Only a year ago, president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was widely feted as the man who had turned Brazil into a competitive powerhouse, the China of Latin America. That's not what has tongues wagging now. Rather than using Brazil's prominence to press outlier regimes to respect human rights and comply with international rules on using nuclear power, Lula suddenly seems bent on ducking controversy and accommodating demagogues. He routinely trades bear hugs with Hugo Chávez, even as the Venezuelan leader silences the media and harasses opponents. Brasília's diplomats abstained on a vote "deploring the grave, widespread, and systemic human-rights abuses" in North Korea. Lula canceled a visit to the tomb of Zionist founding father Theodor Herzl but found time to garland Yasir Arafat's grave. And in February, Lula posed for a photo op with Fidel Castro as protesters a few kilometers away mourned the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a political dissident who died after an 85-day hunger strike in a Havana jail. ...
Now, as Lula's swagger grows bolder, the risk is that he is sending foreign policy on a political jag with little coherence, thereby squandering the remarkable legacy of pragmatism and evenhandedness that have been the country's anchors for the most of the last decade.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Even Newsweek, an admirer and supporter of the Brazilian socialist administration, has finally become aware of its disastrous foreign policy (HT Escolhas e Consequências). According to this article by Mac Margolis: