Jon Rocha

Major and Classification

International Relations

Faculty Mentor

Steve Lamy, Ph.D.


Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

McNair Project

“Middle Power Foreign Policy Orientation: A Comparative Analysis of Brazil and Sweden”

Project Abstract

Globalization has shrunk the world, creating many critical international issues that have captured the attention of states. Such issues cannot be addressed only by great powers, who with realist ideologies will pursue only their national interests in order to remain at the top. In this globalized era it has become the task of middle powers to use their specialized capabilities and niche areas of expertise to assess and champion issues of peace and stability through their foreign policy behavior. This study analyzes and compares Brazil’s domestic and foreign policy orientation to that of the “ideal” middle power, Sweden, to determine if the orientations of Eurocentric social democratic middle powers are applicable to a Latin American middle power. By constructing an index based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) as a reference point, the degree to which each state adheres to the MDGs can be observed. Millenium Development Goals are humanitarian by nature and a perfect rubric for how middle power foreign policy should be aligned. Results of the study show that Brazil and Sweden are two different types of middle powers. Both states work towards cosmopolitan values yet showcase disparities in their foreign policies. This is due to natural characteristics that are intrinsic to each state such as geography and population size. Both states are involved in similar humanitarian endeavors, yet when analyzing their respective applied policies and programs, structural discrepancies are observed.