Brazil’s diplomats must be quietly pleased with their week’s work.
Last weekend, the country’s President, Dilma Rousseff, fresh from being named the world’s second most powerful woman (after Chancellor Merkel of Germany) by Forbes magazine, was one of the guests of honour at the 50th anniversary summit of the African Union in Ethiopia. A few days later she was playing host to the American Vice-President, Joe Biden, who confirmed Ms Rousseff has been invited to Washington on a state visit in October.
This one week in President Rousseff’s diary demonstrates something significant that has changed without much coverage in the western media – the unique role Brazil has been carving out for itself in world affairs. Brasilia sees itself as the emerging power that’s uniquely placed to be the intermediary between the established powers in the global North and the global South.
So far, Brazil has played this role with some success in international trade talks and climate change negotiations, but has had less success persuading other countries to support its bid for a permanent seat on a reformed UN Security Council or its ill-fated attempt – along with Turkey – in 2010 to broker a deal between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
What lies behind this ambition? Continue reading