There are a number of ways to run a legitimate election. But the U.S. has learned in recent years, and Brazil learned in recent weeks, that it’s not always simple.
There are technical mechanics and processes of how votes are cast, collected and counted. But those are ultimately less important than the agreement – among opposing parties, and across a society – to abide by the results of those processes.
In 2020, President Donald Trump alleged, without evidence, that election fraud in several states had caused him to lose. A number of audits in various states found no evidence that irregularities in voting or vote counting processes had any effect on the outcome of balloting in those states.
On Jan. 8, 2023, after Lula had been in office for a week, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters, including right-wing militants, attacked key government buildings, including the building that houses the national Congress.
Since the pandemic started, one in 10 people living in Brazil has contracted COVID-19, and more than 600,000 deaths have been reported. Despite these staggering numbers, Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, has consistently downplayed the threat of the pandemic. The Brazilian Senate has had enough.
On October 26, seven out of the 11 members in a Senate committee voted in favor of recommending nine charges against the Brazilian president. Over the last six months, a Brazilian Senate Parliamentary Inquiry Committee composed of 11 Senators investigated the federal government’s management of the pandemic.
Brazil is China’s most important economic and political partner in South America, as well as a key participant in the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) grouping of emerging powers that China increasingly leads. When it comes to global aspirations, China and Brazil have historically been in sync on their critiques of the liberal international order, if not on their preferred remedies. Historically, their prescriptions for foreign policy differ in important ways. China would prefer a world order that better accommodates its interests, and it is becoming less reluctant to use the threat of force in foreign policy to maintain its ascendancy in its geopolitical neighborhood. Brazil traditionally has preferred a rules-bound liberal international order that applies to everyone, especially superpowers. Unlike China, it foreswears the use of coercion in international affairs, even to protect its interests in its immediate neighborhood, South America.
During the periods when it sought international autonomy, Brazil has found in China an attractive partner in criticizing the liberal international order fostered by the United States in the wake of World War II.
Abstract: State interventions against drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) sometimes work to improve security, but often exacerbate violence. To understand why, this paper offers a theory about different social order dynamics among five types of criminal regimes – Insurgent, Bandit, Symbiotic, Predatory, and Anarchic. These differ according to whether criminal groups confront or collude with state actors; predate or cooperate with the community; and hold a monopoly or contest territory with rival DTOs. Police interventions in these criminal orders pose different challenges and are associated with markedly different local security outcomes. Evidence for the theory is provided by the use a multi-method research design combining quasiexperimental statistical analyses, extensive qualitative research and a large N survey in the context of Rio de Janeiro’s “Pacifying Police Units” (UPPs), which sought to reclaim control of the slums from organized criminal groups.
Bio: Beatriz Magaloni is a Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University. She is also an affiliated faculty at the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development.
Her research focuses on the political economy of development. Beatriz’s work falls into four themes: the study of authoritarian regimes; distributive politics; “traditional” forms of governance and how these compare to “modern” democratic institutions; and drug-trafficking violence and citizen security. Much of my research has been on Latin America.
Beatriz is the founding director of the Poverty, Violence + Governance Lab, a place for action–oriented research that establishes partnerships with government agencies, police departments, and civil society organizations to conduct research that aims to generate knowledge as to what works and doesn’t to control violence, improve the functioning and accountability of security institutions, restrain human rights abuses, and increase opportunities for at-risk youth. The Lab engages researchers and students — undergraduates, M.A. and Ph.D. candidates — from the fields of political science, education, economics, international policy studies, and engineering.
She is the author of Voting for Autocracy (2006, Cambridge University Press –winner of the Leon D. Epstein Outstanding Book Award for the best book written in the previous two years on parties and elections and the Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association’s Comparative Democratization Section). Beatriz is also the author of The Political Logic of Poverty Relief: Electoral Strategies and Social Policy in Mexico(2016, Cambridge University Press, co-authored with Alberto Diaz-Cayeros and Federico Estévez).
Beatriz’s articles have appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, World Development, Comparative Political Studies, Annual Review of Political Science, Latin American Research Review, International Journal of Educational Development, Latin American Politics and Society, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Journal of Theoretical Politics, and Política y Gobierno.
Beatriz received her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University. She also holds a Law Degree from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).
Abstract: In the fifty years following World War II, Argentina and Brazil constructed advanced nuclear energy programs that far outpaced those of other countries in Latin America. However, their more memorable and lasting contribution to nuclear energy history may well be diplomatic, rather than technical. Beginning in 1974 with an Argentine delegation’s tour of carefully selected Brazilian nuclear facilities, and vice versa, the two countries – under military rule and in a centuries-long competition for regional influence and dominance – began a rapprochement around nuclear energy as gradual as it was unlikely. A watershed presidential summit in 1980 pledged the neighbors to cooperation in specific areas of nuclear energy. It took until 1991, however, for a growing system of informal inspections to coalesce into the world’s only bilateral nuclear safeguards organization, known as ABACC. This talk will focus primarily on the contributions of the scientific and technical communities, and their close work with the two foreign ministries, within this delicate seventeen-year process.
