Lula’s government seems to be caught between not confronting Washington and preventing the obstruction of economic vessels communicating with Beijing, writes Alon Feuerwerker

For decades, the acceptance of Brazil as a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations Organization has been a goal of our foreign policy. The demand always provoked some reasonable doubts. One of them: in addition to the opportunity for personal protagonism, what good would a fixed chair be if Brazil does not have the power of veto?

Of course, one option would be to abolish the veto power, as has sometimes been suggested. But the chance of that happening is zero.

The UN is also referred to in frequent speeches in defense of global governance, when issues go beyond national borders. This would be the case of climate change and the fight against hunger. There are already planetary institutions and articulations to take care of these matters, but without decision-making power. For supranational decisions, with the exception of those adopted by the Security Council, need to be endorsed nationally. They are recommendations.

More often than not, William Shakespeare would say, it’s usually much ado about nothing. Or almost nothing.

If the initiatives for the reformulation of the Council and for the expansion of a global governance based on the entity headquartered in New York did not manage to walk when the United Nations showed some ascendancy, even more difficulties will be faced in the new era marked by the “deglobalization”. This deserves a separate analysis, but, as a result of it, the UN has been rapidly losing substance, with the Western impulse for the blocs and institutions dominated by the powers of the political North to take their place

How will Brazil update its strategies and discourses in a scenario where Brics tends to go one way and G7 EU to the other? A scenario in which the watchword of the political West is to disconnect from the candidate for superpower that comes from the political South, China? A framework in which the UN continues to be the depository of the rituals established in the post-war period, but its decisions, or its inability to make them, have no practical effect other than providing fuel for the news?

Brazilian foreign policy seems to be groping in search of a new point of balance, between the growing political pressures, which tend to become unbearable, from Atlanticism and the gravitational force of the partners mostly responsible for the Brazilian economy to continue moving forward. The Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva government seems to be caught between not confronting Washington at this time of high tension and preventing the obstruction of economic vessels communicating with Beijing. You will need talent.

One possible path is that of India and Turkey, active neutrality. But the Turks have the trump card of being the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and not offending India is strategic for the West. The latter cannot afford to push the Indians close to the entente in fact between Russians, Chinese and Iranians.

Brazil finds itself restricted by that proverb initially made for Mexicans, but which the Monroe Doctrine always makes clear that it is for the whole of the Americas: “So far from God and so close to the United States.”.


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