Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 04/2011

Brazil and the United States: The Need for Strategic Engagement

Luigi R. Einaudi

March 2011

Institute for National Strategic Studies


Brazil's economic performance, political stability, and cultural vitality ensure that Brasilia's foreign and defense policies will help shape global as well as regional politics in the decades ahead. More than a Latin American or even Third World leader, Brazil has become an autonomous global power. U.S. relations with Brazil have evolved from alliance during and immediately after World War II to skeptical distance today. Distrust is exacerbated by outmoded stereotypes and hubris on both sides. In light of President Obama's upcoming trip to Brazil on March 19-20, this research article provides an insightful look at potential ways to strengthen the U.S.-Brazil bilateral relationship and examines what both governments need to do in order to get there. Ambassador Einaudi argues that three practical approaches would have a substantial, positive impact. Both countries should consult widely on global issues, strengthen personal and institutional ties, and learn to cooperate more effectively on conflict resolution, energy, and trade. Ambassador Einaudi is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Center for Strategic Research, Institute for National Strategic Studies, at the National Defense University. He is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. After his State Department career, Ambassador Einaudi was elected Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States in 2000, and served also as Acting Secretary General in 2004-2005.