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  • Is Brazil’s Leadership Helping Our Security?

    Last week the Obama Administration released its National Security Strategy for 2010.  The document waxed fulsome in praise of Brazil as an “emerging center of influence.”  It welcomed “Brazil’s leadership” which promises “to move beyond dated North-South divisions to pursue progress on bilateral, hemispheric, and global issues.”

    Brazil’s decision, along with Turkey, to vote against new sanctions on Iran was certainly not the type of leadership the White House envisioned from Brazil.  For months Brazil has stood, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, in support of Iran’s right to “a peaceful” nuclear program. It brokered along with Turkey a partial nuclear fuel swap Brazil claimed demonstrated Iran’s readiness to cooperate on nuclear issues.

    That our powerful southern neighbor could have abstained to preserve a neutral distance between Washington and Tehran chose instead to thumb its nose at the U.S., Europe and the rest and side with Iran is troubling.

    Analysts in Washington are still trying to figure out what is driving Brazilian foreign policy.  Naïveté, narcissism, or a hunger for power and influence?   There is little doubt that Brazil is lending its good name to Iran’s devious diplomacy.

    The Obama Administration did not help its cause on Iran by sending an ambiguous letter to Brazil’s President Lula da Silva that gave an appearance of encouraging Brazil to proceed with the May nuclear swap deal.    On the other hand a Presidential letter does not excuse democratic Brazil’s dubious affinity for Iran, its repressive Ayatollahs, and the duplicitous Admadinejad.  This misguided affection for Iran caused the well-respected editor of Foreign Policy Moises Naim to lament that Brazil was now a “political giant but a moral pygmy.”

    The fallout from Brazil’s actions will ripple through the bilateral relationship and cause considerable angst in the White House and at Foggy Bottom. The Obama Administration will continue to don a smiley face when it speaks of relations with Brazil even as it draws the dagger from its back.  Said Secretary Clinton, “we disagreed with their [Brazil and Turkey] vote. But I can understand from a diplomatic perspective why they might be able to make a convincing case for how they voted today.”  Forgive and forget!

    It will be prudent, however, for the American people to recall June 9 and Brazil’s vote on Iran nuclear sanctions when this “rising center of influence” presents its case to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council with the highest responsibility for protecting world peace.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Is Brazil’s Leadership Helping Our Security?

    1. Frank Bennett, Vienn says:

      Celso Amorim, Brazil's foreign Minister, talked about the negotiations between Brazil, Turkey and Iran at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Title: "Brazil and the New International Order".

      He explained, why the efforts of Turkey and Brazil have been dismissed by the permanent members of the Security Council. Furthermore, he talks about his position towards sanctions and the new role of countries like Brazil and Turkey in the "New International Order".

      Here's the link:

      http://etalks.tv/blog/2010/06/21/brazil-and-the-n

    2. Rafael says:

      Walser,

      Do not pretend U.S.'s problems with Iran have anything to do with human rights issues. It doesn't. If it did, the US would have a problem in having deep ties – both commercial and diplomatic – with such "democracies" as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar – to say nothing of China. It wouldn't also have approved and given support to right-wing military regimes throughout the world – something that happened very often in Latin America, when the people in there dared to vote for a left-wing presidential candidate. And in this the US hasn't changed a bit. It supported – as former Foreign Policy Minister of Mexico Jorge Castaneda said – the 2002 military coup in Venezuela – to say nothing of the 2009 coup in Honduras.

      If you want to criticise Brazil for its support for Iran, then whatever. But don't pretend Brazil is alone, among Western powers, in overlooking a partner's poor history in human rights. The US has a poor record in this respect — and so does France. Still today France has some obscure links with African dictatorships. I wouldn't doubt the UK and Italy also have similar issues as well. If Brazil is a moral pygmy, then the more established Western powers are ants.

      Finally, the US-Iran issue has to do only with the development, by Iran, of nuclear technology and activity. It is not linked with human rights issues. I fail to say how, by advancing nuclear activity – whether with peaceful intentions or not -, Iran is violating human rights.

      The US is making this fuss about Iran because, if Iran succeeds in doing what the US fears it is trying to do, then it will be harder for the US to intervene militarily in the region – something the US is very fond of.

    3. Rafael says:

      Walser,

      Do not pretend U.S.'s problems with Iran have anything to do with human rights issues. They don't. If they did, the US would have a problem in having deep ties – both commercial and diplomatic – with such "democracies" as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar – to say nothing of China. It wouldn't also have approved and given support to right-wing military regimes throughout the world – something that happened very often in Latin America, when the people in there dared to vote for a left-wing presidential candidate. And in this the US hasn't changed a bit. It supported – as former Foreign Policy Minister of Mexico Jorge Castaneda said – the 2002 military coup in Venezuela – to say nothing of the 2009 coup in Honduras.

      If you want to criticise Brazil for its support for Iran, then whatever. But don't pretend Brazil is alone, among Western powers, in overlooking a partner's poor history in human rights. The US has a poor record in this respect — and so does, for instance, France. Still today France has some obscure links with African dictatorships. I wouldn't doubt the UK and Italy also have similar issues as well. If Brazil is a moral pygmy, then the more established Western powers are ants.

      Finally, the US-Iran issue has to do only with the development, by Iran, of nuclear technology and activity. It is not linked with human rights issues. I fail to say how, by advancing nuclear activity – whether with peaceful intentions or not -, Iran is violating human rights.

      The US is making this fuss about Iran because, if Iran succeeds in doing what the US fears it is trying to do, then it will be harder for the US to intervene militarily in the region – something the US is very fond of.

    4. Marcio, Brazil says:

      The answer for the quest is a sounding NO. On the contrary – while in his first term (2003/2006) he smartly kept exactly the same economy guidance of his winning predecessor, in the last four years Mr Lula's government broke loose and shifted to the one path he dearly came for: the left. The initial cordial faces that every government allied used to wear by the time they came to power were increasingly been substituted by those of ire, prepotent and ruling behavior typically associated with marxist konrads the world used to see by the time of Hitler. So It could not have happened differently in the international agenda. What we saw was an open and defying approach to everything a democratic diplomacy would otherwise do. From giving political asylum to a proved assassin wanted by the Scotland Yard to sanctioning every law that would weaken the pillars of Democracy to travel the world over just to talk in person with rogue dictators – he did it all. Of course that that was not a one-man agenda. It was written and executed by the very same pro-communism groups that have silently living off the government funded institutes and bodies since the end of WW II. He was just the man in charge. Worse of all: this time they are consistently building inwards in the trenches because they are applying the advices of the Italian theorist Antonio Gramsci for building the premises for the implementation of communism. And when all this will meets an illiterate people, then they are assured to unstoppably grow until either the country's finances break or a civil war erupts.

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