Brazil advanced the proposal for the South American Defense Council shortly before the summit that created UNASUR. It was approved a few months later on the occasion of another summit. The Defense Council is unprecedented in the region and challenges member states to design foreign policy together. Considering the history of security and defense arrangements in the hemisphere, Brazilian leadership in security and defense matters is an interesting new move towards regionalism. Besides the Council, during the Lula da Silva administration there have also been some other attempts at governance-building in and outside the region under Brazilian leadership. Since the theme of leadership is recurrent, especially since the military rule in Brazil, is there old wine in new bottles? Why Brazil? Why now?-these are the main research questions of this work, which also analyzes institution design and functions. Both the distinction and the connection between defense and security are explored together with an examination of both leadership and regionalism in Brazilian foreign policy and its recent move towards institution-building to deal with security and defense matters multilaterally. The paper suggests that whether the Council will be more inclined to deal with issues inside or outside the region is a key factor for the prospects of its effectiveness and endurance.
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