Thursday, March 15, 2012

Not so stately Brazil visit

A current recurring topic is U.S. treatment of Brazil. The United States has tended not to acknowledge its economic and political influence, slighting the country in various ways. There is a lot of trade and extensive dialogue between the two countries, so it's important not to blow the differences too much out of proportion.

Nonetheless, I have to agree with Andres Oppenheimer on the Obama's administration's bungling of President Dilma Rousseff's visit to the United States.

Brazilian officials are miffed by the fact that despite Brazil’s emergence as a global power, the White House has not granted Rousseff’s trip to Washington the status of “state visit,” the highest-level diplomatic distinction for such trips. State visits generally come along with a black-tie state dinner at the White House, a formal address by the visiting leader to Congress, and week-long cultural events. 
The White House’s explanation was that, because this is an election year in the United States, Obama does not grant state visits. But the Brazilian press was quick to note that British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Washington on a state visit two weeks before Rousseff’s trip. 
An article in Friday’s O Estado de Sao Paulo, under the headline “Dilma will be welcomed by Obama without a state visitor’s honors,” noted that Chinese President Hu Jintao and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were granted state visits to Washington in 2011 and 2009, respectively. Not mentioned in the story, but perhaps harder to swallow for Brazilian officials, was that Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón made a state visit to Washington in 2010.

Read more here:

What's up with that? Oppenheimer notes a variety of other important slights that involve not only diplomatic problems but also large investments. This just seems dumb, a needless insult to a country we should be getting closer to.


Brian,  8:52 PM  

Well, if it makes the Brazilians feel any better, Cameron's visit was technically considered an "official visit" (albeit with a state dinner) since state visits are reserved only for heads of state (the Queen).

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