Brazil: Host of the 2016 Olympics. Home to a Professional Diplomatic Corps.
Ambassador of Brazil to the United States Antonio de Aguiar Patriota addressed Brazilian grand strategy and foreign policy developments at the latest Charles Francis Adams Lecture, "Brazil - USA: Bilateral, Regional And Global Dimensions,” on September 30, 2009 at the Fletcher School. The main takeaway was the newly independent character of Brazilian foreign policy, a country which, as Dean Bosworth put it, is proud to have “one of the best foreign services in the world”. He pointed to the fact that Brazil has opened dozens of new embassies, and all of its Ambassadors are professionals, not political appointees.
In comparison to other BRIC countries (Russia, India and China), Brazil is the only one that is self-sufficient in food, water, and energy, just as the U.S. was 150 years ago. It is also the only BRIC in which inequality has decreased. In the social and cultural arena, IBSA (India, Brazil, and South Africa), three large multicultural democracies, have signed a treaty that will increase these countries’ soft power in the upcoming years, as already demonstrated by Brazil’s increasing presence in summits and conferences around the world.
Ambassador Patriota expressed a positive view of the Obama administration’s openness to negotiations with countries with which it has not had a dialogue in the past, such as Trinidad and Tobago. He defined new milestones to explain the U.S.’s wisdom and dominance, which rose with the fall of the Berlin Wall and has faded since the Wall Street collapse. In view of the discussions at the recent G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, he believes that the G-8 is becoming obsolete. It is neither dead nor being replaced by the G-20, but it is on the way to becoming a club for Europe and the U.S. to discuss specific issues. He pointed out that Brazil is a top contributor in the new G-20 group.
Brazil is a vital regional player, maintaining productive relationships with its ten neighbors. Stability, democracy, and economic and social progress are the goals of the triangular diplomacy conducted by Brazil and the US with Latin American and Caribbean countries in order to develop capabilities such as biofuels production.
In response to a question about the proposed U.S. military presence in Colombia, the Ambassador recognized the U.S.’s right to conduct its own military relations with other countries, but stressed that Brazil and others in the region are requesting assurance that U.S. military operations will be restricted to within Colombia’s borders. Colin Canham III, a first-year MIB student, was disappointed by Ambassador Patriota’s response to this question, which failed to address the enormous diplomatic elephant in the room, Venezuela. Nonetheless, Canham was impressed by the fact that Brazil seems poised to take the lead on a new progressive global movement in light of its success in reducing poverty, repaying its debts, and continuing to strengthen trade/finance integration and anti-corruption. Brazil is now “almost” a creditor, has a stable currency, and was largely unaffected by the current financial crisis due to its low degree of dependence on foreign trade.
As Brazilians look forward to hosting the 2016 Olympic Games, they can take pride in a diplomatic corps that is dedicating so much effort to carrying out Brazil’s foreign policy.