Brazilian foreign policy

Last Updated: 07 Dec 2022
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The fact that Brazil is one of the most important emerging nations can not be denied. There is no doubt that this country leads the pack when it comes to economic and political supremacy in the southern part of the American continent. This has been made possible by the desire of this country to become a regional and global power to reckon with. To this end, most of the presidents that have ruled this nation since the end of the military rule in the 1980’s have come up with foreign policies that can be viewed as assuming an international look while at the same time trying to maintain the sovereignty of this nation.

Most notable of these foreign policies is the one that is adopted by the current Brazilian president. When Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took the helm of this country in 2003, he came up with a foreign policy that seemed to be in contrast in some ways to his predecessor’s. Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s foreign policy, when compared to that of Lula, shows some remarkable differences. Lula has been vocal in opposing the hegemony that is associated with American foreign policies.

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He tries to create an economic and political system that is independent on the American influence while at the same been recognized by America as an equal, rather than a puppet of the American government. This stance seemed to be criticized when he developed a brief relationship, a close one, with George W. Bush when he came to power in 2002. This may be the reason why his foreign policies have been regarded as been inconsistent. But he maintains a pessimistic view of the globalization phenomenon. He regards it as the tool that is used by the rich nations to stifle and exploit both the poor and the emerging nations.

This paper is going to take a critical look at Lula’s foreign policy. The strong points of his policy will be reviewed, as well as the weaknesses and challenges. Lula’s Foreign Policy: Assertive? According to Hurrell (51), Lula can be described as having taken a stand on international system that can be described as been mildly interesting. He views this international system with doubt, but goes ahead to say that it is possible for brazil to maintain an “activist and assertive foreign policy” (Hurrell 51).

Cardoso’s foreign policy was regarded as not been assertive enough. He was once quoted saying that “creating friction with Washington is to lose” (Hurrell 53). This administration was not seen as defending the interests of this Latin American nation sufficiently. Lula sought to adapt a different style, aided by his supporters in the Workers Party. Lula emphasized the fact that the instability of the international system coupled by the centralization of powers in few hands was not a recipe for the development and sovereignty of Brazil.

He was of the view that United States, together with a handful of allies, held far too much power in the international arena, such that if anything were to happen to them, it will affect most of the world’s nations negatively (Hurrell 51). He has always pointed to the current economic crisis as an example of how blunders committed by the wealthy nation of the world led to miseries of the poor nations. His disdain for the developed nations was evident when he talked down on Gordon Brown in a press conference in March 2009. He made the quote that made international headlines for days.

“This crisis was caused by whiter people with blue eyes (sic)…. they pretended to know all about economics” (SkyNews 2009). He said this in front of Gordon brown, one his so called “white people with blue eyes”. Apart from showing how much he detested western powers, this statement was a clear indication of the fact that Lula does not fear these greedy westerners. He will stand by what he believes to be the truth, even if it did not go down well with the whites. The only other head of state that can be expected to make such a statement is maybe the Muslim leaders. But a president from a reportedly friendly nation to the Americans!

Lula contends that the hyped global economy is more injurious than it is beneficial to the emerging nations (Hurrell 52). By this form of trade, the western nations entrench themselves in the world political and economic arena, while crises are created for the poor. A pointer to this is the current economic crisis. There is also a lot of inequality both internally and externally. This is because global trade benefits few individuals inside the local economies and few nations in the international arena. Lula’s administration has always sought to maintain the autonomy of this nation in the international arena (Hurrell 52).

But at the same time, it needs to forge ties with other nations around the world. Lula has concentrated in forming ties with other emerging nations, shunning the western and developed countries (Barriaux 1). This will mitigate the external vulnerabilities associated with disassociation with the world superpowers. That is why Lula has shunned the North American’s Free Trade Area. Instead, he has resorted to strengthening regional cooperation with neighbors like Uruguay, Paraguay and others across the continent like South Africa, china and India (Fitzpatrick 1).

Lula has started to give Washington jitters when it became obvious that he was intent in developing Brazilian nuclear technology (Hurrell 52). His administration is engaged in industrial secrets. But at the same time, he is wise enough to maintain friendly relations with the nuclear inspection teams that have been deployed to Brazil. Lula’s Foreign Policy: Successful? His policies have been hailed by many people as been a success story. This is considering the fact that countries which have tried to defy the western superpowers have fallen by the way side.

