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. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida

quinta-feira, 23 de dezembro de 2010

Lula's diplomacy - publicado em 2009

Um ano depois, apenas, tomo conhecimento da publicação de um trabalho meu num boletim português, mas em inglês. Apenas me limito a transcrever:


The diplomacy of Lula’s government: Political foundations and agenda priorities

Paulo Roberto de Almeida
IPRIS Lusophone Countries Bulletin (Lisbon: Portuguese Institute of International Relations and Security – IPRIS; link: http://www.ipris.org; December 2009, n. 2, p. 3-4; links: http://www.ipris.org/php/download.php?fid=27 e, para os boletins: http://www.ipris.org/?menu=6&page=57).

In Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva’s government, Brazil’s foreign policy can be defined – according to the apparent order of relevance – as a conceptual hybrid among: (a) the Partido dos Trabalhadores’s views and political preferences (in particular those of President Lula da Silva and of former International Secretary and current foreign policy advisor to the President, Marco Aurélio Garcia); (b) The Chancery leaders’ personal political preferences (namely those of State Minister Celso Amorim and of Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, Secretary-General between 2003 and 2009; the latter has a bigger “theoretical” role, being one of the rare examples of a diplomat who writes for a larger audience, particularly in aca­demic circles); (c) the Brazilian Chancery’s (known as Itamaraty) views and diplomatic traditions, strictu sensu, though tempered by the new concep­tions and political priorities of political leaders (they come in last, but they’re relevant from an operational point of view).
The first two conceptual models are the most important as far as political agenda-setting is concerned, while the last one has a more important function in the area of technical support and operational substantiation. Acting mainly as an agent in the procedural field, the Chancery has a lesser role in determining the government’s political orientation. The large number of players involved in foreign policy – compared with the relatively homogenous standard in the past, when foreign policy advisors to the President were career diplomats – might entail higher risks to the conceptual and operational unity of Brazilian diplomacy.
The theoretical views and conceptual universe of the different actors in­volved in foreign policy-making mark a return to the developmentalist and nationalist tradition of in mid-twentieth century Brazilian political thought, to which the Brazilian Left made several contributions.
From a practical level, this overall orientation has led to several new initiatives. The hyper-activist approach to operational diplomacy seems designed to overcome the legacy of presidential diplomacy of Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s government – criticized as being part of a “cursed inheritance” of alleged submission to external interests and of suffering from a deficit of sovereignty as well as poor defense of national interests.
Three major issues have been at the of the top of the foreign policy agenda: (a) facilitating Mercosul’s reinforcement and expansion; (b) obtaining a permanent seat in the United Nations’ Security Council; and (c) securing regional trade agreements, while resisting intrusive agreements with major powers. These remain the three greatest diplomatic priorities of Lula’s government: not only were they expressly mentioned in the President’s inaugural speech on 1st January 2003, but they were later reaffirmed in 2007, at beginning of Lula’s second term.
Other issues also appear on the diplomatic agenda: (d) encouraging and stimulating regional integration (which has had few practical results); (e) creating selective strategic alliances in the context of South-South diplomacy: IBAS, interregional summit meetings with Africa and Arab countries, as well as the BRIC group (Russia, India and China); (f) becoming an influential protagonist on an international level in the pursuit of a permanent seat on the UN’s Security Council and with the objective of creating a new balance of powers on a global scale; (g) reforming international economic institutions; (h) maintaining the existing environmental plan which benefits the biggest polluters in the developing world, while attempting to shift the costs of those policies onto developed countries; (i) taking action to combat hunger by mobilizing international aid and conceiving “innovative financing mechanisms” (which contradict Brazil’s interests, like the Tobin Tax).
These overall goals are the government’s current range of foreign policy priorities, the implementation of which requires the use of traditional diplomatic instruments as well as other “tools”. Professional diplomats and presidential aides are not the only players to take part in this process of hyperactive diplomacy: informal players (party members, for example), businessmen, leaders of public opinion and NGO representatives also take part in the system.
The multiplication of channels and participants could impair unity of command and create obstacles to the implementation of Brazilian foreign policy, the scope of which requires the concerted effort of many sectors of the government. Formulating and executing external policy through a great number of channels invites dispersion of action, and may even lead to contradicting orders: this could result in overlapping policies and loss of credibility for the country.
Additionally, besides making it difficult to manage items on the political agenda, an exaggerated presidential hyper activism – especially when negotiating issues of regional importance – makes the chain of command unclear by involving the President from the start of negotiations. Hence, far-reaching diplomatic decisions may be made impulsively and with­out the necessary background work and reflection, or under the strong influence of other national leaders.
Concerning its diplomatic intentions, the Lula government has been more outspoken than it has been successful in obtaining palpable results for Brazil. While it cannot be denied that Brazil has become a more influential actor on the international scene and is better equipped to call attention to its interests, this gain in international prominence could also be credited to its continuing internal economic stability and growing ability to attract in­ternational capital – the foundations of which were lain during Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s (FHC) presidency. Indeed, the fundamental compo­nents of the Brazilian economy were established at the beginning of FHC’s second Administration in 1999: a target system for inflation, an exchange rate fluctuation regime, primary surplus in the management of the national budget, and a law concerning fiscal responsibility that prevents high-ranking politicians from spending irresponsibly and leaving debt for their successors.
It was precisely because of this good economic governance – labeled derogatorily as “neoliberal” by the traditional Left – that the Lula government was well received by the G8 governments. The current government has at its disposal large resources for publicity and can count on the general public’s ignorance of its foreign policy agenda, given that Brazil has few research centers dedicated to international issues. Consequently, this government has great latitude of action and may count on the respect the Itamaraty’s professional diplomacy has garnered over time. More importantly, perhaps, when it comes to its immediate needs and propagandistic objectives, Lula’s government may rely on a large capital of sympathy acquired (or to be acquired) by many social actors that were seduced by its apparently progressive external policy. This acts as a kind of practical compensation for the more conservative aspects of the government’s economic policy, keeping Brazil in balance.

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