Brazilian Ambition

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The statement issued by BASIC also called on the developed nations to make good on the $30 billion pledged last year in Copenhagen to aid developing nations in “adapting” to climate change, and to transfer technology to the developing world. And they declared that intellectual property rights should not be used to block such technology transfers.

The UNFCCC talks have little to do with climate, and everything to do with reordering the economic balance of power in the world. This is also the situation in the WTO Doha Round of trade talks where the same revisionist coalition is at work. The WTO talks started in 2001 in Doha, Qatar after failing to launch in Seattle in 1999. The negotiations broke down in Cancun in 2003 and have been stalled ever since. Brazil played a leading role in producing the stalemate by rallying developing states against the agenda presented by the U.S. and EU which concentrated on opening foreign markets to more Western investment, financial services, and government procurement, as well as more “free trade” in high-end manufactured goods. These are all areas of strategic interest to developing countries who do not want to be consigned to a secondary tier of activities in low wage industries and raw material production.

Brazil demanded that the Western agenda be blocked until agricultural markets in Europe and America are opened to its exports by the ending of programs that subsidize domestic farmers. China gave Brazil strong support. At the same time, the developing bloc objected to opening its own markets on the grounds of “food security”– a subject important to many developed countries as well. The developing countries have also demanded the right to protect key industries from import competition, using the classic “infant industries” argument as well as national security concerns. But at the same time, they have demanded (again with strong Brazilian leadership) that intellectual property rights be suspended for medicines so developing countries can produce cheaper copies of Western products to replace imports.

Brazil’s diplomacy has taken even more threatening forms as it has moved into non-traditional areas like the Middle East. Brazil has formed close ties with Iran. President Lula welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brazil only a few months after Iran’s fraudulent 2009 elections, lending his credibility as a democrat to the Tehran regime. Brazil is working with Turkey as it shifts its alignment away from the West under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan’s Islam-based Justice and Development Party has won an impressive series of popular votes. In May, Brazil and Turkey crafted a nuclear deal that would have allowed Iran to ship some of its uranium abroad for enrichment. It proved an unsuccessful ploy to head off new UN sanctions on Iran, but strengthen Brazil’s position as a leader of the anti-sanctions movement.

Brazil and its BRIC partners are now targeting “unilateral” sanctions on Iran by the U.S. and its allies. The BRIC coalition has proposed a resolution to the UN General Assembly to condemn the use of unilateral (meaning non-UNSC approved) sanctions as a matter of principle. Brazil’s Foreign Minister Celso Amorim has said, “In some cases we’re even against multilateral sanctions, so for sure unilateral sanctions aren’t welcome because they’re outside the U.N. system.” Iran would be the prime beneficiary of such a resolution, but it would also help many other rogue nations.

It will be harder to get a pro-Western consensus on UNSC action in the near future. Brazil was elected to the UN Security Council last year. On Oct. 12, India and South Africa were elected without opposition for two-year terms on the UNSC. China and Russia are permanent members of the UNSC with vetoes. Thus, the entire BASIC and BRIC groups will sit on the UN’s principal policy-making body for the next year.

Nationalism is a natural and powerful political force that can provide democratic majorities for governments whose ambitions are opposed to the interests of the United States. Washington will have to get its own financial house in order, maintain its military strength, and make full use of its diplomatic leverage in a world of increasingly contentious states. Rising powers cannot always be accommodated. America must be prepared to actively defend its preeminent position in the global order.

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  • Chava

    There is no reason that for Brazil to rise, the U.S. must sink (or vice versa). The real problem is who Lula is. One clue to that is that Lula is a left wing founder of the Sao Paulo Forum – a collection of international terrorists. The dumb Brazilians elected him, and now have elected a female version of him (Dillma Rousseff). Dilma is a "former" advocate of Marxist policies.
    Sure he wants to help Iran. Sure he hates the U.S.
    Its who he is.
    So its not a matter of rising nations competing with us. Normally the prosperity of Brazil is good for us. Normally its a win-win situation.
    Its a matter of a Marxist being elected to lead a rising nation.
    Incidentally, the clueless Israelis sold their unmanned fighter drones to both Brazil and Turkey – both of which are turning out to be enemies of Israel (and the U.S.)

