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Insubordinate: Itamaraty


Source: Independencia Sul Americana

Resolved: The insubordinate Brazilian diplomatic corps should follow the nationalist line of President Rousseff.

Context: Heads roll over a diplomatic end-run that resulted in the granting of asylum and the travel into exile of a Bolivian senator.

The task that falls to recently nominated foreign secretary LUIZ ALBERTO FIGUEIREDO is to place the diplomatic corps at the disposal of Brazilian interests and not American interests, as the Toucan Patriota did.

The development-oriented nationalism of President Dilma has yet to earn the decisive support of the diplomatic corps for her foreign policy. The diplomats of the Casa de Rio Branco have also refrained from defending her nationalism economic policy, which denounced the exchange-rate wars underwritten by U.S. monetary policy, which exports inflation to emerging nations, weakening them in the context of foreign relations.

When Patriota was at the head of the foreign ministry, he was extremely weak. He left Treasury secretary Guido Mantega to do battle alone with imperialist powers that adopt expansionist, potentially hyperinflationary, monetary policies.

The protectionism of Washington was never deemed worth of a reprimand from Patriota. Is Patriota really a patriot? He and his neoliberal colleagues preferred the vision of the White House according to which it is acting in defense of American interests, as it defaults on the public debt, reduces the interest rate to zero and beyond, in order to awaken the economic colossus of Uncle Sam, which could no longer count, as it did after the second world war, on the keynesian arsenal to drive global demand so as not to drive the dollar into the abyss because of a level of government debt that was already too high.

Itamaraty has been cowardly in failing to state, with emphasis, that Brazilian interests are opposed to the strategy favored by the Fed, which impoverishes the capitalist periphery. The same goes for the kid gloves diplomats, with their notions of nobility, who have not really complied with the government’s policy of social redemption, of taking the side of the poor as a nationalist development strategy.

The diplomats have sat on the fence when faced with the arguments of the neoliberals, for whom betting on consumerism, supported by governmental subsidies to the poor, will not resolve poverty but will interfere with investment. They are hoodwinked by the neoliberal dogam according to which public spending is an obstacle to investment, when the fact is that it works the other way around, as demonstrated by the growth of GDP in the second quarter.

IBGE has confirmed that investments have grown 9% in relation to the same period a year ago. Brazilian diplomacy lacks strategic economic vision needed to promote Brazil’s principal asset — its social policies — as an economic triumph.  This policy could, for example, be exported to Africa by disseminating the Bolsa-Família family subsidy to every nation on the continent.

These kid-glove diplomats cannot see that this is more than merely an economic program It is, at heart, a political program that strengthens democracy by guaranteeing the right of consumption to the socially excluded, conferring full citizenship. Would it not be seemly for Brazilian diplomats to commemorate this nationalist triumph in the global forums?

Under Patriota, however, Itamarati busied itself with idle chit chat, much as the Toucans did when they occupied the building. Their silence was a silent homage to the government’s opponents. Brazilian foreign policy, formulated by a conservative elite and commanded by Patriota, showed us that it is ashamed of the poor, without realizing that without the poor, the nobility would have fragemented by now. Withou the Dilma-Lulist social policies, at which Patriota turns up his nose, irritating Dilma, Brazil would be sunk in a vast ideological confusion, heading for a civil war.

The elitism of the foreign service, meanwhile, is, the principal culprit of the diplomatic comedy of errors that has recently occurred, clouding our relations with Bolívia. If the predominantly Toucan spirit of the foreign service acted to support a politically conservative elite in Brazil, sold out to the interests of the United States, Brazil would have invaded Bolivia when Morales turned into a Getúlio Vargas, nationalizing the national oil industry.

If the Toucans had their way, they would favor the creation of a territorial enclave that would facilitate the intervention of the U.S. in South America. It has been Dilma-Lulist nationalism that foiled this tendency of the reactionary right among the diplomatic corps, which are behind the diplomatic skirmishes with Morales.

The new foreign minister,Figueiredo, has to put this house in order. Otherwise, it would be better appoint a business leader to endow Brazilian diplomacy with a commercial vision. How about Abílio Diniz for foreign minister, someone who could export the Bolsa Família to emerging nations. As one of the major retail executives in the world, would understand what was at stake.