The foreign policy of Brazil towards her South American neighbours during the Geisel and Figueiredo administrations
During the Administrations of Presidents Geisel (March 1974-March 1979) and Figueiredo (March 1979-March 1985) South America became a top priority area for Brazilian foreign policy. Brazil's diplomatic, economic and especially commercial relations with her neighbours acquired an intensity and depth never seen before. However, despite growing interest in the study of Brazil's external relations, no systematic effort has been undertaken to explain this central aspect of her foreign policy and its effects on inter-state relations in South America. This thesis purports to account for the changes explaining Brazil's increasing interest in the region, the economic and political objectives she pursued in South America during the last decade and the main features of her regional policy - mainly its cooperative character and its emphasis on maximising her economic gains. The difficulties Brazil encountered in attaining her aims and the achievements with which her efforts were rewarded also constitute an aim of this work. In the course of the last decade Brazil increased her economic and commercial influence in the buffer states of the River Plate basin, transformed her conflictive relation with Argentina into one of cooperation and understanding and created an atmosphere favourable to the development of greater cooperation with her Amazonian neighbours. In doing so Brazil managed simultaneously to maximise her economic gains, further her regional influence and reduce her neighbours' apprehension towards her own internal expansion and the rapid development of her national power. Brazil's foreign policy in South America not only contributed to reduce her geographic, economic and political isolation from her neighbours but by favouring bilateral cooperation with them consolidated for herself a peaceful strategic environment in South America. The efforts of the last decade have paved the way for future cooperation with her South American counterparts in those areas in which she wishes to do so, while keeping her freedom of action to expand her economic and political relations to other areas of the world. Furthermore, they have allowed her to bring her degree of regional influence more in line with her relative advantages vis-á-vis her South American neighbours without making them feel threatened by such developments.