CNAS is ramping up a fascinating project on the global swing states. Last week, my colleagues Richard Fontaine and Dan Kliman published an op-ed in World Politics Review about how important these states are likely to be in the future given that they could impede or promote efforts to coordinate international action. But what exactly are these “swing states?” According to Fontaine and Kliman, they are rising democratic powers “that are ambivalent about the prevailing international order and have yet to decided whether to bolster it, replace it or bypass it altogether.” These states include Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey. “Without them, efforts to extend the rules-based international order -- and to manage global challenges through groupings like the G-20 -- are likely to falter.”
Given the role and influence these states will have in shaping the geopolitical environment, it is probably important to track some of the trends around these emerging powers, including the policies they choose in order to acquire natural resources that will support their political and economic growth. On Saturday, The New York Times had an interesting report on Brazil, its growing influence across Latin America and the implications for regional stability with respect to its pursuit for natural resources.
Brazil is flexing its political and economic prowess throughout South America. Yet its newfound role is being met with resistance by other states worried about exploitation. “A proposal to build a road through Guyana’s jungles to its coast has stalled because of fears that Brazil could overwhelm its small neighbor with migration and trade,” according to The New York Times. “In Argentina, officials suspended a large project by a Brazilian mining company, accusing it of failing to hire enough locals. Tension in Ecuador over a hydroelectric plant led to bitter legal battle, and protests by Asháninka Indians in Peru’s Amazon have put in doubt a Brazilian dam project.”