Although Brazil remains a relatively small state in the Western Hemisphere it has recently developed notable international ambitions, and even challenged the US-led international order in key aspects. In this chapter, we develop the concept of dual hegemony to understand this puzzle. We propose that states firmly under the umbrella of a hegemon and insufficiently powerful to challenge a hierarchical order can develop a pretense to autonomy when true challengers like China create an alternative hierarchy. These dual hegemonies produce contradictory policies that subaltern governments have incentives to portray as a manifestation of their own agency, when in reality the bi-directional pull is largely beyond their control. These boundaries of autonomy and agency become manifest in key episodes when the subaltern state clearly tries to align fully either with hegemon or challenger, and finds it impossible to do. We illustrate this by account to three decades of Brazilian foreign policy. While the divergence from Washington during the Cardoso and Lula eras has been usually depicted as a successful quest for autonomy, we show the rise of China was the real structural condition undergirding those policies and an equally plausible explanation for five key foreign policy episodes. We then turn to another five diplomatic crises during the more recent Temer and Bolsonaro governments to show that even when Brazil wanted to bandwagon with the US, the global power transition continued to constrain its foreign policy. Dual hegemonies might be a necessary consequence of hegemonic transitions.
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Schenoni, L.L., Leiva, D. (2021). Dual Hegemony: Brazil Between the United States and China. In: Böller, F., Werner, W. (eds) Hegemonic Transition. Palgrave Studies in International Relations. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-74505-9_12
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