U.S. should support Brazil’s Security Council bid

Peter Hakim – The Miami Herald, 03/13/2011

President Obama will be warmly greeted by huge crowds in Brazil when he arrives March 19 for the beginning of a Latin American tour, but only modest progress can be expected on the agenda of foreign-policy problems confronting the two countries. There is only one thing that could dramatically elevate the significance of Obama’s visit — the U.S. president’s unambiguous endorsement of Brazil for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Obama’s support of India’s permanent membership highlighted his successful visit to New Delhi last year. That is the yardstick against which Brazilians will measure Obama’s visit to Rio and Brasilia. They want Obama also to appropriately recognize their country’s expanded global status. Nothing would do more to ease the palpable tensions that mark Brazil-U.S. relations. Building on newly installed Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff’s call for closer bilateral ties, it would set the stage for greater cooperation and could well change the dynamic of a currently unsatisfactory relationship.

Washington would simply be acknowledging Brazil’s new global prominence and getting out in front of the inevitable. Eventually, Brazil and other developing nations will secure permanent spots on the Security Council. International organizations are already accommodating the growing importance and assertiveness of developing nations. The Group of 20, whose members include major emerging economies, has displaced the Group of Seven, all highly industrialized countries, as the principal institution for addressing global economic challenges. Europe and United States will soon lose their monopoly-hold on IMF and World Bank leadership. Expanding the U.N. Security Council will take longer, but it will happen, and Brazil is a pretty sure bet to acquire one of the new seats.

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