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It seems everything in Brazil is larger than life: land mass, population, amount and variety of natural resources, even cultural traditions and music. This country boasts vast natural resources and enticing cultural traditions that draw both business and tourism alike. The country has seemingly unending potential to grow and develop; it is currently the world’s top exporter of beef, chicken, ethanol, iron ore, sugar, coffee, and orange juice and still has massive amounts of land and natural resources that remain untapped.


Most recently, the country boasted the largest offshore-oil-field find in the world since 2000, positioning it to become a potential oil and natural gas exporter capable of energy self-sufficiency in an otherwise volatile market.

With this profile, it seems natural that Brazil would be a global leader, yet the country has struggled to firmly cement itself on the list of established emerging international players. Barriers to global leadership include a long history of political volatility with only a short tenure of democratic rule coupled with unstable and often slow economic growth and high levels of poverty, inequality, and crime. Still, it is clear that Brazil is already playing a very influential role in international affairs, and it has a place among major global players if it can overcome its obstacles to growth and keep itself on a path toward stable development.

Please send us your thoughts on the changing global order and the materials offered here. All comments may be reprinted on this Web site and in related materials.

Sources: Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations, Brazilian Government Web Portal, Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Brazzil Magazine, BBC News, and others.

This page is part of Rising Powers: The New Global Reality, a project from the Stanley Foundation.


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The global order is changing. The 21st Century will be marked by many competing sources of global power. Across politics, economics, culture, military strength and more, a new group of countries have growing influence over the future of the world:



South Africa
European Union

South Korea


Other Countries

Big issues are also playing a cross-cutting role in this changing global order:


Nuclear Nonproliferation
Nonstate Actors

Global/Regional Systems

And this changing global order has implications for the United States.

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