Which countries hate Brazil

Brazil and Argentina

Peter Birle

To person

Dr. phil., born 1961; Political scientist, head of the research department of the Ibero-American Institute in Berlin, Potsdamer Strasse 37, 10785 Berlin. [email protected]

Argentina and Brazil failed to establish a lasting partnership until late in the 20th century. Today their competition seems to have been decided in Brazil's favor.


The bilateral relationship between Argentina and Brazil, the two largest countries in South America, has long been characterized by rivalries and conflicts. Although they have only faced each other once in a war since gaining their independence from the colonial powers Spain and Portugal, until the last third of the 20th century it was never possible to put bilateral relations on a permanent basis on a partnership basis. It was not until the late 1970s that the rivalry was gradually overcome. Both countries concluded numerous bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements and in 1997 declared each other to be strategic partners.

In the following I will trace the development of bilateral relations in five phases. The period after independence until the end of the Brazilian Empire in 1889 was characterized by a variety of conflicts and a low density of relationships. The second phase comprised the heyday of the agricultural export models until 1930 and was characterized by rivalry for supremacy in South America. The third phase up to the end of the 1970s was characterized by a change in the development strategy in both countries, growing economic interdependence and repeated approaches to stronger bilateral cooperation, which repeatedly failed due to internal political upheavals and geopolitical rivalries. The fourth phase began with the move away from bilateral perceptions of threat in the late 1970s and ended in the late 1990s. Cooperation at all levels intensified during this time, benefiting not least from the return to democracy. The fifth phase began in the late 1990s. While Brazil is increasingly combining a successful economic growth model with a regional leadership role in South America and with active involvement on a global level, Argentina experienced one of the worst crises in its recent history in 2001 and is adopting an increasingly defensive stance towards its large neighbor Brazil. The asymmetries between the two countries are growing and threaten to pay lip service to the often invoked "strategic alliance". [1]