The fuss surrounding the agreement made by Iran, Turkey and Brazil has been taking an absurd shape since part of the media welcomed the initiative and other part – with clear electoral interests – along with the U.S. government, criticizes Brazil with arguments ranging from wounded critics to declarations such as that Brazil should not meddle where it was not called – what we take for pure pooch syndrome.
It is necessary to distance ourselves from ultra-nationalists and patriots who cry out of joy to the front line, putting Brazil on a pedestal, placing the country in the position of “nation of peace” and etc., but it’s certainly impossible denying the fact that Brazil’s position deserves applause.
Unlike much of the world opinion, which simply accepts the primer imposed by the U.S. and wants to promote over again a war and drown Iran in their own oil, Brazil knew how to be thoughtful, proactive and responsible. Celso Amorim is a strategist and negotiator to envy and Brazil played their cards right and managed to persuade Iran to accept an agreement along the lines of earlier proposed by the UN (via the Security Council) and the U.S. that Iranian uranium would be enriched outside their borders – among other details.
It must be noted, Brazil, along with Turkey, managed to persuade Iran to accept virtually the same arrangement proposed earlier, and anyway, the U.S. seems to feel the necessity of war – even if its own arm industry is already at full steam supplying troops in Afghanistan and Iraq – and refuse to accept this agreement.
The ability of the Minister Celso Amorim in negotiating agreements is known and the Brazilian diplomacy has been praised throughout the world. President Lula, in addition to his charisma, showed prepared to forge alliances and resolve conflicts in the international arena.
Common comment among Brazilians is that we never had a president so respected both internally and externally and a minister as proactive and, above all, that do not shame the country – is always good to remember the case of the former minister, Celso Lafer, who took of his shoes in a U.S. airport to be searched.
The U.S. imposed an agreement with weapons in hand, wanted to force Iran to kneel. As usual, they were defeated. Brazil showed similar agreement, but through dialogue, negotiations, arguments, and came out the winner. The strength of the weapons commonly used by the U.S. has, for a long time, not working.
The Security Council is willing to go over all the long process of negotiation in recent months and the agreement very favorable to Brazil just to please the Empire.
The U.S. could not push, scare or condemn Iran, and Brazil, with goodwill and conversation, did it. The Empire then refuses to accept that a poor cousin has done his job, and without dirtying their hands.
If Iran will effectively comply with this agreement – and here I follow the same reasoning of Celso Amorim – is a different matter. It is for the UN and other organizations to take care of the agreement, the effectiveness of which was signed or at least agreed. What matters is whether the agreement was reached, with diplomatic pressure and negotiations, and not through force of weapons or inconsequential threats.
Unfortunately, we live in a world of marked cards, while Brazil was negotiating, the countries that comprise the Security Council had already written a document demanding that Iran should kneel down, cutting funding, closing and locking accounts and making it even more difficult the life of the inhabitants of the country.
Contrary to popular belief, of the common sense, the imposition of sanctions only serves to further radicalize the opposition, only serves to further agitate the spirits and derail any kind of open and fair negotiation. The penalties, I recall, affect the population, the Iranian people, not only radicalized the radicals, but also increases the suffering of those who feel the shortage caused by cuts following the punishment.
In Brazil, the mainstream media tried, as usual, to actively criticize the country for allegedly support a dictatorial regime, when in fact President Lula only supported the right of a State. The deliberate confusion between government (therefore election and the way people see it) and state (as an international actor) has been continuously perpetuated by the media, with clear electoral interests – 2010 is a presidential election year.
Without fear of exaggeration, what we see is perhaps the breaking point of the current international system. We walk to a multipolarity that neither the U.S. nor Europe has the ultimate power of persuasion. In fact, the ultimate military power is still the U.S. – see Iraq invaded against the will of the UN and the vast majority of countries in the world – but the moral power is no longer in the hands of U.S. or even Europe, in a period in which it was expected a growth of its importance in the international scene with the European Union, to the point of facing U.S. power in several areas, shows itself as nothing but a docile doormat of the wills of the U.S.
It seems is more like the time of some soft Power, of more negotiation and understanding. That’s the Brazilian role.
Against Iraq they were forced to invade the country – soft power didn’t work at all -, the same applies to Afghanistan where their weapons has not been getting the Taliban and their choice to govern, Hamid Karzai is a restless and unreliable puppet. We stand in this early twenty-first century, if I may prophesy, at the end of American power as we knew it for much of the twentieth century.
And at the same time Brazil emerges as a new important actor on the international scene even if it’s not exactly a power, has the ability to walk between those powers and to be heard. The time, apparently focus more on a medium power with bargaining capability rather than the mere power of weapons by great powers. We’re talking about persuasion and not simply war.
This feature is a typical trading of the Brazilian diplomacy that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, was seen wrapped in possible conflict with regional neighbors like Bolivia and the Bolivian Syndicate (an American organization within Bolivia) for the possession of what today is the state of Acre. The Baron of Rio Branco, our foreign minister at the time knew how to negotiate and to draw boundaries without a single drop of blood. Rio Branco basically set a precedent and Celso Amorim seems to be his best student.
As with the Rio Branco, which changed the axis of Brazilian foreign policy from the UK to the U.S., Celso Amorim and Lula are changing the axis again, but not to a country or a particular power, but for the multipolarity, to the relevance of international organizations like the UN or the UNASUR, which they basically created.
The firmness with which the Brazilian diplomacy has been treating the integration of Latin America is further evidence of the conciliatory and visionary character of the Brazilian government. But obviously, this policy still faces the old game of pressures, particularly in the Security Council. As during the time of Oswaldo Aranha, Brazil is again trying to have a more visible and important role on the UN and the international arena itself.
The adoption of sanctions against Iran, however, far from proving that the power of the American Empire is intact, just shows how power and influence to be heard only by the mere comparison of forces has its days numbered. The military victory and the “club” that is the Security Council means a real defeat in the field of morality and Brazil has only to win while keeping his call for peace and negotiations.
Even now, a few months after the agreement itself and of the sanctions, Brazil, Turkey and Iran still hold on to the reached agreement calling for more negotiations and for a peaceful solution for the problem.
- Global voices online: http://globalvoicesonline.org – acesso em 5 de julho de 2010.
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Raphael Tsavkko Garcia é Graduado em Relações Internacionais pela Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo – PUC-SP e Mestrando em Comunicação pela Faculdade Cásper Líbero (firstname.lastname@example.org).