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Über dieses Buch

This book analyses the India, Brazil, South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA), focusing on the communalities and differences in the way foreign policy is conceptualized in its member states. Utilizing 83 interviews with foreign policy makers and experts, as well as the analysis of 119 foreign-policy speeches, the author traces key shifts in official foreign policy discourse. In order to evaluate the degree of support for key IBSA Dialogue Forum concepts within national discourse, the author also examines the interplay between official and broader societal discourses on foreign policy. This analysis combines political science factors (foreign policy role conceptions) with linguistic factors, thus enabling a qualitative and quantitative comparison of different framings of foreign policy. Extensive empirical material collected during six months of field research in India, Brazil and South Africa allows the author to present a differentiated account of their alleged like-mindedness.



Chapter 1. Introduction

This chapter reviews the global context in which the IBSA Dialogue Forum was founded in 2003 and briefly outlines major debates going on in all three countries concerning the extent and content of the IBSA countries’ global engagement. This discussion leads to the basic argument of the present study: beyond the problem of ensuring common positions on specific issues, e.g. in global trade negotiations, IBSA has to grapple with the compatibility of the general strategies by which its members intend to insert themselves into a changing global order. The issue of alleged like-mindedness amongst IBSA member governments and societies emerges as a key understudied aspect of the initiative. This calls for a constructivist perspective which focusses on convergence and divergence among IBSA countries at the level of national discourses and the foreign policy role conceptions negotiated therein. The research focus of the study is defined in two main research questions: (a) How do India, Brazil and South Africa frame their role(s) in the international system, and (b) to what extent are the three framings compatible with the pursuit of the joint IBSA initiative?
Jörg Husar

Chapter 2. IBSA: Three Like-Minded States?

This chapter combines an overview of the literature with a description of IBSA’s practical setup, so as to define the analytical approach to IBSA. To this end, IBSA will first be described in three steps: (1) the declared purposes of the forum are described in operational terms; (2) theoretical accounts of IBSA are briefly presented (world systems theory, neorealism, middle power theory, institutionalism, constructivism); and (3) the main concepts underlying the stated objectives are discussed, to discern key elements of the like-mindedness that IBSA aspires to (global actorness, development, democracy). Against this background the theoretical premises of the present study are presented, spelling out a constructivist approach:
The “space of possibilities” of foreign policies is defined by dominant national discourses.
Joint action in international politics is enabled by overlapping spaces of possibilities.
The spaces of possibilities in foreign policy are the object of constant attempts at redefinition through strategic social construction.
Effective foreign policy needs civil society backing.
Jörg Husar

Chapter 3. A Comparative Approach to Foreign Policy Discourse Analysis

This chapter presents the study's approach to the systematic comparison of foreign policy discourses. This is achieved by focussing on patterns of argumentation which are dissected in two dimensions: firstly, in political science terms (foreign policy role conceptions) and, secondly in linguistic terms (argumentative frames). In this way, the system of categories presented here accounts for arguments in support of an entire spectrum of role conceptions ranging from isolation to global leadership, “measuring” not only whether a country utters a role conception, but also how this is argued for and how frequently this is done in relation to other roles present in the framing. The chapter also presents the selection criteria for official speeches and interviewees on which the main analysis (Chaps. 5 and 6) is based.
Jörg Husar

Chapter 4. Schools of Thought in Foreign Policy Discourse: The Potential for Convergence and Divergence Amongst IBSA States

Analyses of IBSA tend to take the declared South–South logic of IBSA at face value and use it as a benchmark against which to evaluate the coherence of the initiative. Chapter 4 provides a detailed review of the discursive sediment that foreign policy makers can and must build on in IBSA countries in defining their country’s role in the international system. Basis for this chapter is a review of the secondary literature on foreign policy discourses of the three countries, complemented by primary sources. The selection of material is grounded on the main analytical perspective of this study, especially the spectrum of foreign policy role conceptions as well as the main operational dimensions of IBSA. In order to connect this review with the following content analysis of official and societal discourse (Chaps. 5 and 6), the main strands of discourse are summarized in terms of ideal-typical framings:
  • India: Gandhian, Nehruvian, Hindu, and neoliberal-globalist framing
  • Brazil: developmentalist, neoliberal and neo-developmentalist framing
  • South Africa: revolutionary-internationalist, Pan-Africanist, and neoliberal framing
On this basis, this chapter aims for a first comparative look at the discursive potential of IBSA as it appears from the commonalities and contradictions among the main discourses present in its member countries.
Jörg Husar

