The Foreign Policy of the Latin American Powers with Regards Caricom: The Cases of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba

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colombiaint.2018.issue-96.coverThe Caribbean Community (Caricom) is a system of subregional integration, influenced by the interests of the powers, especially the US. However, in the specific case of Latin America, which countries play a major role in this block? How are they related to Caricom? The purpose of this analysis is to review the foreign policy of the Latin American powers with regards Caricom. For the case studies, we use a geostructural methodology, which combines geographical factors with measurements of national power derived from the World Power Index (WPI). We then proceed to study their foreign policy based on their discourses and actions. We conclude that the extent to which these powers are linked to Caricom is explained, first and foremost, by governments’ political will.

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UNASUR Summits

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PPT REUNIÓN LUGAR Y FECHA DOCUMENTO PRINCIPAL
Reuniones de Presidentes de América del Sur

– o –

I Reunión de Presidentes de América del Sur Brasilia (Brasil), 31 de agosto – 1 de septiembre de 2000 Comunicado de Brasilia
II Reunión de Presidentes de América del Sur Guayaquil (Ecuador), 26-27 de julio de 2002 Consenso de Guayaquil sobre integración, seguridad e infraestructura
III Reunión de Presidentes de América del Sur Cusco (Perú), 7-9 de diciembre de 2004 Declaración de Cusco sobre la Comunidad Sudamericana de Naciones

Declaración de Ayacucho

Cumbres de la Comunidad Suramericana de Naciones
Brasil I Cumbre de la CSN Brasilia (Brasil), 29-30 de septiembre de 2005 Declaración Presidencial y Agenda Prioritaria
Reunión extraordinaria (en el marco del MERCOSUR) Montevideo (Uruguay), 9 de diciembre de 2005 Decisión sobre la creación de la Comisión Estratégica de Reflexión sobre el proceso de integración sudamericano
Bolivia II Cumbre de la CSN Cochabamba (Bolivia), 8-9 de diciembre de 2006 Declaración de Cochabamba: colocando la piedra fundamental para la Unión Sudamericana
Cumbre energética Isla Margarita (Venezuela), 16-17 de abril de 2007 Declaración de Margarita: construyendo la integración energética del Sur
Cumbres de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas
Chile

(23 de mayo de 2008 –

10 de agosto de 2009)

Reunión extraordinaria Brasilia (Brasil), 23 de mayo de 2008 Tratado Constitutivo de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas
Reunión extraordinaria Santiago (Chile), 15 de septiembre de 2008 Declaración de La Moneda (situación de Bolivia)
Reunión extraordinaria Salvador (Brasil), 16 de diciembre de 2008 Declaración del Consejo de Jefas y Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno
Reunión extraordinaria (en el marco de la V Cumbre de las Américas) Puerto España (Trinidad y Tobago), 18 de abril de 2009  
Ecuador

(10 de agosto de 2009 – 26 de noviembre de 2010)

III Cumbre ordinaria Quito (Ecuador), 10 de agosto de 2009 Declaración Presidencial de Quito
Reunión extraordinaria Bariloche (Argentina), 28 de agosto de 2009 Decisión (bases estadounidenses en Colombia)
Reunión extraordinaria Quito (Ecuador), 9 de febrero de 2010 Decisión de Quito: solidaridad de UNASUR con Haití
Reunión extraordinaria Los Cardenales (Argentina), 4 de mayo de 2010 Designación del Secretario General de la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas
Reunión extraordinaria Palacio de San Martín (Argentina), 1 de octubre de 2010 Declaración de Buenos Aires sobre la situación en Ecuador
Guyana

(26 de noviembre de 2010 – 29 de octubre de 2011)

IV Cumbre ordinaria Georgetown (Guyana), 26 de noviembre de 2010 Declaración de la IV Reunión ordinaria del CJEG
Reunión extraordinaria Mar del Plata (Argentina), 3 de diciembre de 2010 Resumen de los debates de la Cumbre Extraordinaria (al margen de la XX Cumbre Iberoamericana) https://is.gd/2T5pqY
Reunión extraordinaria 26 de julio de 2011 Breve informe sobre la Presidencia de Guyana https://is.gd/e3FBGR
Reunión extraordinaria Lima (Perú), 28 de julio de 2011 Declaración: compromiso de la UNASUR contra la desigualdad https://is.gd/HlhWHO
Paraguay

