Is Brazil Afraid of the World?

Is Brazil Afraid of the World?

Discussing Brazilian Foreign Affairs and Challenges

By Roberto Teixeira da Costa

Have you ever thought Brazil was a country afraid of becoming more international? Written by a Brazilian expert in foreign affairs, this book describes Brazilian position in the international scenario and presents an authentic and provocative point of view on the Brazilian international relations

EPUB, 210 Pages


May 2023

£24.99, $29.95

PDF, 210 Pages


May 2023

£24.99, $29.95

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About This Book

The book offers an overview of Brazil’s internationalization process, in particular since the 1950s, accompanying the author’s professional trajectory that includes a deep involvement in business diplomacy and the expansion of international investment in Brazil and by Brazilians abroad. Stating that Brazil historically and culturally tends toward isolationism, Roberto Teixeira da Costa develops a hypothesis about what is behind this attitude. 

The book continues to focus on the economy, particularly in international trade and business diplomacy, with chapters that discuss industrialization, China and US relations with Brazil, and an excellent provocative analysis about Mercosur, enriched by the author’s direct experience in development initiatives in the American continent and in Latin America particularly. The third part that follows discusses international investment and retraces Brazil’s historical resistance to engaging in investment abroad, as well as its slow process of developing structural assurances for foreign investment. The author discusses the importance of trust in international relations, even before the institutional assurances necessary for longstanding international cooperation with Brazil. These two parts combined are the “plat de substance”, the main course offered by this book.

Roberto Teixeira da Costa tells in the introduction of the book how the writing process started in 2018 and had to be reimagined when the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. After publishing in Brazil, with the Ukrainian invasion by Russia in 2022, another chapter had to be added. The changes in the book, compared to the changes in the world, offer a stimulating parallel. Human society as we know it is being re-written.

The personal and positive attitude of this book is inspiring, reading the past with an eye for opportunities in the present. It is critical towards the lack of engagement of the elite and the political leadership in taking the lead to coordinate efforts around the development of a long-term state strategy for internationalization, but it advocates for this cause with proposals that are achievable with a public-private joint effort. As Brazilians see some of our country's major achievements over the last decades become under siege, Roberto Teixeira da Costa’s latest book engages us in a necessary conversation about the importance of building more international cooperation as a vital ingredient to reducing inequalities and promoting social development. A necessary book for a time when Brazil must leave its international isolation to reimagine its identity and role in the planet’s future.


Teixeira da Costa doesn’t blame foreign bullies for blocking Brazil. Instead, he quotes former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso: “Nothing makes Brazilians happier than isolation.” Part diagnosis, part prescription, Teixeira da Costa’s book may serve as a primer for those who wonder why a continent-size nation of 215 million is often marked down as absent during important international roll calls. For Brazilians, it poses a series of Socratic questions designed to fuel debate —Global Finance.

Is Brazil Afraid of the World could not come at a more favorable moment. After four years of Jair Bolsonaro’s government, when Brazil became almost a pariah in international affairs on account of its destructive policy in the Amazon rain forest, the country is back again to the world scene. In rapid succession, Brazil will host the G-20 summit next year and the BRICS summit. The new administration has also offered the Amazonian city of Belém as the venue for the climate negotiations of COP-30 in 2025. In the book, Roberto Teixeira da Costa has proposed a remarkable analysis of Brazil’s current challenges and prospects. He offers the authorities and the readers a realistic and feasible road map for a strategy of opening and integration of the country in the world economy with credible potential benefits for Brazilian development and for the advancement of the environmental goals of the international community.” — Rubens Ricupero, in-charge of the José Bonifácio Chair at the University of São Paulo.

 “Teixeira da Costa adeptly and succinctly analyses one of the enduring misconceptions that the world has about Brazil – its isolationist instinct despite its important role in global geopolitics. A vital reading for scholars and practitioners willing to understand contemporary Brazilian foreign policy from a historical context.” — Jacques Marcovitch, University of São Paulo.

“Drawing on his long and influential experience in the public and private sectors, Teixeira da Costa’s book reflects his insights and stresses the urgent need for Brazil to respond to the daunting challenges posed by the fast-changing new rules of global geopolitics.” — Marcos Azambuja, Former Ambassador and Board member of CEBRI.

“Roberto Texeira’s insightful book on Brazil is an essential read for understanding the challenges facing the country in the new international context. Drawing on deep research and extensive experience, Texeira provides valuable insights into the complex issues that will define Brazil’s future development and the way it should interact with the rest of the world.” — Luis Enrique Garcia, Former President CAF-Development Bank of Latin America.

“Drawing on his vast experience in Brazil and the world, Roberto Teixeira da Costa has written a timely and important book. With fresh data, he argues persuasively that Brazilians from diverse sectors need to be more deeply engaged in global affairs. His wise and well-reasoned appeal should be heeded.” — Michael Shifter, former president and senior fellow, Inter-American Dialogue, Adjunct Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

“It has always intrigued me why international trade represents such a small proportion of Brazil’s GDP and why Brazilian industry is so insular, despite both the prominence of Brazilian agriculture in the world economy, and the sophistication and international integration of the Brazilian financial system and investment community. This book goes a long way to explain the conundrum.” — Nicholas Reade, RRBA Business Advisory.

“This book combines a rather sophisticated analytical assessment with a rich and prolific field experience on Brazilian and Latin American international relations. A practitioner and a thinker, Teixeira da Costa shares his immense experience and sensible approach, offering a unique collection of findings and memoirs. A must-read, undoubtedly.” — Alberto Pfeifer, Head, Group of Analysis on International Strategy (DSI), University of São Paulo, Brazil.

 “Beyond the reasons for Brazil’s isolation discussed by Roberto, insights on the country’s potential in the world economy and a look forward are presented. A book to open the minds of entrepreneurs, executives, policy makers and managers operating and doing business in Brazil.” — Lívia Barakat, PhD, Professor of International Management at Fundacao Dom Cabral, Brazil.

Brazil's high isolation (or low internationalization) is incompatible with its size and potential. If not fear, what explains it? As a “provocative analysis, not only of Brazil's foreign policy, but of its political economy and role in the global economy”, in the words of Anthony Pereira, Is Brazil Afraid of the World by Roberto Teixeira da Costa fulfills its goal, and “anyone who believes that Brazil can and should have a more influential role in world affairs will benefit from reading it.”—O Estado de S.Paulo

Author Information

Roberto Teixeira da Costa - economist, first president of Comissão de Valores Mobiliarios (Brazilian SEC)


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Table of Contents

Introduction; Foreword; Presentation; Part 1. Diagnostics; Part 2. Why Have Fear?; Part 3. Borderless Investments; Part 4. Matter of Looking; Part 5. The Multiple Faces Of Internationalization; Part 6. In A World In Transition, How Will Geopolitics Affect Brazil?; Afterword—Post-Pandemic: What Is in Store?; The War in Ukraine and a Devastated World; Photographs; About the Author; Index


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