Last week, Brasilia hosted the leaders of China, Russia, South Africa and India at the second “Brics” summit. Brazilian diplomats are now widely acknowledged as skilful negotiators.
Brazil first attended a G8 summit six years ago, as an observer. It had about 1,000 diplomats stationed around the world – now there are 1,400. Last year it opened an embassy in Pyongyang.
It has had friendly meetings with America’s Hillary Clinton and Iran’s President Ahmadi-Nejad. Brazil, which supports Iran’s right to nuclear power but not to nuclear arms, has adopted the role of peacebroker to all.
Brazil is less bound by security challenges, economic necessity or domestic politics than most countries. Only a fifth of the country’s economy dpends on foreign trade, so the need to maintain western commercial goodwill is not decisive. Foreign-policy issues count for little among its domestic voters and it faces no problems on its borders.
Brazil’s defence minister has remarked that the country has no enemies. “I am infected by the peace virus,” President Lula da Silva once said.
He plans to visit Iran in May after a visit to Israel to discuss trade and peace in the region. Israel is to become the first non-Latin American member of Mercosur, the Latin-American trading bloc.
Iran will not want to lose Brazil as an ally, and Israel will not want to lose Brazil as an economic trading partner, so Brazil may be able to play a stronger role in “brokering” better relations between the two countries.
Trade agreements create new economic opportunities and can increase dialogue and cross-cultural exchange between nations, promoting prosperity with peace as a side effect.
Note: celebrating this country‘s civilised approach to peacemaking does not imply that all aspects of its social, environmental & economic practice are equally beneficial.