Brazil’s Distorted Economy and Fractured Morals

Source: Perks Consulting

Brazil, which currently holds a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, recently abstained on a key vote that, had it not gone down in defeat, would have strongly condemned Syria for using lethal force against its own largely unarmed population. Such street confrontations in the past have resulted in the death of almost three thousand defenseless Syrian nationals. As a result of Chinese and Russian Security Council vetoes and four abstentions (including that of Brazil), the resolution fell short of the number of votes needed to implement it. Bashar al-Assad’s ruthless regime’s already harsh policies have resulted in the present Syrian bloodbath now being witnessed Damascus’ police-state tactics.

Earlier this year, BRICS members, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, as well as Germany, abstained from voting on an initiative regarding the no-fly zone policy in Libya, in order to prevent the now-ousted Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi from ordering his armed forces to turn their weapons on his civilian opponents.

Brazil’s membership in the BRICS nations seems to have taken precedence over its traditional deference to Washington when it comes to carrying out its inter-American commitments, further evidence of a marked deterioration in Brazil-U.S. relations. But in recent years, China has soared to the top as Brazil’s major trade partner and increasingly strategic ally, while Brazil’s newfound focus on the Middle East appears to be increasingly seen as an effort to be less involved in the inter-American venue than in the global economy as a whole. China is now playing a critical role in helping Brazil to overcome the setbacks now being felt in its formerly close U.S. ties. This declining partnership between the two western hemispheric giants has given Brazil a growing self-confidence in its readiness to play a more autonomous role in current diplomatic transactions. While China is today Brazil’s biggest trade partner, the latter still has a significant economic relationship with the still all-important, if declining volume of United States trade, which would languish if it was further neglected by any noticeably lesser U.S. role, considering that the outlook for Brazil’s economic conditions now do not look as promising as they did in the beginning of the year. The Brasilia-Washington relationship is now being seen as needing further definition and additional calories.

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Linnea LaMon.

8 thoughts on “Brazil’s Distorted Economy and Fractured Morals

  • October 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm
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    Not everyone shares your view of “morality.” As I see it, Brazil (and BRIC) were quite correct in abstaining from the vote to supposedly stop “Muammar Gaddafi from ordering his armed forces to turn their weapons on his civilian opponents.” In fact, I would argue that it would have been better if BRIC had voted against what was clearly – even then – to become a neocolonial NATO intervention in Libya. NATO’s “no-fly zone” has probably caused many more casualties in Libya than Gadaffi‘s troops did (and for those of us who have actually been bombed by jets, the sterile euphemism "no-fly zone” does not carry the pure murderous terror of it all). I don't trust body counts in wartime. The truth only comes out much later. And speaking of time – sure it was time for Gadaffi to go – but not this way.

    Regarding Syria, I don’t think that anyone has a clear enough picture to take action. You talk about “defenseless civilians” but as was the case in Libya, the international news is full of reports of insurgents with guns. I don't know who is telling how much of the truth. But I do know that we are already overextended in useless wars that are driving us ever deeper into poverty. Brazil is making sensible choices. We are not.

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  • October 8, 2011 at 7:26 am
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    U.S. actions have been such in the past that it is hard for some of our former friends to trust us. Nothing is what we are told it is, and unfortunately Obama has been no better in restraining American bullying than were other Democratic presidents of late. We should stop preparing and executing wars and work to give our people opportunites and to work with others to help nations become more democratic. Will we need to use arms, possibly, but I am not convinced that the wars of the last few years have been any better for the world as are the others that some neocons are currently planning. Eventually all our friends will leave, especially when they see us as a second-rate economic power with the same skewed morals that keep getting us into war and keep us thinking we should tell everyone what to do. Being the biggest kid on the block doesn't mean we have to be the bully.

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  • October 8, 2011 at 7:45 am
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    What is wrong with emerging economies getting closer in the political arena? Teutonic plates, since begining of life on earth, have shifted frequently, taking down continents and new ones flourishing up later.
    Witness the citizen security situation in Central America, the propaganda about security, that has overwhelmed the foreign aid agenda, has led the armies in the region to purchase miitary equipment to fight crime. Do not these countries see the failure of the Mexican government in using its army to figth crime?

    Regardless, Central American countries, that happily signed the most asymetric free trade agreement with the US, are now buying arms, arms, and arms. Like Chile, country which was permitted to buy fighter jets after signing a FTA with the US, Central American governments are doing exactly the same. Do I need to remind ourselves who the arms supplier is?

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  • October 8, 2011 at 10:55 am
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    Ok, Brazil is looking out for it's own interest and economic future. But let us all hold our collective thought for a minute here:
    It is not just doubtful but extremely unlikely that the Syrian Despot/Murderer would have stopped his reign of terror. Look at what all the UN resolutions against Israel have done: Exactly nothing! On the contrary, when ever the rest of the world has tried to pressure the Zionist from building more housing in the illegally occupied areas, they immediately issue more permits. And the USA keeps supporting them because all their politicians have a big lump in their pants (Rear) for fear of the AIPAC lobby and the Jewish voters. And this 10 years after they got spanked for 225 years of manifest destiny arrogant foreign policy along with their Monroe Doctrine. The next shoe will fall on America as sure as I left the imperialist nation.

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  • October 8, 2011 at 10:23 am
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    This site is becoming an instance of a journalism more interested in propaganda than serious analysis. The title of the piece has absolutely nothing to do with its contents (were the actual connections made explicit, the text in the article's body would most probably contradict its title.) It is troubling that this proves to be no exception to what is the usual offer by COHA and reflects an uncanny editorial policy. I would appreciate a little bit more respect for the readership.

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    • October 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm
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      I would have to agree with you there. the title is very misleading and not to subtly. It would be nice to get the more dry analysis without the spin. Why is having deepening trade relations with China considered distorted? What morality is fractured when one does not support violent intervention into someone else s violence. Brazil should be condemned more for its treatment of its Amazonian Indigenous population than anything as far as I can see. COHA is coming off as very pro USA in this article. The USA has screwed over South and Central America very methodically over the last hundred years. The USA is responsible for even larger scale atrocities all over the World than Syria and Libya leaders even imagined in there wildest dreams of Power…

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      • October 10, 2011 at 7:03 pm
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        I disagree with Mario's comment regarding COHA's site. Fortunately, this article is an anomaly. It is completely one-sided, editorial in content, and lacks context, UNLIKE most COHA articles. Furthermore, the title plays with Brazilian stereotypes! re: context -several BRIC nations, among others, were upset by the misuse of UN Resolution 1973. They did not expect intervention in Libya. Had the author done some research, she would have seen that the BRIC's made it quite clear that opposition to the resolution condemning Syria was not due to support for the current government or problems with the wording, rather an unwillingness to follow the road of condemnation, sanctions, isolation &/or intervention as a means of obtaining peace &/or change. Dialogue as a viable route to credible, lasting peace has a large following & does not reflect "fractured morals"!

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  • December 2, 2011 at 1:04 am
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    I think that not opposing the crush down on civilians in Syria shows disregard for human rights, and discredits anybody

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