Friday, May 14, 2010

Brazil and Iran

Boz has some links that use fairly alarmist language about Lula's engagement with Iran (though, to be fair, he does not use that sort of tone).  The upshot is that Lula is gambling his reputation and even the stature of his country, because if Iran balks, then Lula looks obstructionist and damages his relationship with the U.S. and Europe.

I'm not ready to buy this.  One problem is that the Obama administration is not talking like that.  In fact, one senior State Department official says "I think we would view the Lula visit as perhaps the last big shot at engagement."  From this perspective, whatever Lula does is win-win for the U.S.  He convinces Iran to back down, great.  If he doesn't, then it makes Iran look unreasonable and increases support for sanctions.

This is all very fluid, of course, and there are many unknowns.  If Brazil continues to resist sanctions, how isolated is it?  Where does Russia stand?  How belligerent does Iran become?  How pushy does the Obama administration become?  There are many more similar questions.

In short, reports of the Brazilian foreign policy apocalypse are premature.


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