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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Scholars studying BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have traditionally argued that it is a development-focused partnership and not a military/security-based alliance. Yet BRICS members have been deepening their security integration, and Russia and China have been creating an alliance in the background. Although BRICS middle powers have traditionally demonstrated an aversion towards alliances, Brazil actively deepened security cooperation among BRICS members during its BRICS presidency in 2019. How does Brazil view alliances in contemporary power competition? This study examines Brazil’s perceptions by introducing and analysing a new data set of Brazilian expert discourses on alliances since 1990 and using its participation in BRICS as an empirical case. It finds that Brazil does not consider its security relationships with BRICS states to be more significant than those with non-BRICS states. However, BRICS enables Brazil to advance its specific security agenda that becomes embedded within the group’s developmental orientation. While theorising about middle powers traditionally links these powers to international organisations, their pursuit of development–security agendas in rising power groups is an important front in contemporary power competition.


This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License





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