Speaker bio: Chris Dunlap is a Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at CISAC. His research is funded by the MacArthur Foundation. His book project, developed from his dissertation, focuses on the fundamental role of nuclear energy technology and diplomacy in shaping modern Brazil and Argentina and their bilateral relationship. The paths taken to develop nuclear energy in the South American neighbor countries also illustrate the impact that these nations and their key actors, often left out of global energy history, made upon the physical, legal, and diplomatic structures of the Atomic Age. By 1995, both nations had ceased early-stage efforts toward a nuclear explosion, accepted full safeguards and international verification of all fuel cycle activities, and transformed the "imported magic" of nuclear technology into their own. How this happened, and why, is the history at the heart of the parallel power play that defined Brazil and Argentina's engagement with Atomic Age diplomacy and technology.
Chris received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago in 2017, and also holds a B.A. in history with high distinction, B.S. in biochemistry, and M.A. in history from the University of Virginia.
CISAC Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow
Abstract: What do emerging powers want from the international order? Are their intentions generally benign or potentially harmful to global order? What capabilities do emerging powers use to influence the international order and how? This book, Aspirational Power, examines these questions through the lens of Brazil’s historical and contemporary experience as an emerging power. Brazil has long aspired to grandeza (greatness) and to emerge to take its place among the major powers that influence and shape the international order. By history and by design, Brazil emphasizes soft power in its pursuit of a more democratic international order based on sovereign equality among nations. This book examines the domestic sources of Brazil’s international influence and how it attempts to use its particular set of capabilities to influence global order. It demonstrates how the weakness of Brazil’s domestic institutions and periodic internal crises repeatedly undermine its pursuit of major power status. The book concludes by examining how Brazil might take better advantage of existing opportunities in the international order to enhance its influence and how deepening ties to democratic emerging powers such as India and South Africa might better advance its global interests.
About the Speaker: Harold Trinkunas joins the Center as the successor to Lynn Eden in the concomitant role of Senior Research Scholar and Associate Director for Research. Harold comes to CISAC from the Brookings Institution, where he was the Charles W. Robinson Chair and Senior Fellow as well as Director of the Latin America Initiative. Previously, he served as Chair of the National Security Affairs Department at the Naval Postgraduate School, where he was also an Associate Professor. One of the nation's leading Latin America specialists, Harold's work has examined civil-military relations, ungoverned spaces, terrorist financing, emerging power dynamics, and global governance. His newest book, Aspirational Power: Brazil's Long Road to Global Influence, co-authored with David Mares of UCSD, was published this summer by Brookings Institution Press.
Harold brings to the Associate Director for Research role extensive experience in academic administration, program development, mentoring, teaching, and policy analysis. His leadership will continue to advance the Center's mission of training the next generation of international security specialists; developing original policy-relevant scholarship; and extending our outreach to global policymakers to improve the peace and security of our world.
Born and raised in Venezuela, Harold earned his doctorate in political science from Stanford University in 1999 and has been a predoctoral fellow and later a visiting professor at CISAC.
Harold Trinkunas is the Deputy Director and a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Prior to arriving at Stanford, Dr. Trinkunas served as the Charles W. Robinson Chair and senior fellow and director of the Latin America Initiative in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. His research focuses on issues related to foreign policy, governance, and security, particularly in Latin America. Trinkunas has written on emerging powers and the international order, ungoverned spaces, terrorism financing, borders, and information operations.
Trinkunas has co-authored Militants, Criminals and Warlords: The Challenge of Local Governance in an Age of Disorder (Brookings Institution Press, 2017), Aspirational Power: Brazil’s Long Road to Global Influence (Brookings Institution Press, 2016) and authored Crafting Civilian Control of the Military in Venezuela (University of North Carolina Press, 2005). He co-edited and contributed to Oxford Handbook of Peaceful Change in International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2021), Three Tweets to Midnight: The Effect of the Global Information Ecosystem on the Risk of Nuclear Conflict (Hoover Institution Press, 2020), American Crossings: Border Politics in the Western Hemisphere (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), Ungoverned Spaces: Alternatives to State Authority in an Era of Softened Sovereignty (Stanford University Press, 2010), Global Politics of Defense Reform (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), and Terrorism Financing and State Responses (Stanford University Press, 2007).
