Brazil v/s Argentina

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Even though Brazil is ruled by socialists, just like Argentina, I really like what Brazil has been doing. Socialism without ideology, boots on the ground practical recognition of the marketplace and not some pie-in-the-sky idea of redistribution of a fixed pool of money. Walter Russel Mead likes Brazil too and writes the following at The American Interest:
Something Real, For A Change
Most of what people write and say about international relations is sheer claptrap. That is especially true when diplomats and distinguished journalists convene. Get yourself on the international rubber chicken circuit and you will soon discover a world of pompous gasbags relentlessly pounding their audiences with barrages of platitudes. Worse, you may start flapping your lips at a conference one day and discover that while you are making noise, and everyone is nodding sagely, you aren�t saying anything at all.

There are whole bureaucracies devoted to whomping up air souffl�s: to making utterly worthless and pointless exercises in international jet setting look like serious events. Visits of heads of state are particularly fertile terrain for the political equivalent of cotton candy: brightly-dyed insignificance spun out to occupy the largest possible space with the smallest conceivable amount of real matter.

Spurious �breakthroughs,� vacuous discussions of �chemistry,� �strategic partnerships�: the Preacher said it best in Ecclesiastes. It is striving after wind and a weariness of the flesh.

But every now and then something actually happens, and even a summit meeting can register a real change in relations between countries. Something like this happened when Edward VII visited France in 1903, and it happened again during President Obama�s recent visit to Brazil. The relationship between the two countries is changing in truly momentous ways, and while the visit didn�t cause these changes (which have been gathering force for twenty years), it did help crystallize perceptions.
And the money shot:
The US withdrawal from a political role in South America created a vacuum; Brazil�s cautious steps to fill some of that vacuum have created new common interests between the two most populous democracies in the hemisphere. If the US had been plotting against Hugo Chavez, for example, Brazil would have felt obligated to show Venezuela some love (however much the Brazilians disapproved of Chavez�s economic and political program). But with the shadow of Uncle Sam in retreat, Brazil has been free to handle the Bolivarean left in its own way, and the result has been better for both Brazil and the United States than anything Washington could have done.

President Lula killed the Bolivarean revolution with kindness; he choked it with butter. Lula�s Brazil stuck up for Venezuela at international gatherings and danced with it at parties. But all the while, Lula�s Brazil was destroying the political logic of the Bolivareans by demonstrating that a pluralistic democracy integrated into the global market can do more for the poor than incompetent populist blowhards. Chavez talked; Lula delivered, giving Brazilians (and especially the poor) rising living standards while enhancing rather than reducing their civil liberties. Thanks to Lula, Chavez looks more like a survival from a bygone era than like the cutting edge of Latin America�s future.
And now we invest in Brazil with the assurances that our investments will not be nationalized as in Argentina. Lots more at the link. Hat tip to Insty

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on April 16, 2011 1:18 PM.

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