DOI: 10.1177/00471178231211499 ISSN: 0047-1178

Brazil’s pragmatic equidistance: hedging and the Second World War

Mateus Bilhar, Han Zhaoying, Maximilian Ohle, Richard J. Cook
  • Political Science and International Relations

Can hedging be applied to non-Asia-Pacific regions and historical contexts? And, to what extent did Brazil operationalize hedging behavior during the Second World War? Taking these questions, the purpose of this paper is to expand the discourse on hedging twofold: First, to employ it within a South American context; second, to verify hedging historically as a widespread strategic unit-level behavior of small and middle powers amid systemic-level great power competitions. Here, by unboxing Brazil’s hedging behavior during the Second World War, specifically President Getúlio Vargas’s ‘ equidistância pragmática’ (pragmatic equidistance) coping strategy, it is found that Brazil employed hedging behavior with omnidirectional engagement with both the United States and Nazi Germany, yet later abandoned this strategy to fully align with Washington and the Allies in 1942, once Brazilian security and economic interests were aligned.

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