Dr. Trinkunas also previously served as an associate professor and chair of the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He received his doctorate in political science from Stanford University in 1999. He was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
Aspirational Power examines Brazil as an emerging power. It explains Brazil’s present emphasis on using soft power through a historical analysis of Brazil’s three past attempts to achieve major power status. Though these efforts have fallen short, this book suggests that Brazil will continue to try to emerge, but that it will only succeed when its domestic institutions provide a solid and attractive foundation for the deployment of its soft power abroad. Aspirational Power concludes with concrete recommendations for how Brazil might improve its strategy, and why the great powers, including the United States, should respond positively to Brazil’s emergence.
The heavy presence of youth and young adults in the world of criminality is an issue that has been gaining increasingly more attention in the agendas of policymakers and politicians in developing and developed nations. With scarce options for a quality education, prospects for gainful employment and the possibility for future economic sustainability, on a daily basis, young individuals from poor communities throughout Latin American and U.S. cities are exposed to a violent environment with easily accessed - and often attractive - gateways into the world of criminality. From casual affiliation to gangs in schools and neighborhoods in Southern California, to full-time armed participation in international drug cartels in Juarez and drug factions in Rio de Janeiro favelas, youth are the biggest target – and victims – of violence.
In attempts to shed light to this very complex and fundamental issue that is claiming thousand of lives every year and deteriorating the social fabric across cities, the Program on Poverty and Governance (PovGov) at Stanford Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) in conjunction with the Center for Latin American Studies, The Bill Lane Center for the America West, The Mexico Initiative at FSI, and The Center on International Security and Cooperation, will hold a two-day conference to discuss the dimensions of youth and criminal violence in Latin American and U.S. cities and share pathways to hope.
Ranging from grassroots initiatives to widespread government policies, the conference will develop on various established development actions and programs aimed at providing educational, work, and entrepreneurial opportunities for youth in territories impacted by poverty, criminality and violence in the U.S. and Latin America. We will gather activists and practitioners from grassroots civil society organizations, community leaders, educators, professionals from international development platforms, policy-makers, politicians, scholars - as well as some of the very individuals participating in these programs - to discuss the many challenges faced by the youth population in these different locations and to share innovative and inspirational initiatives to generate opportunities and foster change.
At PovGov, we believe in the importance of creating an environment where actors with different backgrounds across sectors, disciplines, realities and environments can come together to share their first-hand experiences, challenges and aspirations. We hope this wide-reaching and multiplayer conference can enrich the discussion around the formulation of policies and development strategies to benefit the youth in places of violence and better inform the work moving forward.
The terror attacks of Winter 2013 that swept across the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil were orchestrated by newly ascendant prison gangs to protest the abuse of inmates by prison guards. Benjamin Lessing, a CDDRL and CISAC post-doctoral fellow, argues that mass arrests should not be the strategy adopted.
The favelas of Rio de Janeiro are some of the most dangerous places in the world. Havens for drug lords and their booming narcotics businesses, the urban slums that are home to 20 percent of the city’s population are notorious for soaring murder rates and a dearth of public services. Police often have little or no presence in most of Rio’s 800 favelas. And when they do, their conflicts with criminals frequently result in the killing of bystanders.
Brazilian officials have tried to bring order to the favelas with a set of policies and initiatives launched in 2008. A so-called pacification program has trained special teams of police to take a more targeted approach to fighting crime. The program has increased stability and reduced violence in about 30 favelas.
But Stanford researchers have found a hitch: When criminals are put out of business in one favela, they relocate to another. And that can lead to an increase in violence in the non-pacified slums.
“The cost of violence is disproportionately felt by the poor,” said Beatriz Magaloni, an associate professor of political science and senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. “Where there is violence, there is no investment. We are working with the government and the police and the community on ways to make these places safer and reduce that poverty by improving the quality of the police and devising ways to reduce the level of lethality they tend to use.”
To support the research she’s doing and the relationships she’s building in Brazil, Magaloni is working with FSI’s International Policy Implementation Lab, a new initiative that will bolster impact-oriented international research, problem-based teaching and long-term engagement with urgent policy implementation problems around the world.
Collaborating with a team of Stanford students, Magaloni is working with community groups, police organizations, government officials and other scholars to study existing policies and training procedures that could broaden the pacification program and make it more effective. The relationships have paid off with access to high-level government data, exclusive research findings and a pipeline between academics and policymakers that can improve living conditions for some of Rio’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
Her project is an example of the work being supported by the International Policy Implementation Lab, which recently awarded Magaloni’s project and those led by five other researchers a total of $210,000.
The lab, which is being supported in part by an initial $2 million gift from two anonymous donors, will grant another round of funding later this fiscal year to support projects led by Stanford faculty.
