Brazil and Lula: Undeliverable Expectations
When Lula won the Brazilian elections, we all knew that it was going to be tough going, He inherited a government structure with budgets three years old, with most social support withdrawn from the population, and from the international arena, an almost incoherent program of destabilization from the US right, and a mixture of government officials that I must tell you, I have not yet sussed out. Those guys change on a dime. Today they are one thing, and tomorrow they are another. He also inherited a country deeply polarized between right and left. Considering the framing of that, which is less right and left, and can be better described as the split between adherents of single polarity and adherents to multi polarity as a civilizational development path.
On his election, Lula said that in his foreign policy, he will speak to any and all, he is anti-war and his delegates to the large and forming CELAC meeting enthusiastically supported the Latin Americas and Caribbean as a Zone of Peace. Lula was clear from the outset that he believes the Ukraine war could have been avoided and he is clear on what to do now, in his opinion. He calls for mediators. Lula also has been President of Brazil for only two months and I don’t believe his administration has settled in yet.
The overall environment is that the hegemon is clinging to its single polarity with a grim determination, running a global spectator sport, and selfishly stubborn. They also lie and steal and cheat, but this is for another posting.
I was surprised to see that both Pepe Escobar and Quantum Bird from the Comunidad Saker Latinoamérica are very critical of Lula and Brazil. This writing is not a criticism, but it is a discussion. There are highlights and lowlights and I expected this for at least a period of time. Let’s give the man six months or so, no? I do not see the same criticism from local Brazilian journalists.
Let’s see what Pepe says. “The Americans are going no holds barred turning Brazil into a Trojan Horse at the heart of BRICS. For the moment, absolute success. Yet Moscow and Beijing are perfectly aware of what’s goin’ on.”
So, the hegemon is going no-holds-barred. That is very accurate and we may say this single polarity world with them on top and a rules-based international order is a hill that they are going to die on. Perhaps they are trying to create a Trojan Horse out of Brazil and this will not be unexpected. But, BRICS already has a trojan horse, and that is South Africa. Is it at all possible that we could give Lula just a little time here?
Again from Pepe, and he says: “Quantum Bird succinctly DESTROYS Brazil’s “new” foreign policy. No question the dictates are coming from the Hegemon. Russia – and China – are politely ignoring the geopolitical play for irrelevance coming from their BRICS partner.”
Quantum Bird expresses a few problems and one of them I believe is a lowlight. His article is machine translated and I’ve bolded in the paragraphs that need to be discussed (Portugese is somewhat problematic with machine translations but the gist is there).
Consolidating Brazil’s status as a geopolitical dwarf
The so-called Active and Loud Foreign Policy – slogan repeated ad nauseum by Celso Amorim during the years of the first Lula administration – never really convinced anyone with an IQ above room temperature (in degrees Celsius), but at least it allowed Brazil to gain some international prestige and a certain protagonism as one of the BRICS articulators. With Lula version 2023 this is over.
The haughtiness seems to have completely disappeared from the panorama, while the native foreign policy, still strongly influenced by Amorim and his group, gives increasingly clear and resounding signs of “activity” only in terms of vassalage to the USA/US. The first achievement of this plot was to convert Brazil into the only BRICS country to condemn the Russian Special Operation in Ukraine. Lula could have expressed his superficial, counter-factual, and anti-historical reading of the conflict directly to Putin, but chose to do so from the White House, alongside Biden, during his Disney-style US visit a few weeks ago. It went badly in the Global South, which has consistently rejected any attempt to frame Russia as the aggressor party in the conflict – correctly, by the way.
Next, we had to tolerate the interview with Mauro Vieira, the current “Chancellor”, in the yellow pages of that notorious little national magazine of immaculate coup tradition. He declared that Brazil had come off the fence. In fact, it jumped on the lap of the USA, and immediately courted the Nazi regime in Kiev. We all saw the pictures of Vieira next to Dmytro Kuleba, the neo-Nazi Ukrainian chancellor.
Now get ready for the proverbial icing on the cake: Brazil has just voted at the UN condemning Russia for the Special Military Operation. Here is the score:
The astute reader will not be impressed by the number of green squares. Between the Yellows (attention) and Reds (against) we have all the countries that are engaged in internecine struggles to conquer, defend and extend their sovereignty. The Yellows and Reds also account for the absolute majority of the world’s population. The Greens (for) gather the empire’s overwhelmed vassals, the countries occupied or “springing” by the US, and finally, the pseudo-democracies corrupted by the hegemon’s fiat money. It was in this unpleasant baloney that Itamaraty, under Lula and Vieira, placed Brazil. I leave it to the reader to choose the appropriate category among the options listed.
