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Brazilian President Michel Temer SERGIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil at the Liberal Crossroads

Since the end of World War II, Latin America has maintained a lukewarm stance toward the US-dominated liberal world order, and Brazil is no exception. But at the end of the day, Brazil has much more in common with the proponents of liberal internationalism than it does with other emerging powers.

RIO DE JANEIRO – The liberal international order is under assault. The West’s 70-year-old commitment to common security, open markets, and democratization is unraveling, and the world is moving rapidly from a unipolar world order to a multipolar one. This shift will have dramatic – and potentially dangerous – consequences.

Many Latin American countries that have benefited from the liberal order, particularly Brazil, seem indifferent to its possible demise. To understand why, one must revisit the establishment of the post-1945 by the US and its European allies.

The global liberal order’s architects constructed a web of international agreements, trade arrangements, and military alliances to achieve three basic goals: promotion of open trade, prevention of catastrophic wars, and discouragement of economic nationalism by replacing a centuries-old zero-sum arrangement with a positive-sum framework under which all participating countries could prosper.

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