, Volume 93, Number 3

Christoph Harig and Kai Michael Kenkel
This article illustrates how Brazil responded to the policy challenges its foreign policy activism posed for its engagement with a fundamental question of the international order: the tension between the protection of human rights and the prohibitions on intervention and the use of force. Leading the military component of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) implicated accepting the mission’s robust mandate that contradicted Brazil’s traditional foreign policy positions. Notwithstanding this apparent contradiction, the country’s diplomats also tried to shape UN debates on intervention norms, resulting inter alia in the ‘responsibility while protecting’ initiative. By analysing diplomatic efforts and military actions on the ground, we argue that since the watershed moment of becoming the most influential troop contributor to MINUSTAH, interests and actions of the armed forces increasingly contradict the efforts of Brazil’s diplomatic establishment. The influence of Brazil’s diplomacy in shaping intervention norms has proved to be rather elusive, compared with its military’s palpable role in developing robust approaches for peacekeeping mandates revolving around the protection of civilians. Yet we argue that this apparent contradiction should not be seen as inconsistency. Instead, the case of Brazil shows typical signs of the ‘graduation dilemma’, in which both diplomats and military behaved in an eminently rational fashion.

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