Celso Amorim discusses Brazil's role in the world and US-Brazil ties
July 8, 2011
Author: Sarah Kneezle, Coordinator, The Future of Diplomacy Project
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: The Future of Diplomacy Project
Diplomatic power is more important than military power for Brazil, according to Celso Amorim, the country’s longest serving Foreign Minister and former Fisher Family Fellow at the Future of Diplomacy Project.
During his interview with faculty director Nicholas Burns in April, Amorim emphasized Brazil’s continued emphasis on negotiations, invoking the country’s national hero, Rio Branco—a diplomat.
“He solved all our problems with our neighbors,” he said, “and having 10 neighbors, Brazil had to develop diplomatic skills.”
Amorim continued by saying that diplomacy should be exhausted before a country enters a military conflict.
“The cost of military action is very big—in terms of human life, in terms of money, and in the terms of creating animosity in the long run, so I’m a firm believer in diplomacy,” he said.
Nicholas Burns, who served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005-2008, and Minister Amorim both agreed that Brazil should become a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). But Burns cautioned that some critics think that Brazil will not authorize the use of force in international conflicts.
“I have no doubt that, for instance, in the first Gulf War, Brazil would have voted for military action,” Amorim said. “[However] we prefer, of course, the use of diplomatic means, but we can envision a situation in which the use of force is necessary.”
In the interview, Minister Amorim also addressed the US-Brazil relationship, citing that the two countries must work towards a strategic partnership rather than just a friendship.
“It’s not easy for the United States to come to grips with the fact that there is another global power in the hemisphere,” he said, urging the US to accept Brazil’s new role in the world.
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