But Brazil blazes ahead, albeit jerkily, even after defying America Washington and London. But still, some critics have been opining that Lula’s foreign policy is inconsistent. But maybe, the consistency of Lula’s foreign policy lies in its inconsistency. Perhaps the strength of his foreign policy lies in these so called inconsistencies. Brazil has always maintained a tough stance when it came to global trade. She was defiant that no dumping of low quality goods from foreign economies will be done on her economy.

This was contradicted when Lula’s administration acknowledged China as a “market economy” (Fitzpatrick 1). This was in 2004. What this means is that Brazil can not stop the flow of low quality goods from China. China is known for her tendency to flood the international economy with her cheap, low quality goods. This is death sentence to the local industries. Brazil has resisted this until this point in time. China refused to back Lula in his bid to get a permanent slot at the United Nations’ Security Council (Fitzpatrick 1). This was seen as inconsistency in Lula’s stance of an autonomous nation.

However, in 2009, Lula was in Beijing. This was perhaps payback time for China. While he was there, he signed a deal with Hu Jintao that would see Brazil export a total of 200,000 barrels of crude oil to Beijing (Barriaux 1). Also, a loan was offered to him from the Chinese government that was to spur development in Brazil. This was in excess of 10-billion dollar (Barriaux 1). He took his disdain of the American regime there when he said that plans were underway to abandon the American dollar as the medium of exchange when the two countries were conducting trade.

This is the consistency of Lula’s inconsistent foreign policy that the writer is talking about. Lula, by signing the contract with the Chinese government, expressed his desire of cementing ties with other nations apart from the West. Brazil is a gross exporter of agricultural products, and this is the backbone of her economy (Fitzpatrick 1). When Lula and his lieutenants take the pessimistic and negative regard of the global market, one is left wondering where Lula plans to sell the entire Soya from this country.

However, Lula has been calculative as ever. He led a boycott of the Doha round table talks in 2003, leading a group of developing nations out of the venue until the developed nations addressed their concerns. Celso Amorim, the foreign minister, led a successful crusade against subsidies that the European Union and America offered to their farmers (Fitzpatrick 1). All this was geared towards safeguarding the agricultural exports of the country. Lula has worked hard to revive Mercosur, the regional trade bloc of the Latin American nations (Hurrell 55).

This is assign that he is interested in asserting regional control and influence in this region. Been a member of this organization, Lula will be able to bargain with the Americans and Britons when it comes to trade matters. This has given Lula leverage such that he is able to shun the western nations and at the same time make himself relevant to them. He has opted for this organization while at the same time resisting the Free Trade Area espoused by United States. Conclusion Lula has adopted a foreign policy stance that is bold but at the same time risky.

He has sought to assert the presence of the Brazilian nation in the global arena while at the same time refusing to ride on the tail coats of the developed nations, like America. He has a pessimistic view of the global economy. This is risky considering the fact that Brazil is an exporting economy, and thus has to rely on the global market for success. Lula has tried to forge coalitions with other emerging nations like India and China. This way, Lula has eliminated the external vulnerability that the western countries would have taken advantage of by alienating Brazil with the rest of the developing nations.

References Barriaux, M. C. Lula Signs Financial Agreements with Beijing. Retrieved from http://news. yahoo. com/s/afp/20090519/wl_asia_afp/chinabrazildiplomacytradecurrency_20090519162806, on 13th June, 2009. Fitzpatrick, J. K. Inconsistency of Brazil’s Foreign Policy. Retrieved from http://www. brazzil. com/2005-mainmenu-79/159-december-2005/9491. html, on 13th June, 2009. Hurrell, S. A. Lula’s Brazil: A Rising Power, but Going Where? Oxford: Oxford University, 51-57. SkyNews. White People with Blue Eyes. Retrieved from http://www. foxnews. com/story/0,2933,510954,00. html, on 13th June, 2009.

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Brazilian foreign policy. (2016, Jul 08). Retrieved from

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