Any action Brazil takes in Africa should be based on peaceful cooperation and not military escalation, writes Nikolas Kozloff.
Behind the scenes, US diplomats are reportedly becoming very leery about Brazil's rise on the world stage. An exporting dynamo with a growing middle class, Brazil has recently sought a greater role in global affairs and is discombobulating Washington in the process. Classified US diplomatic cables recently disclosed by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks underscore such geopolitical tensions.
In Lima, for instance, US ambassador to Peru Curtis Struble wrote that Washington was enmeshed in an "undeclared contest" with Brazil for political influence in the Andean region. Back in the US meanwhile, right-wing hawks at the Brookings Institution view Brazil's rise with trepidation, remarking gloomily that the country "appears determined to position itself as the Latin American hegemon as it deepens its investment in various schemes of regional political and economic integration that pointedly exclude the United States".
Whatever its long term reservations about Brazil, however, Washington has apparently come round to the view that it needs the South American nation's help in the here and now. Speaking at the Brazilian War College in Rio de Janeiro recently, US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta remarked, "This is a relationship, the United States and Brazil... between two global powers, and we welcome Brazil's growing strength. We support Brazil as a global leader, and seek closer defence cooperation because we believe that a stronger and more globally engaged Brazil will help enhance international security for all of us."