Caribbean summits since 1998 —giving way to a competitive summitry Legler 2013 —and offering free trade agreements to the Latin American countries. While extra-hemispheric actors have won influence, the United States has lost economic and political leverage in Latin America.

Russia is displaying a renewed geostrategic interest in Latin America Blank 2009. In fact, in some South American countries China has already displaced the United States as their most important trading partner.

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In the shadow of declining U. In contrast to the previous three summits, there was no reference made to hemispheric integration in the summit declaration. Moreover, the next two summits in Port of Spain 2009 and Cartagena 2012 ended without the approval of a common declaration, revealing a rift between the United States and many Latin American governments. Yet, it has also become more heterogeneous and segmented, the geography economy and society of brazil a latin american country economically and politically.

In fact, in Latin America there is a proliferation of regional and subregional organizations that serve to delineate and consolidate geographic sub regions. Regional cooperation and integration was made possible by Argentine-Brazilian rapprochement, seen as a geopolitical turning point Kelly 1997. As early as the 1990s, Brazil envisioned a free trade area focusing exclusively on South America SAFTAbut it was not until 2000 that a first summit of South American presidents took place in Brasilia.

The Pacific and South Atlantic as geopolitical markers The economic promise and market projection into the Pacific Basin was already present in the traditional geopolitical thinking with regards to the Pacific Ocean. In these narratives the South American countries, which have a coastline on the Pacific, constituted a separate regional subsystem Kelly 1997: Other countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama are also interested in joining the organization.

In 2012, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Mexico created the Pacific Alliance, a regional project that seeks to create a free trade zone between its members and make connections to Asian economies.

Later, Panama and Costa Rica also applied for membership. The idea to link the Atlantic and Pacific through bi-oceanic corridors—as part of the IIRSA project—is both a recognition of the growing importance of the Pacific Basin and a reaction of Brazil to this development.

More than 90 per cent of Brazilian trade is shipped via Atlantic sea routes, and the country has a major strategic interest related to the security of the main sea lines of communication SLOCS crossing the South Atlantic Reis 2012 and any possible choke points therein.

There is also growing attention being given to new, nontraditional security threats related to the South Atlantic, such as smuggling, the transatlantic drug trade especially with West African countriesillegal immigration, environmental crimes, terrorism, and piracy.

In this context the Brazilian government has securitized the South Atlantic and clearly defined its position both in the 2008 National Strategy of Defense and in the 2012 National Defense White Book.

As a consequence, Brazil started a naval modernization program that included the construction of nuclear-powered submarines in cooperation with Francevessels that are particularly suited to long-distance patrols in the South Atlantic. For the Brazilian military, the South Atlantic is an area of power projection Reis 2012whereas the African coast is perceived as part of the Brazilian defensive perimeter.

  1. Both Latin American politicians and scientists use the concept of geopolitics in relation to natural resources.
  2. Argentina alone received almost 2. The Pacific and South Atlantic as geopolitical markers The economic promise and market projection into the Pacific Basin was already present in the traditional geopolitical thinking with regards to the Pacific Ocean.
  3. Both Latin American politicians and scientists use the concept of geopolitics in relation to natural resources. In contrast to the previous three summits, there was no reference made to hemispheric integration in the summit declaration.

From these islands positioned between Brazil and Africa it might be possible to control maritime transport and sea-lanes in the South Atlantic. Since 1982 Brazil has run an Antarctic program with a research station and sees its Antarctic policy as a way to legitimize its status as a major international player Abdenur and Neto 2014b. Thus, the geopolitics of the South Atlantic is closely linked to the geopolitics of the Antarctic, which will continue to be a contested area.

There is no prospect in the foreseeable future that Argentina will renounce its claim to sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands the Falklandsespecially if substantial oil and gas resources are found in the surrounding waters. After the Falklands War 1982the United Kingdom increased its economic stakes and its military presence on the islands. In this context, the Mount Pleasant Airbase in East Falkland is of geostrategic importance, where around 1,300 members of personnel are stationed and which is linked by an air bridge to the U.

The British government created an exclusive fishery zone and a fishing-licensing regime in the late 1980s, which altered the economic livelihood of the islanders. Moreover, it is expected that gas and oil resources will be found in the seabed around the islands, which increases the importance of these territorial possessions for the British government. The region is a major participant in the global production and reserves of copper, silver, selenium, gold, zinc, manganese, tin, boron, antimony, nickel, molybdenum, bauxite, lead, iron ore, niobium, and lithium CEPAL and UNASUR 2013.

Further, Latin America also boasts a rich biodiversity, as well as important freshwater reserves. Since the turn of the century, natural resources have again become an important geopolitical and geo-economic factor. Both Latin American politicians and scientists use the concept of geopolitics in relation to natural resources. The rising demand for minerals—especially from Asia—along with increasing prices has recently made Latin America wealthier and more independent, and it gives the region strategic leverage Bruckmann 2011.

Other governments use the earnings from natural resources for regional power projection as in the case of Venezuelan oil or as a foreign policy instrument as in the case of the Bolivian refusal to sell natural gas to Chile. Natural resources may change the economic and political weight of a country, as in the case of Bolivia which is rich in gas and lithiumor of Brazil which is becoming a net exporter of oil.

In Latin America, natural resources are both an aspect of integration including infrastructure projects and of conflict over territories where resources were expected to exist. Already in the 1990s, maritime geopolitics changed, turning away from sea-lanes and choke points to fishing resources and exploitation—which made the the geography economy and society of brazil a latin american country frontiers a major concern of South American geopolitics Kelly 1997: There is a growing consensus within UNASUR that regional cooperation is also a means of protecting natural resources from exploitation by external forces.

Thus, the South American Defense Council assigns high priority to the safeguarding of biodiversity and strategic natural resources. Conclusions Latin America in general and South America in particular are fertile areas for neoclassical geo-politics.

While geopolitical thinking no longer has the same prominence that it did during the era of military regimes in Latin America, it is still influential in the foreign and security policies of states in this region. Territorial boundaries are still important in the relationships between Latin American states.