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By Andres Oppenheimer
When President Barack Obama welcomes Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the
Brazilian officials are miffed by the fact that despite Brazil's emergence as a global power, the
An article in Friday's
"Ninety-five percent of international relations is symbolic, and state visits are important," said Peter Hakim, president emeritus of the Inter American Dialogue think tank, at Monday's conference on Brazil-U.S. Relations at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington. "The fact is that Brazil wanted this to be a state visit, and that they felt a bit insulted."
Carl Meacham, a top staffer of the Republican minority at the
Diplomatic niceties aside, there are several other issues that are raising bilateral tensions. Among them:
- Brazilians are taken aback by the
- Brazilian officials are concerned by a
- Brazilians have long been irked by the fact that when Obama visited India in 2010, he openly supported India's quest for a permanent seat at the
- While the United States has a "strategic dialogue" -- a regular meeting at the ministerial level to advance common agendas -- with China and India, and a nuclear technology exchange program with India, it does not have a similar agreement with Brazil.
- U.S. officials, in turn, are frustrated by Brazil's alignment with some of the world's worst dictatorships, especially Iran. While U.S. officials like Rousseff better than her predecessor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, they were dismayed when she criticized human-rights abuses at the U.S. Guantánamo base during her recent visit to Cuba, but didn't utter a word about human rights on the island.
My opinion: The fact that Rousseff will go ahead with her visit to Washington despite not being granted a state visit proves that she is eager to improve U.S.-Brazilian ties. She knows that Brazil is too dependent on raw-material exports to China, and badly needs to increase its exports of manufactured goods to the United States.
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