Recognizing that many Stanford scholars are engaged in international policy analysis, the Implementation Lab will help researchers who want to better understand policy implementation – a process often stymied by bureaucracy, politicking and budget constraints, but also often reflecting deliberation and experimentation by people across different countries, organizations, and cultures.
“The Implementation Lab will help us better understand health, security, poverty and governance challenges in an evolving world,” said FSI Director Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar. “It will serve as a resource to foster communication across projects, so we can learn more about how implementation plays out in different settings and regions. Through the Implementation Lab, we can better engage faculty and students in understanding how policymakers and organizations change longstanding practices and actually execute policy.”
The Implementation Lab will support long-term projects grounded in policy-oriented research on a specific international topic. The projects must strive to connect scholarly research to interdisciplinary teaching, and will often involve long-term engagement with particular problems or international settings to better understand and inform the implementation of policy.
The first round of funding from the Implementation Lab will help shore up projects aimed at bolstering rural education in China, improving health care in India, curbing violence in Mexico and Brazil, and training government officials and business leaders in developing countries to improve economic growth and development.
And it will support a project led by political scientist Scott Sagan that uses online polling to better gauge the public’s tolerance for the use of nuclear weapons under certain scenarios – work that will lead to the collection of data that can inform how government officials craft military and diplomatic strategy.
“I can imagine two big benefits of the Implementation Lab,” said Sagan, a senior fellow at FSI and the institute’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.
“It will help pay for specific tasks that are sometimes not adequately funded elsewhere, especially in terms of student involvement,” he said. “And it will create a greater focus on policy implementation work that allows us to present our research results and see whether those results will have an impact on change.”
To encourage and support these ventures, the Implementation Lab will provide targeted funding, space for research projects and teaching, and a variety of support functions, including connections to on-campus resources that can assist with data visualization, locating interested students, and other tasks. Those activities will be phased in during the next year based on the advice and feedback of faculty and others who are early participants.
The Implementation Lab is poised to be different from – but complementary to – other Stanford initiatives like the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. FSI’s Implementation Lab is specifically focused on supporting long-term relationships and engaging students and faculty in the study of policy implementation in different national, organizational, and cultural settings.
FSI Senior Fellow Grant Miller is working on improving health care in India.
“The Stanford International Policy Lab is creating an exciting new community that will catapult our ability to have meaningful and sustained policy engagement and impact through common learning and sharing of experiences with like-minded scholars from all corners of campus,” said Grant Miller, an associate professor of medicine and FSI senior fellow whose project on improving health care in India is being supported by the Implementation Lab.
Ann Arvin, Stanford’s vice provost and dean of research, said the International Policy Implementation Lab will help and encourage faculty to make their scholarship more relevant to pressing problems.
Demands for specialized resources, narrowly focused engagement of students, the ability to consider a long-term horizon, and an understanding of the often opaque processes of policy formulation and implementation pose considerable challenges for researchers seeking to enhance the potential of their policy-oriented research to achieve real impact.
“The International Policy Implementation Lab will help our faculty and students address these obstacles,” Arvin said. “We anticipate that this novel program will bring together Stanford scholars who seek solutions to different policy-related problems at various places around the world, but whose work is linked by the underlying similarities of these challenges. The Implementation Lab will give them the opportunity to learn from each other and share ideas and experiences about what succeeds and what is likely to fail when it comes to putting policy into practice.”
“The mistake that researchers often make is that they work in isolation,” said Luby, whose work on reducing pollution caused by the brick making industry in Bangladesh is being supported by the Implementation Lab. “Then they think they’re ready to engage in the implementation process, and realize they haven’t engaged with all the stakeholders. Policy implementation is an iterative process. You need feedback from all the right people along the way.”
Luby, a professor of medicine and senior fellow at FSI and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, is working with brick makers and suppliers, as well as anthropologists and government regulators, to identify better ways to curb the pollution created by the coal-burning kilns throughout Bangladesh.
“Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among kids in Bangladesh,” Luby said. “And the brick kiln pollution is largely responsible for that. They’re using a 150-year-old technology to bake bricks, and there are better, cleaner ways to do it.”
But swapping coal-burning kilns for ones that are fired with cleaner natural gas is expensive, and there is little incentive for brick makers to change.
The government has passed regulations aimed at reducing pollution, but corruption, toothless laws and poor enforcement continue to undermine those policies.
"The country is caught in an equilibrium where people are getting cheap bricks but at a high cost to health and the environment,” Luby said. “We need to disrupt that equilibrium, and I look to the Implementation Lab to help us think this through. There’s a community of scholars who want to transform their work into implementation, and the lab will help convene them."