On the heels of my post yesterday on Brazilian diplomacy, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Susan Kaufman Purcell that claims Brazil cannot be "relied on to deal with political and security problems in Latin America in ways that are also compatible with U.S. interests"
In other words, Brazil is not interested in doing what the U.S. wants. This should not be some sort of shocker. However, Purcell's argument goes even further with unfortunate logic:
It seems that a multilateral approach is antithetical to U.S. interests. Yet those procedures are critical to achieving substantive goals. The alternative is alienating everyone and thereby achieving no goals at all.
Several conclusions can be drawn from Brazil's behavior. First, Brazil wants to prevent the U.S. from expanding its military involvement in South America, which Brazil regards as its sphere of influence. Second, Brazil much prefers working within multilateral institutions, rather than acting unilaterally.
Within these institutions, Brazil seeks to integrate all regional players, achieve consensus and avoid conflict and fragmentation—all worthy goals. But these are procedural, rather than substantive, goals.