The Brazilian foreign policy makers operate these maneuvers as they pretend to pose as potential mediators in the conflict. Do these policymakers not understand that they have just definitively deprived themselves of the necessary neutrality that such a position requires? Or do they believe that by proceeding in this way they would be qualifying themselves to plead for a position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council? – if this is the case, look me up, I have a bridge to sell.
Be that as it may, the Russian Special Operation in Ukraine will proceed inexorably, until the collective West is ready to grant Russia the collective security conditions formulated and delivered into Biden’s hands in Geneva in the summer of 2021. And these circumstances leave in stark evidence the myopia and amateurism of Brazilian foreign policy, whose formulators, at best, are trying to use the conflict in the former Ukraine as a springboard for irresponsible and reputation-damaging protagonism.
Do Lula and Vieira not realize that their erratic foreign policy could consolidate Brazil as the geopolitical dwarf it has become since the coup against Dilma Rousseff and Operation Lava-Jato, followed by the Bolsonaro government, threw the country into limbo in international relations?
Another ghost that prowls Brazil’s geopolitical future has to do with a possible presidency of the BRICS Bank, the NDB, by Dilma Rousseff. Would we be about to witness Brazil’s conversion into a kind of pro-hegemon Trojan Horse of continental proportions, working in the heart of the BRICS? I sincerely hope not.”
So, the idea on the first bolding is that the prestige that Brazil gained under previous Lula leadership is not deserved. I simply disagree.
The second bolding – Lula’s visit to Biden. Well, I reject the criticism here, as AMLO from Mexico has regular visits with BidenCo. It is necessary and if we follow a pragmatic approach, we will understand that it is necessary for a new Lula administration to touch all points. Lula also touched on the issue of a new fund for the Amazon, among other issues. It is necessary to take a look at the readout from the Brazilian side: https://br.usembassy.gov/joint-statement-following-the-meeting-between-president-biden-and-president-lula/
If you look at it carefully, it contains just about everything, the whole family of possible agreements, and the kitchen sink and is impossible at the outset.
Lula set a basis. He got Biden to agree to everything in this world and to agree to cooperate with everything in this world. It is a document to set a base. It is not a statement of policy. This gives Lula breathing room and face it, we live in the Americas so it is wise to get out of the starting blocks with an agreeable frame of reference.
The only sentence that I take issue with, is this one: “They deplored the violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine by Russia and the annexation of parts of its territory as flagrant violations of international law and called for a just and durable peace. “ This has always, before the election and after the election, been Lula’s stance. “
Then, the Brazilian visit to Kiev. The Chinese stand firm that they are not taking sides and will continue relationships with Kiev and with Russia. This is policy and de jure. What they do de facto is another story and there is more support for Russia than what we know about. Again, Lula will speak to everyone.
Finally, Brazil’s vote at the UN. Votes at the UN come with unprecedented pressure. Nebenzia relates that the discussion was stopped for 2 hours, and during that period, his estimate is that 30 votes changed. We cannot know what pressure was applied, but given that the hegemon is intent on its single polar and controlled world view, we may as well consider that Brazil could have tumbled under pressure. We do not know the makeup of the Brazilian UN reps. It is easy to think there may have been one or more where pressure could have been applied.
Instead of ending with a list of what Lula has done, let’s look at what he has not done. The Brazilian representatives declined the invitation to formally join NATO. In 2019 President Bolsonaro proudly announced that Donald Trump had helped him achieve “Preferential Military Ally of NATO” status for Brazil.
Would Brazil become an associate member of NATO?
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mauro Vieira was asked today at the Munich Security Conference. pic.twitter.com/4CelaaA4k9
— Kawsachun News (@KawsachunNews) February 18, 2023
He did not deny the two Iranian warships docking facilities in Rio de Janeiro but waited until he was back from the US visit. Now, sanctions are being threatened.
Pepe states: “CONFIRMED And it’s a bombshell. Off the record. Unimpeachable source. NO pre-concertation. The Brazilians didn’t even bother to inform the other 4 BRICS about their geopolitical worm vote in favor of the US-enforced condemnation of Russia at the UN.”
What pressure was applied? The pressure is intense. Right at the moment the G20 is facing a deadlock, despite India’s careful preparation and before even formally starting.
