Continuing Coverage of Brazilian Reactions


by Kenneth Maxwell

There was very interesting “op- ed” piece in “Folha de Sao Paulo” published this morning (March 8th) by Claudia Antunes, their chief foreign policy columnist.

Claudio Antunes, the chief foreign policy commentator for Brazil’s leading newspaper “Folha de Sao Paulo”  in her “op-ed” column today, says that two Americans, William Burns, under-secretary of state, and Richard Haass, president of council on foreign relations, affirmed last week during a visit to Brazil, that Brazil was now occupying a more important role in US calculations over foreign policy. They cited the fact that the Brazil was now the sixth global economy, the pre-salt (off shore petroleum discoveries), and the number of Brazilian tourists visiting the US.

They spoke of the importance of a stable hemisphere, in which Brazil has a key role, so that Washington could invest more military and diplomatic resources in Asia, where China was rising.

While she does not enter into the merits of the how the governments of Dilma (Rousseff) and Obama, intend to translate this into practical terms, she observes, that for now, this view is limited to the to theorizing by what conservatives call the liberal elite.

It is possible, she continues, that shopkeepers in Florida and New York, value the purchasing power of Brazilian visitors. But Brazil does not figure at all in the thinking of people like Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, who are competing for the republican nomination for the presidency.

Both made a career in Congress, she says, encouraged since 1990 by religious lobbies, and by war and financial industries, and countries such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, with the hysterical support of Rupert Murdoch’s “Fox News.”

In the electoral campaign it was Gingrich who used the victory of Embraer in the US Air Force competition to attack Barack Obama. The value involved is insignificant, (US$335) compared with the arms sales of Lockheed Martin (US$35.7 billion in 2010), which associated she says with the losing enterprise.

The challenge of dealing with the US, is not the White House, she concludes, it is with a political system where caricature politicians exercise an excessive influence.