Brazilian foreign policy and south america

Brazilian Foreign Policy and South America

“The time for Brazilian diplomacy to go back to prioritizing its regional surroundings.” This is the name of one timely paper published by CEBRI (Brazilian Center for International Relations) and signed by the notorious experts Hussein Kalout, Feliciano Guimarães, and Fernanda Cimini.

This document shows that Brazil has no territorial conflicts with its neighbors. Thanks mainly to Barão do Rio Branco, a skilled Foreign Affairs Minister in the Republic’s first years, our country is a good case for studying how to solve territorial conflicts by negotiation and arbitration. It is not an easy challenge as Europe has been showing.

According to this paper Brazilian diplomacy “is recognized for its non-expansionist tradition, for its preference for international law, for multilateralism and for the peaceful settlement of disputes”.

Throughout the years, Brazil has dealt with neighbors with different degrees of cooperation. There has always been a reasonable pattern in these relationships. But lately, Brazil has acted based on ideological bias and abandoned any will to exercise its historical leadership in South America. Presidential diplomacy shows contempt or even hostility toward other South American countries.

However, the authors warn: “No country in the world can be relevant globally if it is not relevant in its regional environment.”

Cebri’s expert points out that nowadays Brazil leaves “a power vacuum in the region and promotes an enormous retraction of the South American integration process.”

This paper proclaims Mercosur must go beyond the commercial plan. Mercosur faces hard times, as there are many challenges: contradictions related to the historical relationship with the United States of America, the presence of former European settlers, the emergence of China, and the uncertainties of international relations. According to this paper, Brazil needs to reassess Mercosur’s priorities and boost new commercial deals. At the same time, it is necessary to know that the relationship between Brazil and other South American countries goes beyond the Mercosur. So we need “an open and non-self-centered regionalism to Mercosur’s practice.”

“The choice for Brazil is not binary between China and the USA.” Brazil should recover its traditional dialog and retake its leadership among its neighbors with “awareness of Brazil’s strategic objectives” and “the understanding of the dynamics of the international order and of the complexity of the several arenas and their interdependencies.” Another challenge is the environmental agenda, promoting convergence between agribusiness and sustainability.

Regardless of ideologies, Brazil needs to respect to be respected. Our country must obey democracy and human rights.

In addition to these notes, the challenge of overrating inequality should be pointed out. According to Rubens Ricupero, a famous Brazilian Ambassador, inequality is the most critical issue for Latin America.

Another key subject is an urgent and affirmative neighborhood mobilization in favor of the Amazon forest.

In sum, Brazil must urgently recover its historical role in South America.

Adacir Reis is a lawyer and the CEO of San Tiago Dantas Institute for Law and Economics

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