The United States should collaborate with Brazil on security matters both bilaterally and multilaterally, particularly when they reinforce Brazilian interests as well, and our interests are more often in synch than is considered by either side. We need not be in perfect agreement on the desired solution to dialogue meaningfully on security threats. Brazil’s voluntary decision not to pursue nuclear weapons makes it a potential ally not only on regional, but global security questions, including those involving Iran and nuclear non-proliferation writ large.
We have opportunities to improve our communication on military matters as well. For instance, the decision in April 2008 to reinstate the Fourth Fleet of the U.S. Navy in the South Atlantic Ocean was publicly announced without prior formal diplomatic consultation with our regional allies, including Brazil. In the existing highly charged hemispheric security environment, this surprise led to an exaggerated negative reaction from the Lula administration and the Brazilian Congress, and gave Chavez an easy rally cry. Had the United States consulted Brazil and other key allies first, explaining the focus of the policy change and highlighting the collateral benefits, the conflict created by the Fourth Fleet reinstatement could have been diminished. Efforts in this area have improved, and we should seek to maintain consistent communication with regional allies like Brazil on military and security matters.
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