U.S., Brazil 'Disagree More Than They Agree,' Analyst Says

Uploaded by PBSNewsHour on 09.04.2012

bjbjLULU JEFFREY BROWN: Next tonight, the leader of Latin America's biggest and richest
country visits the White House. Margaret Warner has the story. MARGARET WARNER: A country
once best known by Americans for postcard-perfect beaches and a passion for the game of soccer,
Brazil has emerged as a powerhouse competitor in the global economy, achieving the number
six world GDP ranking this year. Along with Russia, India and China, it's part of the
so- called BRIC club of rapidly developing economies. Now this country of 200 million,
Latin America's largest, is demanding to be taken more seriously on the world political
stage as well. And, today, President Dilma Rousseff was given a cordial welcome by President
Obama at the White House. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I'm -- feel very fortunate to have
such a capable and far-sighted partner as President Rousseff. DILMA ROUSSEFF, President
of Brazil (through translator): The U.S.-Brazil bilateral relations are, for Brazil, a very
important relationship, not only from a bilateral but also from a multilateral perspective.
MARGARET WARNER: But though the hemisphere's two biggest democracies should be natural
allies, they often don't see eye to eye. PETER HAKIM, president emeritus, Inter-American
Dialogue: It would certainly be hard to say the U.S. and Brazil are adversaries or in
conflict, but the fact is, they disagree more than they agree. MARGARET WARNER: Peter Hakim
is senior fellow and president emeritus at Inter-American Dialogue in Washington. PETER
HAKIM: Americans and Brazilians love to talk about a strategic relationship. Yet, the U.S.
rarely consults with Brazil on the important global issues. MARGARET WARNER: That shouldn't
be surprising, given Brazil's history of being a thorn in the U.S. side. In 2010, then President
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva tried to broker a deal with Turkey on Iran's nuclear program
and derail Secretary of State Clinton's push for U.N. sanctions against Tehran. Brazil
has staked out positions contrary to Washington's on Cuba, climate change, and the 2009 coup
in Honduras as well. PETER HAKIM: Brazil is in many respects still learning what it means
to be a global power. And the way it's been successful, ironically, is not by joining
with the United States, which would have been one route, but rather in opposition to the
United States, that it sort of has gained its international prestige precisely by showing
its independence of the United States. MARGARET WARNER: When Dilma Rousseff won Brazil's 2010
presidential election campaign, Washington had high hopes she would be easier to work
with than her one-time boss and mentor Lula. The former Marxist-guerrilla-turned-technocrat
has been less assertive and flamboyant on the global stage. Noted Eurasia group analyst
Joao Augusto de Castro Neves. JOAO AUGUSTO DE CASTRO NEVES, analyst, Eurasia Group: President
Dilma's foreign policy is a little bit less rhetorical or ideological than President Lula's,
her predecessor, was. I think that in the sense that more risk-averse diplomacy, that
more conservative in some sense diplomacy is good for not only relations with Brazil
and the United States, but actually for Brazil's goals abroad. MARGARET WARNER: President Obama
made a point of visiting Brazil just two months after Rousseff took office. But it wasn't
long before Rousseff was renewing Brazil's call for greater global recognition. She used
her first appearance at the U.N. General Assembly last fall to declare that Brazil and other
emerging powers like India should have permanent seats on the Security Council. DILMA ROUSSEFF
(through translator): It is not possible, Mr. President, to delay this any more. The
world needs a Security Council that reflects the contemporary reality we're living in,
a council that includes new permanent and non-permanent members. MARGARET WARNER: President
Obama endorsed another BRIC country, India's bid for a seat in 2010, but has not done the
same for Brazil. And that's galling to Brazilians. JOAO AUGUSTO DE CASTRO NEVES: What Brazil
expects from the U.S. today, I think, is a treatment similar that the U.S. has with China
and India, with other big, large, rising countries. And Brazil thinks that it holds many credentials
to be in that seat, to have that permanent seat. And it's quite puzzling in Brazil to
try to understand, why hasn't this endorsement come? MARGARET WARNER: Peter Hakim said it
reflects Washington's general lack of attention to all of Latin America. PETER HAKIM: Brazil
is in a region that's not a central priority of the administration of the United States.
It's not in a region that has any urgency. Now, Latin America has been relatively successful.
And it's becoming a middle class. There's no open conflicts in the region. And, my God,
we have so many conflicts in so many other places. Latin America, we don't have to really
worry about a whole lot. MARGARET WARNER: Paulo Sotero, director of the Woodrow Wilson
Center's Brazil Institute, believes the slight is a source of real tension in the relationship.
PAULO SOTERO, director, Woodrow Wilson Center's Brazil Institute: Brazil has always had this
aspiration to sit at the table. MARGARET WARNER: What does this say to Brazil and to Latin
America that President Obama isn't ready to endorse that? PAULO SOTERO: It says that -- well,
that the United States is not ready to recognize Brazil's role. It pays lip service to it from
time to time. President Obama needs to recognize that Brazil's rise is real. I think that he
doesn't. MARGARET WARNER: None of that political tension was apparent today. Both leaders stressed
basic economic issues. BARACK OBAMA: Brazil's been a extraordinary leader in biofuels and
obviously is also becoming a world player when it comes to oil and gas development.
And the United States is not only a potential large customer to Brazil, but we think that
we can cooperate closely on a whole range of energy projects together. MARGARET WARNER:
Rousseff spoke bluntly about the blowback on developing countries from the monetary
policies of the U.S. and Europe. DILMA ROUSSEFF (through translator): They lead to a depreciation
in the value of the currencies of developed countries, thus impairing growth outlooks
in emerging countries. MARGARET WARNER: Brazilian journalist Luciana Coelho said the tone is
in keeping with each leader's cool, businesslike personality. LUCIANA COELHO, Brazilian journalist:
I don't think we will be seeing something like President Bush and President Lula, you
know, the two guys who could go for a beer. I would never imagine President Rousseff going
for a beer with President Obama. But she's a very focused and hands on-person. And I
think people in Brazil like that. MARGARET WARNER: Rousseff will concentrate on addressing
what's been a sudden economic slowdown at home, Sotero predicts, with less time for
diplomatic adventures abroad like Lula's bid to get in the Iran game. PAULO SOTERO: I believe
that you will not see Brazil doing the same type of initiative under President Dilma Rousseff.
Dilma Rousseff I think understands that Brazil's presence and influence in the world depends
much more on what happens in Brazil. MARGARET WARNER: Rousseff left the White House today
with deals on expanding economic, education and energy cooperation, but without support
for a Security Council seat. One administration official described the evolving relationship
as a slow courtship, saying you can't expect a great leap forward from any single visit.
That's a law, said Castro Neves. JOAO AUGUSTO DE CASTRO NEVES: These two countries could
have a -- could do a lot, much more than they do today. The agenda is not as ambitious as
it should be. MARGARET WARNER: So a missed opportunity? JOAO AUGUSTO DE CASTRO NEVES:
It's a missed opportunity. Or some people would say it's benign indifference. MARGARET
WARNER: For these two leaders, preoccupied with more pressing problems, this step-by-step
diplomacy might be the most that can be expected for now. gd=6 gd=6 urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags
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place JEFFREY BROWN: Next tonight, the leader of Latin America's biggest and richest country
visits the White House Normal Microsoft Office Word JEFFREY BROWN: Next tonight, the leader
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