O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

sexta-feira, 8 de junho de 2012

As duas vias da América Latina: protecionismo e integracao global - Stratfor

Existem hoje, na América Latina, três grupos de países, simplificando um pouco: os globalizados (tipo Chile e México); os reticentes (tipo Brasil e Argentina), e os bolivarianos (enfim, não encontrei termo melhor para designar os malucos que estão querendo voltar meio século atrás, como Venezuela, Equador, Bolívia, e alguns outros). Peru e Colômbia estão entre os globalizadores e os reticentes, dependendo de quem governa e de quais são as políticas econômicas: atualmente estão mais próximas da integração global, mas sempre pode mudar.
Enquanto alguns se inserem no mundo, outros preferem a política do avestruz. Pior: procuram encontrar bodes expiatórios para os problemas que enfrentam. Nunca é culpa deles, apenas dos outros, do capitalismo perverso, do tsunami financeiro, da guerra cambial, enfim, qualquer coisa, menos as bobagens internas.
Assim vai a América Latina: alguns realistas, outros surrealistas...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida 

Stratfor, June 8, 2012 | 0554 GMT

Leaders from Colombia, Chile, Peru and Mexico gathered in the Chilean Atacama Desert this week to sign an agreement pledging unity under the newly minted Pacific Alliance. First envisioned a year ago during a meeting in Lima, the alliance's first move will be to remove all bilateral visa restrictions, and the countries hope that the bloc will evolve into a multilateral free trade area. The Pacific Alliance unites four of Latin America's most trade- and business-friendly countries. According to Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, the bloc intends to focus explicitly on developing a trade agenda with Asia. The agreement is also sure to impact trade with the United States, a major export destination for all three countries.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the agreement is the way it contrasts with Latin America's other major trade grouping: Mercosur, or the Market of the South. Mercosur groups Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, and its trade policies inevitably cater to the needs of the two biggest partners -- Brazil and Argentina. The group's reaction to global economic turmoil has been to withdraw behind trade barriers in an economic policy that closely mirrors the import substitution industrialization theory that heavily influenced Latin American policy during the middle of the 20th century.
The contrasts between the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur reveal historical divisions and political orientations. They also highlight the extreme geographic barriers to integration within the region.
Latin America can be loosely conceptualized as a string of habitable "islands" separated by the massive geographic barriers formed by the Caribbean Sea, the Andean mountain chain and the impenetrable Amazon rainforest. The most contiguous fertile territory with the potential for development exists in the Rio de la Plata river basin, which is divided among the Mercosur members. Mexico is a part of North America and is naturally more oriented toward the United States and Canada than it is toward Latin American states.
The Andean nations should be considered in two separate groupings. The Caribbean Andes comprise Colombia and Venezuela and fit squarely into the geopolitical and economic backyard of the United States. The South American Andes, on the other hand, find themselves isolated not only from the Rio de la Plata countries, but also from the direct attention of the United States -- being as they are squarely located in South America.
What all the Pacific Alliance members share is a shoreline on the Pacific Ocean and an abiding interest in trade with Asia and the United States. Certainly interbloc trade will create opportunities to generate wealth. The opportunities for multilateral trade are inherently limited, however, as the Andean members are primarily reliant on commodity exports, and Mexico is the only country in the grouping with a well-developed industrial base. These countries do not have the same kind of natural geographic linkages that characterize a grouping like Mercosur, and nothing like Mercosur's initial intentions for a customs union should be expected out of the Pacific.
The Pacific Alliance is in many ways simply a maritime trading pact that will attempt to present a united regional front in trans-Pacific trade issues. This is a political and economic arena that is inherently dominated by the agendas of the United States and China, a fact exacerbated by growing U.S. attention to East Asia. But even four countries that display so many similar characteristics will find it difficult to forge a united bargaining position. Like many Latin American trading blocs before it, the Pacific Alliance will face the challenge of attempting to smooth over divergent and competing domestic interests while remaining geographically isolated from one another.
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