    • PhillipGaley

      So long as dishonesty and theft, drugs and rape, etc. are retained in stranglehold in Brazilian neighborhoods, one need not be concerned about what Brazil might do—Brazil can only suffer as the largest part of that which is, "a dagger, poised above the very heart of Antarctica"; as more and bigger locks are required in USA neighborhoods, USA is becoming of Brazil.
      And so we shall see, as a people are good, they are free and rich; when they are not good, that is their own reproach, . . .

  • Chava

    Describing the forum as a collection of international terrorists is a bit simplistic. Here is a description from Olavo de Carvalho, a Brazilian:
    "The Forum’s body of members is composed of both lawful parties, as the Brazilian Workers’ Party itself, and criminal organizations of kidnappers and drug traffickers, as the Chilean MIR (Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria) and the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). The first is responsible for an infinity of kidnappings, including those of two famous Brazilian businessmen; the latter is practically the exclusive controller of the cocaine market in Latin America nowadays. "
    (Another thing that Olavo states is that there is no conservative voice in Brazil. No Rush Limbaugh.)

  • Barry Cooper

    As I grow older, the more isolationist I get. We need free trade, but trade is not free if we are subsidizing our farmers. That should stop.

    We need to either abolish or radically restructure the IMF and World Bank, whose legacy throughout Latin America has been anti-Americanism, when the reality is that both were intended to weaken nations so that they could more easily be "colonized" by the Soviets.

    The IMF has always dictated counterproductive economic policy, in tandem with debt burdens that never disappear.

    For us, I say we fix our own economic house, keep the advantage in military technology, and let the Brazilians do whatever the hell they want.

  • MrKafirCoyote

    Bravo Chava!

    All the Best!

  • 4GH

    "Brazil is deemed as a quiet and peaceful nation that abides by the rule of law and sound capitalism. This is far from the truth. Actually, in 1990, President Lula da Silva was co-founder, together with Fidel Castro, of the huge and powerful communist organization Forum of São Paulo. The center of the subversive leftist movement in Latin America didn’t move from Havana to Caracas as a great number of political analysts say. Instead it moved to Brasilia. Caracas and Chávez are only well designed disguises to conceal the very source of all revolutionary actions in the Continent. The Forum of São Paulo was founded to “restore in Latin America what was lost in Eastern Europe”: communism, no less!"…

    …"anyone who looks attentively at Brazil’s social structure will see unfolding before one’s eyes many details, apparently detached from each other, that when unified reveal a terrible scene. From a Marxist-Leninist influenced education to statism; from attacks on Christian and moral values to invasion of all kinds of private property; from Government support of leftists NGO’s to growing corruption of the Legislative and Judiciary branches together with growing empowerment of the Executive – all converge toward a steady revolutionary trend and to a police state."

    Heitor De Paola (

  • Wesley69

    This is a key statement: "nations have inherently conflicting interests because of competition for resources and markets, insecurity due to imbalances in power and wealth, and ambitions to control their surroundings." Add nationalism into the mix and you have a world with many competing powers. A world of shifting alliances.

    While the US is still a superpower, China is on the move. It has pushed for trade and mineral rights in Africa, Canada, the MidEast, as well as South America. In the view of many nations like Brazil, US power, not China must be contained. It is only natural to see Brazil take the steps it has. Go back to the key statement. Brazil's aim as a power would be to dominate South America. Alliance with China can achieve it. What stands in Brazil's way? The US. We, however, must get our own act together economically. The longer the US waits, the more the world changes. The changes will not be in the US self interest.

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Thomas Jefferson

  • bubba4

    Don't you mean "uppity" states? Don't worry FPM, the war in Panama was about more than the canal. We needed to maintain full strike capacity into South America for the next century of war.

    Brazil is a good ally of the United States. It doesn't deserve this.