(29 de octubre de 2011 – 22 de junio 2012)

V Cumbre ordinaria Asunción (Paraguay), 29 de octubre de 2011 Declaración de la V Reunión ordinaria del CJEG
Reunión extraordinaria Caracas (Venezuela), 3 de diciembre de 2011 Declaración del CJEG https://is.gd/yqEoXq
Perú

(29 de junio de 2012 –

30 de agosto de 2013)

Reunión extraordinaria Mendoza (Argentina), 29 de junio de 2012 Decisión N° 26/2012 (sobre la situación de Paraguay) https://is.gd/MAlypg
Reunión extraordinaria Guayaquil (Ecuador), 4 de diciembre de 2014 Informe de la Secretaria General https://is.gd/ffYnHX

 

Reunión extraordinaria Quito (Ecuador), 5 de diciembre de 2014 Declaración (transferencia de la PPT) https://is.gd/d3BNHT
VI Cumbre ordinaria Lima (Perú), 30 de noviembre de 2012 Declaración https://is.gd/gI3L2W
Surinam

(30 de agosto de 2013 –

4 de diciembre de 2014)

VII Cumbre ordinaria Paramaribo (Surinam), 30 de agosto de 2013 Declaración https://is.gd/KMlY31
Uruguay

(4 de diciembre de 2014 – 23 de abril de 2016)

Reunión extraordinaria Guayaquil (Ecuador), 4 de diciembre de 2014 Informe de la Secretaria General https://is.gd/ffYnHX
Reunión extraordinaria Quito (Ecuador), 5 de diciembre de 2014 Declaración https://is.gd/d3BNHT
Venezuela

(23 de abril de 2016 –

21 de abril de 2017)

Argentina

(desde el 21 de abril de 2017)

Hierarchy of States in South America

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According to intergovernmentalism, the difference of power between states generates a hierarchy where

the dominant member tends to see himself as the guardian of the general interest, and to think of the lesser members as more parochial and selfish. The weaker partners tend in some important matters to take the senior partner’s advice as gospel, and his leadership for granted, for he has the better expertise and the broader horizon (Hoffmann, Stanley. «The european process at atlantic crosspurposes.» Journal of Common Market Studies 3, nº 2, 1964: 86).

In this sense, it is essential to know the structural position that each of the States occupies within the integration mechanism.

In the same way that the world is characterized by being one “in which there is a hierarchy of the strong and the weak; in which the mighty usually try to preserve their eminence, and the weak often want to rise”(Ibid., 86), in South America there is a hierarchy where countries with greater capacities can play a regional role; while the less favored states have limited possibilities of maneuver and are affected by the interests of the most powerful. In order to appreciate more clearly the hierarchy of power in the region, the following graph is presented with the World Power Index (WPI), from year 2000 to 2015, for the twelve States of UNASUR.

Graph.
World Power Index for countries of South America, 2000-2015

wpi UNASUR, 1990-2015

Source: (Morales Ruvalcaba 2015a, Morales Ruvalcaba 2015b)

Following the guidelines outlined in the paper “Las promesas del ascenso estructural de los países de América Latina y el Caribe, 1975–2013: logros, desencantos y frustraciones” (Morales Ruvalcaba and Rocha Valencia 2015), it is possible to identify five groups of States in South America:

