Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Reflections on Brazil’s Global Rise

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on May 3, 2011

by Celso Amorim for Americas Quarterly, May 2nd, 2011.

The man who led Brazil into its new global era discusses his diplomatic vision and Brazil-U.S. relations.

This is the first article I have written since leaving the foreign ministry of Brazil. As someone who was very active in formulating foreign policy during what might be called “the Lula era” (and still without the benefit of much hindsight), it is an opportunity to begin taking stock of what has been achieved so far. The most remarkable fact about Brazilian foreign policy in recent years has been Brazil’s new and more prominent stance in the international arena. To be sure, this qualitative change, which resulted in The Economistdescribing Brazil as “a diplomatic giant,” is not solely—or even principally—due to foreign policy.

In recent years, Brazil has grown economically while keeping inflation under control, improved income distribution and, above all, strengthened its democracy. Who could have predicted after years of military dictatorship, immediately followed by the impeachment of the country’s first popularly-elected president, that Brazil’s next three heads of state would be an intellectual who fought against the dictatorship, a labor leader routinely labeled as a dangerous revolutionary, and now a woman who once was a political prisoner?

These changes have had a major impact on Brazil’s stance toward other countries and also on how other countries view Brazil. As I said in a recent interview, Brazilian foreign policy may not have created the wave, but it learned how to ride it. It should come as no surprise that international interest in Brazilian foreign policy has increased notably in recent years, culminating with the 2010 elections.

A professor interviewed by Le Monde in the period leading up to the presidential vote called the Lula administration’s diplomacy “imaginative.” Others have been less generous. Either way, it cannot be said that Brazil’s foreign policy in recent years has been ineffective or has maintained a low profile.

But to what extent and why has its foreign policy contributed to that prominence? (continue reading… )


The Soft-Power Power

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on December 3, 2010

by Susan Glasser for Foreign Policy, December 3rd, 2010.

Susan Glasser, Foreign Policy’s editor in chief, met Foreign Minister Celso Amorim in Brasilia for a wide-ranging conversation on Brazil’s role as the rest rises. Below, the edited excerpts.

Susan Glasser: What is the big idea, as far as you see it, for Brazil’s role in the world? Some people have argued that Brazil is a negotiating power, or a symbol of the emerging world order. What is your view?

Celso Amorim: I would say, of course it’s a negotiating power. But it would be very simplistic to think Brazil always looks for consensus for consensus’s sake. We also have a view of how things should be, and we tend to work in that direction. We struggle to have a world that is more democratic, that is to say, more countries are heard on the world scene — a world in which economic relations are more balanced and of course in which countries in different areas can talk to each other without prejudice. And that’s what we try to do in our foreign policy.

But of course Brazil is also a big country with a big economy, a multitude of cultures, and in a way similar to the United States — but also in some ways different because the way people got here and the way they mixed was slightly different. So, Brazil has this unique characteristic which is very useful in international negotiations: to be able to put itself in someone else’s shoes, which is essential if you are looking for a solution. (continue reading… )


Brazil Elbows U.S. on the Diplomatic Stage

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on November 25, 2009

by Alexei Barrionuevo, for The New York Times, November 22, 2009.

BRASÍLIA — Brazil’s ambitions to be a more important player on the global diplomatic stage are crashing headlong into the efforts of the United States and other Western powers to rein in Iran’s nuclear arms program.

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president, is set to receive Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, here on Monday in his first state visit to Brazil. The visit is part of a larger push by Mr. da Silva to wade into the seemingly intractable world of Middle East politics, and follows visits in the last two weeks by Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, and Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.

But the visit is drawing criticism from lawmakers and former diplomats here and in the United States, who say it could undercut Western efforts to press Iran on its nuclear program, and consequently chill Brazil’s relations with the United States and damage its growing reputation as a global power…(continue reading)