Brazil

Emerging Powers vie for Influence in Africa

May 4, 2012 by

The end of the Cold War resulted in the strategic disengagement of western countries, including the United States, from Africa. They continued their trade, aid and assistance relationship with Africa, but once the threat of communist expansion disappeared, the West interacted with the continent in a different way. This change permitted an opening for a variety of emerging countries to expand their ties with Africa.

An Olympic-Sized Problem in Brazil

May 2, 2012 by

With a cigarette in one hand and a net in another, Moisés, a middle-aged fisherman in Brazil, sits among choppy waters in his wooden boat, looking back at his home that may soon be destroyed against his will. Moisés is a resident of the community of Vila Autódromo in Rio de Janeiro—one of 119 low-income settlements, known as favelas, that the government plans to remove by next year under the so-called My House, My Life program.

Latin America Delivers A Swift Kick

April 30, 2012 by

On one level, April’s hemispheric summit meeting was an old fashioned butt kicking for Washington’s policies in the region. The White House found itself virtually alone—Dudley Do Right Canada its sole ally—on everything from Cuba to the war on drugs. But the differences go deeper than the exclusion of Havana and the growing body count in Washington’s failed anti-narcotics strategy. They reflect profound disagreements on how to build economies, confront inequity, and reflect a new balance of power in world affairs.

Latin America’s Shift on Drug Policy

April 16, 2012 by

I recently read an interesting and smart piece on one of Foreign Policy’s blogs which charted some notable policy shifts among current Latin American heads of state as it relates to drugs. It is true that, more than two years ago, the former leaders of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico all (rightly) claimed that the “war on drugs” had been unsuccessful. It is also true that the current presidents of Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala (among others) have also called for a rethink on the current prohibition regime.

Risk with Great Reward in South America

April 12, 2012 by

For hundreds of years, South America has provided much of the world with essential natural resources. The global nature of the world economy, coupled with the development of South American countries and turbulence in the Middle East presents South America as an alternative to dependency on oil from far flung, sometimes adversarial areas of the world.

The Promise of Colombia

April 10, 2012 by

While much of the globe has been mired in an economic malaise, the simultaneous growth of Latin America has been well chronicled. Most of the attention given to Latin America’s rise has focused on Brazil, which recently surpassed Great Britain to become the world’s sixth largest economy. The attention has been justified given Brazil’s remarkable turnaround, its economic growth, potential growth, and forthcoming global spotlight by way of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Brazil, U.S. Deepen Ties Ahead of Obama’s Latin America Week

April 10, 2012 by

Kicking off what some here have called President Barack Obama’s “Latin America Week”, the president and his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, touted a deepening of bilateral ties in her first visit to the White House as president of South America’s superpower. Adding to a growing basket of “presidential dialogues” that were sealed during Obama’s visit to Brazil in March 2011, the two leaders announced the creation of a “Defence Co-operation Dialogue” that will convene in the Latin American giant in two weeks.

China: The Frog and the Scorpion

April 5, 2012 by

Behind the political crisis that saw the recent fall of powerful Communist Party leader Bo Xiali is an internal battle over how to handle China’s slowing economy and growing income disparity, while shifting from a cheap labor export driven model to one built around internal consumption. Since China is the second largest economy on the planet—and likely to become the first in the next 20 to 30 years—getting it wrong could have serious consequences, from Beijing to Brasilia, and from Washington to Mumbai.

A Moral Argument Against the War on Drugs

April 5, 2012 by

Former Brazilian President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, has argued that the war on drugs has failed and cannabis should be decriminalised. He argued that the hardline approach has brought “disastrous” consequences for Latin America. Having just returned from Rio, we can only agree.

Brazil: Geopolitics of Energy Independence

April 2, 2012 by

Energy security is one of those rare issues that most people in the world can agree on. Energy security is the fear of cold winters that sets a place for Russia at Europe’s dinner table. It is the compulsion that might have cost the United States its global pre-eminence, and the exception that so often renders moralistic views of international relations indefensible. To most countries around the world, energy security is everything: economics, defense, and regime survival wrapped into one.

Coming Up: A Tehran Communiqué?

March 23, 2012 by

Arguably, growing tensions over Iran’s nuclear impasse represent today’s greatest international security challenge. Current Western sanctions against Iran are biting hard, but they are also hurting both the Iranian population and global consumers. With rising concerns over a possible “supply shock” — as Iran struggles to sell its oil and alternative producers such as Saudi Arabia and Libya scramble over dwindling spare capacity — energy prices are inching closer to their staggering 2008 levels.

A Need for Pan-Asian Institutions in Asia

March 20, 2012 by

For over a decade, many relevant academic journals have prophesized the 21st century as the Asian century. The argument is usually based on impressive economic growth, increased production, trade and booming foreign currency reserves. Undoubtedly, the fact that Asia holds nearly 1/3 of the total world population doesn’t hurt its chances from overtaking the United States and Europe in many areas.

A (Real) Turning Point in US-Latin American Relations?

March 8, 2012 by

Will November be the beginning of a turning point in US-Latin American relations? For that to happen, it is essential for Washington, both Democrats and Republicans alike, to accept a new reality in order to start the very complex process of avoiding the frustrated superpower syndrome vis-à-vis Latin America.

Revisiting Helms-Burton

March 6, 2012 by

In 1996, the US government enacted the Helms-Burton Act in an effort to tighten the embargo on Cuba and bring about the regime change that the Americans have long wanted. Sixteen years later, while Fidel Castro has stepped aside from his official role as Cuban president, the desired regime change has not taken place. Raul Castro has made some changes in the government-controlled economy, but no changes have been forthcoming regarding democracy or human rights.

Syria: A Way Out

March 3, 2012 by

There are two tales about the crisis in Syria. In one, the vast majority of Syrians have risen up against the brutality of a criminal dictatorship. The government of Bashar al Assad is on the ropes, isolated regionally and internationally, and only holding on because Russia and China vetoed United Nations intervention. U.S. Secretary to State Hillary Clinton describes Assad as “a war criminal,” and President Barak Obama called him a “dead man walking.”

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