  • First group: Brazil and Argentina. Brazil is a consolidated regional power (Soares de Lima and Hirst 2006, Rocha Valencia and Morales Ruvalcaba 2010), while Argentina is in the process of re-emergence as a regional power (Morales Ruvalcaba 2010).
  • Second group: Chile, Colombia and Venezuela. In the South American context, these three countries occupy a high, but secondary, structural position: Chile can be characterized as a secondary semi-peripheral state (Morales Ruvalcaba 2015b, 172-185), that is, a state structurally placed in the lower part of the semi-periphery without capacities to compete with regional powers; while Colombia and Venezuela are two subregional powers (Morales Ruvalcaba, Rocha Valencia and Durán González 2016). The three countries are fundamental partners of Brazil and Argentina in the definition, construction and governance of South America.
  • Third group: Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay. Although this group has not achieved a structural position as outstanding as the two previous ones, the three countries that comprise it have been improving substantially their national capacities in the last decade, which makes them relevant actors in the South American context. It should be noted that when they have held the pro tempore presidency of UNASUR, Ecuador (from 10 August 2009 to 26 November 2010), Peru (from 29 June 2012 to 30 August 2013) and Uruguay (from December 2014 to April 17, 2016) have provided a valuable impetus to the integration process.
  • Fourth group: Bolivia and Paraguay. These two countries are distinguished, like Bostwana, by their lower economic-military power (material capabilities), but also by their low levels of well-being (semi-material capabilities) and their reduced communicative-cultural power (immaterial capacities). In general terms, Bolivia and Paraguay are countries whose governments face difficulties in attracting public resources and using them efficiently in the creation of infrastructure, not only for their inhabitants but also to receive tourists and international travelers. In the face of lack of development, many people in these countries migrate to the central and semi-peripheral areas in search of better opportunities. All this means that their contribution to the integration process is much smaller than the previous groups.
  • Fifth group: Suriname and Guyana. In the lower part of South America’s hierarchy of power, it is possible to find two countries with very small national capacities: Suriname and Guyana. Although both have held the pro tempore presidency (Guyana from 26 November 2010 to 29 October 2011 and Suriname from 30 August 2013 to 4 December 2014), their very low levels of national power clearly limit its leadership, possibilities of maneuver and contributions to UNASUR.

From this perspective, it is precisely Brazil and Argentina that are the cornerstones of South American integration, with a notable preponderance of the former (Schenoni and Actis 2014); but also Chile, Colombia and Venezuela are decisive actors that can either drive the process or, if not, derail it (as it happens at the moment with Caracas).

Development and results of World Power Index

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Material capacities are related to the macroeconomic activity, defense and research in the State; semi-material capacities, which are intermediate and secondary, relate to the individual wealth, the overall situation of the population and the welfare of society-national; finally, the immaterial capacities that are related to tourism and cultural attractiveness of a country, its cosmopolitanism and the international scope of its media, its universities and think tanks. Measuring these capacities through MCI, SMCI IMCI and add them, is possible to obtain data that provides a multivariate and multidimensional reading of the capacities of a state: the World Power Index (WPI). WPI is understood as

the numerical expression of the relation between three composite indexes that illustrate the material, semi-material and immaterial capacities that has a nation-state to exercise its power in the international system (Morales Ruvalcaba, 2016: 259).

Applications of World Index Power

To be computed, the WPI needs the maximum and minimum values that may exist worldwide. To consider, this statistical tool allows identify the specific position of any country in the hierarchy of world power and thereby proceed to design a model of international structure in which each category of States has its own characteristics and roles.

WPI has become analysis technique with huge heuristic potential for several scholars of international relations, particularly for the members of the Research Group on World Policy, who have developed as case studies: MéxicoBrasilChina, the G7BRICSLatin Americasubregional powers and, from a broader historical perspective, political cycles of world hegemonies.

World Power Index components

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The power of a State is relative to the power of the rest of the state actors from the international system. Likewise, an index is a figure which expresses a relative relationship among a data sequence. An indicator is an absolute value, so it does not reflect a correlation with other values; instead, an index -which is constructed from a consideration of the maximum and minimum values- reaches more clearly show this relativity.

However, there is a huge disparity between the maximum and minimum values internationally. To overcome this problem, the WPI submits each of the values to a logarithm with base 10. This process allows approximate the most extreme data, but equally keeping their original values. So, the WPI is formulated on the basis of three sub-indices that relate the economic-military power, socio-institutional power and communicative-cultural power of a state.

Material Capacities Index (MCI)

Material Capacities Index (MCI) was first published in the book Potencias medias y potencias regionales en el sistema político internacional de Guerra Fría y Posguerra Fría. In an improvement of this, all the original indicators remained and Total reserves (includes gold, current US $) was added as a new indicator. The MCI is a composite index that seeks to reflect more broadly the economic and military power of states from considering six variables:

  • national production,
  • total area,
  • military expenditure,
  • spending on research and development,
  • international commerce,
  • foreign-exchange reserves.

