Harnessing the Blue Helmet Enterprise : Brazil, MINUSTAH and the projection of a peacekeeping profile
MetadataShow full item record
The present study looks at the Brazilian engagement at the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and seeks to bring insight into the growing participation of an emerging power in peacekeeping. To that end, both conceptual and practical implications of normative behavior in international relations are debated and peacekeeping is seen as a barometer to assess Brazil’s global posture. Accordingly, this thesis argues how the country has projected, through MINUSTAH, a distinguished and more proactive peacekeeping profile, and analyzes to which extent this profile has shaped, challenged or endorsed existing rules and practices. Exploring both how peacekeeping becomes discursively articulated by Brazil at the United Nations and what practical meanings it acquires on the ground in Haiti, it is demonstrated that the blue-helmet enterprise offers, at the same time, platforms for Brazil to demonstrate international commitment and capacity, as well as means for the country to become activist in themes it would otherwise have little influence on. The study draws upon social constructivist insights in International Relations, placing particular emphasis on the role of norms in multilateral processes, and argues that peacekeeping is constructed, shaped and re-shaped by normative underpinnings, shared principals and perceptions of appropriate behavior at the global stage. This thesis presents the results of fieldwork conducted in Rio de Janeiro, New York and Port-au-Prince in late 2015 and early 2016, and adopts a qualitative research design where primary empirical data is combined with secondary sources and theoretical insights. It concludes that Brazil’s peacekeeping profile, while not set in stone, reflects a balancing act where the country, ambitioning to strengthen its global standing, seeks to demonstrate its belonging and adaptation to the international environment within which it acts; but also to challenge and participate more vigorously in the normative casting of the still Western-dominated realms of peace and security governance. Through the illustrative case of the Brazilian peacekeeping engagement in Haiti, this thesis attempts to contribute to the yet limited academic debate on emerging powers’ posture in collective security and conflict resolution arrangements. The study can be of interest to scholars of international relations, peace operations and Brazilian foreign policy.