Chapter 5. Official Framings of Foreign Policy: South–South Leadership as Starting Point of the IBSA Initiative

This chapter presents the results of the content analysis of official speeches centered on the main dimensions of IBSA: global actorness (global leadership, supporter vs. revisionist, North–South vs. South–South, regional-global nexus); development (internal development and developer frames); and democracy (notion of democracy and significance to foreign policy, the promotion of democracy). The chapter presents an analysis of the actual emphasis put on these dimensions by officials in their speeches, the shifts in emphasis between different governments (if applicable) and the trilateral coincidences and divergences that arise from these framings. The analysis shows that the main core toward which the role conceptions of the three members converge has shifted over the course of the IBSA’s existence. While the founding governments coincided in an emphasis on South–South cooperation and global revisionist frames, today the main and growing coincidence seems to exist in the concept of the three countries becoming donors of development cooperation. With regard to political practice, this would indicate that joint efforts in the first two dimensions of IBSA (multilateral coordination and South–South cooperation) lost trilateral support while the third dimension (development cooperation with third countries) has moved to centre stage.
Jörg Husar

Chapter 6. Contested Roles: Investigating Societal Framings of Foreign Policy in India, Brazil and South Africa

One of the premises of this study is that foreign policy must necessarily rely on civil society to be effective. Civil society links on their own may close gaps in official relations independently of any government intervention. Also, a strong commitment of a government to a specific role may be weakened by a significant societal counter-weight that opposes this role or is indifferent, while favouring another role. It is therefore necessary to look into framings of foreign policy present at the societal level, and to extract the main areas of dissonance and consistency with the official framings.
The analysis shows that in terms of societal discourse there are significant differences between the IBSA states in terms of the policy direction and intensity of the IBSA states’ global engagement. For example, the fading away, in official discourse at least, of the South–South frames in India and their growing salience in the case of Brazil not only constitute key shifts for IBSA’s future, they are also at the heart of important foreign policy debates beyond government. Such debates affect the degree of like-mindedness between the IBSA states, and by extension the potential for joint action.
Jörg Husar

Chapter 7. Conclusions: The Like-Mindedness of the IBSA States

This chapter provides an answer to the main research questions in identifying the main areas of convergence and divergence between the foreign policy discourses, which in turn define the shared space of possibilities for the IBSA initiative. A key result of the analysis consists in showing the discursive overlap between the founding governments of IBSA characterized by the presence of the South-South collaborator role conception combined with a relatively strong global revisionist role conception, thus providing for a discursive backdrop for the initial thrust of the IBSA initiative. As discussed further below, this overlap vanished soon after IBSA’s creation with the change of government from Prime Minister Vajpajee (BJP) to Singh (INC). This observation makes it easier to understand why the IBSA process started with an ambitious agenda but then failed to produce significant tangible results, especially in terms of coordination in multilateral fora, which would have been a context for the South-South leader/collaborator role conceptions to be put into practice. Following the increasing disengagement of Indian foreign policy discourse with South-South cooperation from 2004 onwards, the key overlap amongst IBSA countries’ foreign policy discourses has moved to the area of the pursuit of development cooperation with third countries.
Jörg Husar

Chapter 8. Outlook: IBSA and the Shadow of BRICS

The final chapter provides an outlook on IBSA’s potential as a global governance actor on the basis of trends identified in the national foreign policy discourses. The like-mindedness of the IBSA states and the future deepening of trilateral IBSA relations cannot be taken for granted. Instead, for the initiative to last and prosper, it will require all partners to work towards greater convergence of their strategies for global engagement. An assessment of IBSA’s future potential needs to take into account the evolution of the broader context, especially (1) the competition by the parallel BRICS process, (2) the changes in government that have taken place since 2010, and (3) new geopolitical tensions which may lead to a change in importance assigned to IBSA in overall foreign policies of India, Brazil and South Africa. With increasing competition by the parallel process of BRICS, IBSA will have to achieve more results in terms of actually visible contributions to multilateral processes. At the same time, new geopolitical tensions may limit BRICS’ potential as a global governance actor while creating precisely the niche IBSA needed in order to consolidate. This will only be possible if the IBSA process is made more focussed. In the key area of potential joint action (development cooperation), signs of diverging trends – Brazil under Rousseff reducing development cooperation, India under Modi stepping it up – lead to caution when it comes to expectations of greater progress.
Jörg Husar


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