MCI results for the rest of the world have been published for the first time in Poder, estructura y hegemonía: pautas para el estudio de la gobernanza internacional. Volumen I: Índice de Poder Mundial, work that summarizes annual results from 1975 to 2013.

Semi-Material Capacities Index (SMCI)

Semi-Material Capacities Index was also first published in the book Potencias medias y potencias regionales en el sistema político internacional de Guerra Fría y Posguerra Fría, but with the name of Intangible Capacities Index. In a review of it, its name was changed to Semi-Material Capacities Index (SMCI) because it was not intended measure communicative-cultural or immaterial power, but the dimension that corresponds to the socio-institutional power and it is theoretically placed between power material and immaterial power: “semi-material” power.

To maintain methodological congruence with the MCI, the Human Development Index (which was originally considered to weigh the semi-material capacities) was removed because it is a composite index. Instead, they were embedded one pair of simple indexes. Thus, SMCI is a composite index that seeks to refer the socio-institutional power of a State from considering six variables:

  • national production per capita,
  • population,
  • per capita consumption,
  • per capita energy consumption,
  • spending on education,
  • health spending.

SMCI results for the rest of the world are also available in Poder, estructura y hegemonía: pautas para el estudio de la gobernanza internacional. Volumen I: Índice de Poder Mundial, from 1975 to 2013.

Immaterial Capacities Index (IMCI)

Immaterial Capacities Index (IMCI) represents the first attempt to measure the communicative-cultural power or what has been expressed by others as soft power or symbolic power. IMCI is another composite index, made from six variables that are intended to reflect more broadly cultural communicative power of a State from:

  • government expenditure,
  • international tourism receipts,
  • official development assistance per capita,
  • number of telephone lines,
  • number of articles in scientific and technical journals,
  • stock of international migrants.

IMCI results for other countries are available on Poder, estructura y hegemonía: pautas para el estudio de la gobernanza internacional. Volumen I: Índice de Poder Mundial for the period 1975-2013.

World Power Index

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World Power Index (WPI) is defined as the numeric expression that expresses the Imprimiraccumulation of national capabilities that a State has to exercise its power in the international system. The WPI is resulting from the addition of 18 indicators, which are
themselves organized through three composite indexes:

  • Material Capacities Index (MCI),
  • Semi-Material Capacities Index (SMCI),
  • Immaterial Capacities Index (IMCI).

The WPI is presented as a quantitative analysis technique, seeks help to overcome the hermeneutics underlying the subjective interpretation of power in international relations. Thus, the WPI contributes to the accurate comparison of national capacities and the study of the international structure.

Background

According to Karl Höhn, “power formulas seek to measure mathematically the power resources of a given set of countries in order to make those countries comparable to one another. A power formula typically consists of quantified power indicators”. In that sense, World Power Index is just a proposal made and used by Mexican scholars to approach the study of the power of states and the analysis of the international structure.

The WPI went through two preliminary tests, which were subject to revision. The first, published in 2008 and named Structural Positioning Indicator (SPI), expressed national power as a combination of material factors (which were set as hard capacities) and intangible factors (identified as soft skills). These sets of factors were processed through a mathematical function that considered both: metric and ordinal variables. Although it proved to be a useful tool to define and explain the roles of some countries in the international system (specifically Mexico and Brazil), the SPI showed certain shortcomings: 1) if included or subtracted from the analysis any State, the “ranks” built the position of countries resulted significantly altered, and thus, all the SPI; 2) not had an exact Human Poverty Index (indispensable for measuring soft capacities) for the vast majority of states included in analysis; 3) was inoperative handle a structural positioning indicator 3639.111 for US and 0.025 for Burundi; 4) it was very difficult to obtain information for a longer time space that would show trends in the medium and long term. After this exercise, it continued rehearsing in the measurement of power. In 2011 was published the second trial as part of the book Potencias medias y potencias regionales en el sistema político internacional de Guerra Fría y Posguerra Fría. The main limitation of this second test resided in their inability to distinguish theoretically and methodologically between immaterial capacities and semi-materials capacities: the dichotomous view of hard power/soft power of Joseph Nye finally prevailed and engage the index (although not theoretical findings about the nature, characteristics and roles of the powers studied). With its diffusion, the Index was subject to various critiques and observations, which that contributed to its improvement. All this led to the third and most comprehensive test of WPI. New World Power Index, published in 2015 as part of Volume I of the work Power, Structure and Hegemony. Vol. I: World Power Index not only considers the three dimensions of national power as ontological and epistemological starting point, but also it presents first results of WPI (and their respective sub-indexes) to more than 160 countries.

