“One of Lula’s foreign policy advisors told a friend of mine that when Brazil looks at Iran, it doesn’t see just Iran, it also sees Brazil.”—Larry Rohter, New York Times Reporter
Barack Obama recently visited with current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. President Obama didn’t receive her, however, with the kind of pomp and circumstance, that has been given to nations like Indian and China. President Rousseff only met with Obama in a brief meeting, she did not receive a state dinner, and Obama spent most of the day rolling Easter eggs on the South Lawn.
While CEOs, university presidents, and even the Chamber of Commerce—were literally champing at the bit to meet with her—Obama seemed to be very low key and nonplussed, about his meeting with this extraordinarily capable and singular woman. What could be the reasons/reasoning for such a cold shoulder from our 44th and current president and commander-in-chief?
Could it be that Brazil has advocated for the cause of Palestinian statehood, that it has traditionally had amicable relations with Iran, that it is a member of CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), or that it has pressured the US to include Cuba in the meetings of the OAS (Organization of American States)? Indeed, Brazil is currently involved in an $800 million modernization project of the western harbor of Havana.
Additionally, Brazil has queried the US government about a permanent position on the United Nations Security Council, and the US—has not responded in the affirmative that it is interested in supporting that. Brazil also gave refuge to Honduran President Manuel Zelaya in its embassy, after the takeover (of the US-supported) coup regime. Furthermore, President Rousseff has been a cutting and incisive critic of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policy, and, moreover, China has still fairly recently emerged as Brazil’s chief, cardinal—number one and foremost—trading partner/associate.
A writer in the Financial Times, has even called Brazil the France of Latin America. Not obstructing US hegemony, and an attempted unimpeded global power monopoly out of any sound principle, or deeply held belief or vision, but according to this analyst, “[Brazil is] undermining our initiatives in Iran or over trade talks . . . [as a] way of forcing us to pay attention to them.”
Perhaps Obama thinks that Brazil, should be like a child bouncing on his leg (like the aforementioned FT “pundit”)? And is Brazil’s insufficient fealty to the Monroe Doctrine, and diktats coming from its “superior” northern nation actually what ails this bilateral rapport/interrelationship? Perhaps, it’s simple envy as Rousseff enjoys a 77% approval rating. She has been seen as an effective battler of corruption, and Brazil’s economy, under her watch, is now considered to be the sixth largest in the world.
In comparison, Obama is trying to sell a nonexistent recovery, and that the Republicans are absolutely, totally, and utterly batshit crazy, in order to win himself a second term. Rather than languid, perhaps Obama should have been ecstatic, at the prospect of meeting with the Brazilian president. Unequivocally, Obama is far from Rousseff’s popularity, dynamism and overall effectiveness, but seemingly it was far more important to him to be rolling multi-colored Easter eggs on the White House South Lawn than to be meeting with such an astute and capable head of state.
Sean Fenley is an independent progressive, who would like to see some sanity brought to the creation and implementation of current and future, US military, economic, foreign and domestic policies. He has been published by a number of websites, and publications throughout the alternative media.