In Brazil, Choosing Sides in the US-China Rivalry

5G has called into question the country’s long-standing policy of nonalignment.

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Brazil, a country that tries to avoid at nearly any cost, squarely aligning with one side in a conflict, is facing one of its most difficult balancing acts yet as it lays the regulatory and physical groundwork for 5G networks. It’s slated to hold auctions for related frequencies in the first half of the year, and Anatel, its national telecommunications agency, could deliver the terms for the auction as early as this week. As with others before it, Brazil’s preparations to adopt and integrate 5G technology force its government into the security debate over the potential risks of using Chinese companies and, consequently, call into question the scope of future security cooperation with the U.S., putting its long-standing foreign policy to the test. For Brazil, nonalignment is a product of its location in the periphery, which enables it to generally refrain from entering conflicts. It’s also a product of composition. Its size and wealth of natural resources mean it has a relatively high degree of self-sufficiency and is therefore less dependent on fixed relationships for survival. Most important are the competing demands of its large and diverse population, which applies pressure on the government from all angles. This has shaded […]

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Allison Fedirka
Allison Fedirka is the director of analysis for Geopolitical Futures. In addition to writing analyses, she helps train new analysts, oversees the intellectual quality of analyst work and helps guide the forecasting process. Prior to joining Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Fedirka worked for Stratfor as a Latin America specialist and subsequently as the Latin America regional director. She lived in South America – primarily Argentina and Brazil – for more than seven years and, in addition to English, fluently speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Ms. Fedirka has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and international studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in international relations and affairs from the University of Belgrano, Argentina. Her thesis was on Brazil and Angola and south-south cooperation.