In spring 2010, Brazil made a quixotic effort with Turkey to mediate the West's long-running conflict with Iran. Although this gambit failed--“We got our fingers burned,” Foreign Minister Celso Amorim confided to the Financial Times--the affair underscored Brazil's determination to play on the global stage. Ironically, the ploy may also have harmed Brazil's chances for a UN Security Council seat.
After two decades of galloping growth, Brazil has joined the top rank of emerging powers, just behind China and India. Its diplomatic ambitions have kept pace. Under flamboyant President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil has flexed its muscles within the BRIC coalition, barged into Middle East diplomacy, secured a place in the G20, shaped global climate and trade negotiations, and demanded greater clout within the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.