WPI components

The power of a State is relative to the power of the rest of the state actors from the international system. Likewise, an index is a figure which expresses a relative relationship among a data sequence. An indicator is an absolute value, so it does not reflect a correlation with other values; instead, an index -which is constructed from a consideration of the maximum and minimum values- reaches more clearly show this relativity.

However, there is a huge disparity between the maximum and minimum values internationally. To overcome this problem, the WPI submits each of the values to a logarithm with base 10. This process allows approximate the most extreme data, but equally keeping their original values. So, the WPI is formulated on the basis of three sub-indices that relate the economic-military power (Material Capacities Index), socio-institutional power (Semi-Material Capacities Index) and communicative-cultural power (Immaterial Capacities Index) of a state.

Hierarchy of power in Latin America

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Even though it is relevant, the structural positioning of the Latin American States as a whole has been barely studied in the International Relation Academies. This is due to the interest of characterizing and understanding only the positioning of some specific States, especially the most developed ones (for example, Brazil or Mexico) on one hand; and to the secondary importance of the vast majority of the Latin-American States into the international system (regarding certain European and Asiatic powers), on the other one.

Nevertheless, at the end of the 1960’s, a remarkable work in this matter was published on the book “Relaciones internacionales, integración y desarrollo” (International relations, integration and development), by Johan Galtung, Manuel Moral y Simon Schwartzman. Meaningfully, they all contributed to study the Latin American States as a whole from

“structural variables who define the position of the countries in a system of stratification and interaction, measured by some simple indicators” (Galtung, Mora y Schwartzman 1969, 187).

In spite of both information technology and statistical limitations from their time, on their text “El sistema latinoamericano de naciones: Un análisis estructural(The Latin American Nations System: A structural analysis), the authors came to manage the data processing in order to identify the structural positioning of 20 countries.

From the fulfillment of this study by Galtung, Mora and Schwartzman, Latin American and Caribbean reality had begun to change gradually and moderately without entailing any significant structural change. Four decades after its publication, what is it yet to be evaluated from the long desired structural ascent of the States? The assumption in Las promesas del ascenso estructural de los países de América Latina is that the promises of the structural ascent for the region would have been relatively accomplished: there are not meaningful changes in regards of social-economic development (even so the widespread growth), but instead, there are political changes regarding the structural position of some States from the region.

latin-america

 

Such hypothesis mainly attempts to research the structural position reached by the States –ascent, stalemate and descent into the power rank of the States in the regional inter-State system- and, secondarily, to explore the social-economic development level reached by them.

Thus, the chief aims of the paper Las promesas del ascenso estructural de los países de América Latina  are to make a brief theoretical-methodological proposal for the measurement of the inter-State/international power, to determine the shape of the inter-State structure in Latin American and the Caribbean for the next years and finally, to identify and assess the main achievements (ascents), disenchantment (stalemates) and frustrations (setbacks) into the structural movement of the countries in the territory.

Perspectives of the Pacific Alliance regarding other regionalization processes in Latin America

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With the arrival of the Pacific Alliance on the board of Latin American integration in 2011, the balance of power in the region were altered. Since then, it is increasingly feasible the hypothesis that the Pacific Alliance is a valuable tool instrumented by its members to exercise soft balalogo_logo_alianza del pacificoncing on Mercosur, especially its regional power Brazil. This hypothesis is strengthened not only by the notorious ideological differences of the countries of each block, but also by the increasing global geopolitical dispute between the US and China: while the Pacific Alliance -with supporters Washington Consensus- represents for United States (and the G7) a mechanism for linking with Central and South America, Mercosur -with governments ideologically closer to Beijing Consensus- operates as China (and BRICS) access to the Americas. But the prospects of the Pacific Alliance facing other schemes in the region, are explained only by external factors? Is there no sovereignty in these projects? Where are the aspirations of Latin American unity? What are the prospects for the Pacific Alliance facing the Mercosur, Unasur and the Andean Community, which are undoubtedly the most important integration schemes in the region?