Whether we like it or not, Brazil is following a non-aligned policy, exactly like the rest of its fellow leaders in the block, on Russia and Ukraine. The whole of the western block failed to get weapons deliveries from the LatAm part of the world for Ukraine. “… President Biden failed to convince Lula to abandon Brazil’s non-aligned policy on the war in Ukraine. Lula says, “Nobody wants this war to continue. Partners should build a negotiating team that both sides trust […] I don’t want to join the war, I want to end it.”
You may like it, or you may not, but Lula stood firm for a non-aligned principle as well as for a vote of peace. He has a major job to do internally in Brazil and there is much good news to report. For example: Brazil’s new Army Commander, General Tomás Paiva, announced that he has canceled the Army’s annual, March 31 celebrations of the US-backed, 1964 neofascist military coup, which was reinstated by ex-President Jair Bolsonaro in 2019.
We have to bear in mind that Lula has been in the chair for only 2 months. His staff and his administration are not shaken out yet. We knew from the outset that he will have a difficult row to hoe. I believe these expectations that this young administration will speak exactly what we want to hear, complicates matters. A black and white standard here is not going to suffice -. there is too much history.
well said, much is unclear and it is premature to jump to conclusions… what is meant by “the geopolitical play for irrelevance?” Is that a polite way of saying Brazil threw itself off the cliff? That the Hegemon leveraged the one thing steadily exciting about Brazil in the last twenty… Read more »
All good AHH… they haven’t nobbled me completely… yet. I have also been a bit distracted in putting the finishing touches on my new blog site. I wrote a quick piece in response to the A team’s excellent observations and posted it before I read your response. It seems we… Read more »
Thanks for your astute analysis of the developments in Brazil Amarynth. IMO the situation is extremely complex as Lula attempts to tread a tightrope, and at the same time juggle trying not to get killed or couped out of power, whilst desperately trying to put his nation back on the… Read more »
we are in such a state of flux, it’s global & a miraculous incomparable first. thank you, amarynth, for keeping us up to date on south africa & the troubles there. thank you, ahh, for giving us some idea of the massive changes africa is under going. i am holding… Read more »
Re: “i am holding faith that lulu consulted with bric members (call me a dreamer), & that (as russia & china have been doing for some years) it was decided he ought to do whatsoever he could to calm & dampen empire’s fire” Exactly Emerson. You are a good dreamer like… Read more »
Romans and countrymen .. lend me your ears … if I am wrong here, you’re going to have to prove me wrong. Today at the preliminaries of the G20 .. During a 45-minute meeting with Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mauro Viera today in New Delhi, Russian Minister Sergey Lavrov said… Read more »
dear amarynth 😀 😀 😀 somebody from brazil (representative and newly elected?) met up with your beloved WY 🙂 smth weighty may hv been ‘discussed’ (if not ‘transmitted’ if not ‘silent agreed’) … same day (if I am not mistaken) when luka (seems all smileys) sealed some deals w XJP… Read more »
YES!! you nailed it amarynth! good on ya!
I think those who criticize Lula at such an early stage of his presidency, are still stuck with the Cold War mindset of the last half the 20th century of “choosing sides”. Ever since Russia’s SMO started over a year ago, global affairs have changed very dramatically. It has made… Read more »
apparently pepe has posted that lula still defends ukraine’s right…. i really do not know what’s going down. i have trouble believing lula would side with empire. sigh, we’ll see what the morning brings.
This is difficult to understand. It is two different philosophies and Lula is being backstabbed badly. Lula wants peace negotiations. You cannot have negotiations if you don’t talk to the other side. ‘Our’ side wants Russia to wipe Ukraine off the map – country 404 – it does not exist… Read more »
emersonreturn mate 🙂 Peace man! Let me calm your mind here… When did XJP took control of things? from the 2nd term of the 5yr REALLY REALLY take control? 3rd term just months ago… SO? it took XJP 10 yrs to clean house!!! and that is after HU laid a… Read more »
thank you, qc. be well be safe
Just moments ago from RT India President Lula Tells Ukraine Head Zelensky – No Weapons, Only Peace – Reports A video call on Thursday between the two heads of state concluded with Brazil repeating the desire for dialogue and peace and Ukraine’s President Vladimir Zelensky inviting his Brazilian counterpart for… Read more »
amarynth, i appreciate your response, links & clear vision. i agree, so far this conforms very nicely with the plan. it appears probable or @ least possible lula is setting forth exactly as is xi to enable peace. peace gives the axis of resistance a stable high ground position from… Read more »