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Southern middle powers and the liberal international order: The options for Brazil and South Africa
International Journal  (IF0.836),  Pub Date : 2021-09-15, DOI: 10.1177/00207020211042915
Charalampos Efstathopoulos

The current challenges facing the liberal international order suggest there is greater need for reassessing the roles that different categories of states may perform in support of this order. Middle powers appear as leading candidates for a supportive role to the liberal order due to their historical commitment to internationalism, coalition building with like-minded democracies and activism within multilateral institutions. Such orientation, however, is questionable for Southern middle powers that often appear ambivalent in their foreign policies, restricted in their collaboration with other democracies and selective in their multilateral initiatives. This article discusses the cases of Brazil and South Africa to examine the current options for Southern middle powers and concludes that despite certain limitations, South Africa is, overall, closer to assuming a supportive stance towards the liberal international order and its institutions.