The Brazilian Ambassador to the United States, Mauro Vieira, spoke today at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University on US-Brazil Relations. As it is traditional for academic talks given by Brazilian representatives in the United States, they initiate pointing out the anecdote that the US was the first country to recognize Brazil as an independent country and all the elements that constructed the first steps of the relationship. From this perspective the Ambassador went on to discuss the two trends that he believed marked the relationship between the two countries: 1. progressive evolution of the international system from unipolarity to multipolarity; and 2. the emerge of Brazil as a bigger player in the arena.
Ambassador Vieira moved on to discuss the importance of five different items that emerge from those two trends: trade, energy, environment, climate change and reform of international organizations. Afterwards, he moved to point out that he sees four points that will be important going forward in the relationship: energy, environment, science and technology and the organization of mega events. For a relationship that is supposedly based on deep shared values, those issues are highly technical and in no way reflect the necessity of anything other than shared interests in the development of specific areas.
The ambassador was completely absent when discussing what are those shared values that help strengthen the relationship between the US and Brazil. Among the elements that should have been addressed by the Ambassador are universal human rights and the quest for respect and promotion of those internationally. The question that I had for him, but unfortunately was not able to ask amidst softball questions on food security and social programs, was: what is Brazil doing to promote those shared values, such as human rights in Latin America? How is Brazil advancing human rights in place such as Cuba and Venezuela? Has the self-appointed leader of Latin America helped the citizens of another Latin countries become more free?
Those are the defining issues that will make or break Brazil’s reputation as a player in the international scenario. Mainly if the country is to be given serious considerations for a seat in the UNSC. A seat on the Council is not only about geographical representation, it is also about capacity to contribute to international peace and security. As of now, Brazil has been failing to tackle the hard questions that define if the international system will work of the individuals or for coddling third world dictators.