Geopolitics in Health: Confronting Obesity, AIDS, and Tuberculosis in the Emerging Brics Economies
In recent years, political leaders in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, collectively known as the BRICS, have worked to reformulate international discussions and policies on issues ranging from fair and free trade to human rights. When it comes to health epidemics, however, the BRICS have differed greatly in terms of how-and when-they respond, highlighting important differences in their political commitment to meeting healthcare needs. In Geopolitics in Health, Eduardo J. Gomez takes a critical look at how the emerging BRICS economies dealt with the obesity, AIDS, and tuberculosis epidemics. Despite the countries having similar international political and economic ambitions, Gomez finds that domestic policy responses were driven mainly by international, as opposed to domestic, pressures and interests. Using a theoretical framework called geopolitical positioning, Gomez explores how nations respond to international pressures and policy criticisms, as well as their willingness to receive financial and technical assistance, to use domestic policy innovations, and, ultimately, to engage in global health diplomacy in order to bolster their international reputation. Gomez draws on extensive data and case studies and argues that leaders aspiring to build their reputations among elite nations have a ready way to demonstrate their status through quick and effective public health responses, whereas those who scorn the international community tend to react slowly and ineffectively to the same type of crises. The first book of its kind to conduct an in-depth comparative historical analysis of how the BRICS deal with public health threats, Geopolitics in Health demonstrates the value of positive geopolitical positioning and strong partnerships with other governments, nongovernmental organizations, and social health movements.