While many might assume that Mercosur is in crisis because to recent political tensions in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil, actually this block is now celebrating 25 years of existence with greater willingness to further consolidate and expand its integration project: the best evidence is the recent addition of Bolivia to the group (Decision No. 13/15). And, although it could be ending the cycle of leftist governments in Latin America, Mercosur has been shielded from subnational partisan changes with State policies established by its decision-making bodies. In this regard, the Consejo del Mercado Común (CMC) has devised, during its 49th Regular Meeting (Asuncion, December 2015), the need to give new impetus to negotiations with third countries and groups of countries. Of all of them, the priority group of countries for Mercosur is the Unasur.

In order to optimize resources, avoid overlapping tasks and strengthen efforts, the CMC has instructed to develop an agenda of complementation and articulation between Unasur and Mercosur (Decision No. 32/14): if Bolivia has joined the Mercosur and Ecuador hosts the offices of Unasur, everything indicates that these two mercosur-APmechanisms of regionalization will end not only complementing but merging. However what will happen to Chile, Peru and Colombia which are important partners of Unasur, but not aspire to become full members of Mercosur? For them becomes strategic Andean Community.

The Andean Community was founded in 1969 -precisely by Chile, Peru, Colombia along with Bolivia- in order to establish favorable conditions for the participation of its members in the regional macro-project of the Asociación Latinoamericana de Libre Comercio. After After the departure of Chile in 1976 and the serious economic difficulties experienced during the 80’s, the Andean Community was relaunched. Although the Protocolo de Trujillo of 1996 gave new hope to the Andean integration, recent years have been disappointing for the group due to the departure of Venezuela from the Andean Community in 2006 and the because the remaining four partners have been very distant in political-ideological terms.

When so little impact on international relations and cost around US$ 5,500 million per year, many question the validity of the Andean Community and propose its extinction. What to do with this organization? One possibility would disarticulate, a fact that should only be formalized because, in practical terms, Ecuador and Bolivia have approached the Mercosur, while Peru and Colombia are driven the Pacific Alliance. However, just as it is seeking the convergence Mercosur-Unasur, the Pacific Alliance could rescue all human capital, infrastructure and expertise of the Andean Community, because: 1) organizational framework of the Andean Community is much more complex than the currently existing in the Pacific Alliance, so that the latter would not have to regress institutionally but could assist in their progress; 2) Lima and Bogota are hosting two important organs of the Andean Community (Secretariat and Parliament, respectively), whose infrastructure could be reused for the work of the Pacific Alliance; 3) contributions from Colombia and Peru are the largest of the Andean Community (each contributes US$ 2,200 million per year),  reason for which these two countries are those with the greatest power to decide on the future of the Andean group. Certainly the integration model followed by the Pacific Alliance is a simple-intergovernmental type, but if it really aspires to a “deep integration” must equip itself with greater administrative infrastructure and a more robust institutions.

Finally, it is plausible that the Andean Community (Bolivia and Ecuador even without) finished contributing to the Pacific Alliance, but this does not stoke competition with Mercosur? Perhaps in the short term. However, in the future it will be technically easier to converge to two schemes in a broader one, Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (CELAC). If realized this way, CELAC would provide two geopolitical façades: an Atlantic-African (Mercosur) and other Asian-Pacific (Pacific Alliance). If so, the Pacific Alliance would fulfill its goal of “becoming a platform of political articulation, economic and trade integration, and projection into the world, with emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region” and, at the same time, would contribute immeasurably  to the Latin American unity.

India, the innovator of BRICS

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The last February, India assumed the chairmanship of the BRICS which will stand to the next December. Until now, it was difficult to typify the India’s role in the BRICS Forum which brings together the new protagonists of the International Political System: it’s clear that China is the economic motor of group, Russia operates as the political and geopolitical mastermind, Brazil is the attractive and “savory” face of BRICS, and South Africa imply the Forum link and engagement with the less developed countries in the world (not selfless commitment, by the way). But, what does represent India? What is the India’s contribution to the BRICS?

Shashi Tharoor, former Minister of State for External Affairs of India, presume that it’s country has gone

“from the image of India as land of fakirs lying on beds of nails, and snake charmers with the Indian rope trick, to the image of India as a land of mathematical geniuses, computer wizards, software gurus” (Why nations should pursue soft power).

Certainly, the engineering is one of fastest growing sector in India, a fact that is changing its economy and society. But the innovation Indian spirit is not reduced to technology and software sector but it seems to be permeating politics, at least foreign policy.

The understanding that “BRICS acts as a vital pillar for this world full of political challenges” (Narendra Modi), India has come promoting innovators institutional schemes of dialog of cooperation for next Summit to be held in Pangim (October 2016).summit2016

During its chairmanship, India has adopted and will foster a five-pronged approach for intra-BRICS cooperation:

  1. Institution building to further deepen, sustain and institutionalise BRICS cooperation;
  2. Implementation of the decisions from previous Summits;
  3. Integrating the existing cooperation mechanisms;
  4. (iv) Innovation, i.e., new cooperation mechanisms on government-to-government, Track-II, business-to-business and people-to-people to tap the full potential of BRICS cooperation; and
  5. Continuity, i.e., continuation of mutually agreed existing BRICS cooperation mechanisms.

Source: 8th BRICS Summit

India has named that approach “I4C” and, precisely, that’s the key for the continuity in this so unfavorable context for its partners: institutionalize, implement, integrate and innovate are the mechanisms whereby BRICS will reach a bright future.

Although until now it was not clear its role, there is no doubt that India begins to emerge and show itself as the institutional innovator of BRICS Forum.

Botswana, the african miracle

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Despite its unfavorable structural position according, minor peripheral States have the chance to move up structurally. Among them, the case shown as paradigmatic is Botswana.

bot1

Even when it was considered during the decade of the 60’s one of the poorest countries in the world, since independence -recognized by the United Kingdom in mid-1964- Botswana was able to quickly establish itself as a democratic nation, it stands out today as the only African country to have suffered a coup. The role of the Botswana Democratic Party is essential to understand the modest but quick development of this country, because the 4 presidents who have led this nation (since 1966 to date) emerged from their ranks and they all took the mining rent to abate poverty through important social programs, but without neglecting macroeconomic stability. All this has contributed to Botswana’s economy grew at a rate of 7.61% per annum between 1976 and 2012, why some have considered the “African miracle”.

In this regard, Jürgen Schuldt finds success Botswana lies

“in the capacity that had the country’s leaders in managing its mineral wealth and their gifts to negotiate with transnational corporations, of which many countries of the ‘Third World’ they can only dream of. Indeed, unlike the vast majority of mine-exporting economies, the property is almost entirely in state hands, without major conflicts have been given with the private sector. The fantastic profits from the diamond industry have been investing in social and economic infrastructure and to accumulate foreign exchange”(Schuldt, Jürgen. «¿Podemos aprender algo de Botsuana, el milagro africano?» La Insignia. April 2006).

The gradual improvement of social welfare in Botswana can be seen more clearly through the sub-indices that conform the World Power Index: as seen in the chart below, the main strength of Botswana lies in its semi-material capacities (SMCI). However, it is worrying stagnation of its material capacities (since 1991) and the reduction of its immaterial capacities in the last years.

BOTSWANA

What are the options for Botswana remains as the African miracle in the next decade? By sharing a border of 1,840 kilometers with a regional power and a BRICS partner such as South Africa, Botswana must seek to maintain a close and collaborative relationship with its southern neighbor, which would reduce stress by increasing their material capacities. Achieved this, the party leadership Botswana Democratic Party should strive to maintain strong social investment that has been promoting (SMCI) but at the same time bet on the development of Botswana’s soft power through its immaterial capacities.