Hannover Messe 2019 Industry 4.0. / Second

The Hannover Messe is one of the world’s largest trade fairs. It is held on the Hanover Fairground in Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany. Typically, there are about 6,500 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors. The Hannover Messe started in 1947 in an undamaged factory building in Laatzen, south of Hanover, by an arrangement of the British military government in order to boost the economic advancement of post-war … Continue reading Hannover Messe 2019 Industry 4.0. / Second

Hannover Messe 2019 Industry 4.0. / Third

In the 1980s, the growing information and telecommunication industry demanded the organizer Deutsche Messe AG to split the fair.The Hanover Fair now covers all areas of industrial technology. Hanover Trade Fair, 1 – 5 April 2019 is a unique platform for introducing and explaining new products. Photos, video and publications from the website by Photo Reports is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International … Continue reading Hannover Messe 2019 Industry 4.0. / Third

Germany CeBIT 2017 / Second day

CeBIT has been traditionally the largest industry trade show held every year. It was established in 1970 by the Ground Hall in New World, then the largest exhibition hall in the world. The 2008 expo was marred by the raids of 51 exhibitors for the patent number of visitors. On November 28, 2018, Deutsche Messe AG announcedthat due to declining visitor and exhibitioner attendance, CeBIT … Continue reading Germany CeBIT 2017 / Second day

Human Rights China’s Relationship with Chile

CHINA. Human Rights. China’s Relationship with Chile: The Struggle for the Future Regime of the Pacific

Evan Ellis – Assistant Professor of National Security

The International Information Portal on Human Rights - Evan Ellis

The article, based on research and interactions during my November 2017 engagement in Santiago.

Though superpower diplomacy dominated coverage of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) leaders summit in November, China’s upgrading of a free-trade agreement with Chile served to highlight the strength of an economic and political relationship that it has built with the country, and the influential position Chile currently occupies in shaping Chinese engagement with Latin America.

The agreement signed at APEC builds on a free-trade agreement first signed in 2005—the first of its kind between a South American nation and China. At first glance, China’s interactions with Chile appears to resemble its pattern of behavior with the region in general. Chile’s exports to the China are dominated by a limited number of low value-added commodities, including copper and potassium nitrate (used as fertilizer). Correspondingly, a broad range of Chinese products have significantly penetrated the Chilean market, from cheap manufactured goods, to motorcycles, cars, cell phones and computers.

Снимок экрана от 2018-01-18 14-45-16On closer examination, China’s relationship with Chile has multiple elements that distinguish it from its relationship with others in Latin America.

Chile has been one of the most successful countries in the region in establishing a national brand in the PRC and positioning its products in the non-commodity goods segment of the Chinese market. Chile last year replaced Vietnam as the principal supplier of fresh fruit imported by the PRC (Santiago Times, April 2). Although the time and expense of shipping products to the PRC creates a barrier for non-differentiated agricultural goods, Chile has successfully positioned its cherries, table grapes, blueberries as luxury goods in China. Chilean wines have achieved similar recognition in the PRC, as consumption by the Chinese middle class grows.

Despite such success, and Chile’s reputation for efficiency, security, and rule of law, investment by Chinese companies in the country ranks among the lowest in the region. The Chilean government has taken note of the contrast between its successes in exporting its products to China, with its inability to attract significant Chinese investment. The annual “Chile Week” program, conducted in six of China’s largest cities since 2015, is an example of attempts by the government of Michelle Bachelet to remedy this deficiency (Santiago Times, August 30).

Ironically, the lack of Chinese direct investment in the country partially reflects Chile’s relatively good governance and strong institutions; Chinese companies often prefer to invest where they can secure state-to-state deals on preferential terms. Chile, with its good access to capital markets has not felt compelled to adapt its laws and regulations, such as those governing public procurement, to attract Chinese loans or investors.

Further inhibiting Chinese investment, Chile’s mining sector, the principal source of the country’s exports to the PRC, is generally off limits to equity investments. While the Chilean state mining entity CODELCO signed a $500 million agreement in 2005 for the advance purchase of Chilean copper, the deal went sour when the Chileans found themselves locked into a long-term agreement to sell almost 5 percent of their copper exports to the PRC at prices substantially below the market price. The Chilean government ultimately forced Minmetals to back out of its option to acquire a 49 percent the Gabriel Mistral (Gaby) mine, which it had used the Chinese loan to develop (Business News Americas, September 29, 2008). Chinese interest in investing in the Chilean mining sector virtually disappeared for years thereafter.

Despite such setbacks, in recent years, Chinese have expressed renewed interest in Chilean mining, focused on lithium, a strategic metal used in modern batteries to power devices from cars to cellphones.

Beginning in 2016, Chinese mining company Tianqi quietly began acquiring a minority share of Chilean lithium producer SQM. In October 2017, the Chinese petrochemicals giant Sinochem made public an intention to acquire a majority stake in SQM for $4.5 billion from the Canadian firm Potash (La Tercera, October 23, 2017). The Chilean government is currently evaluating bids for “value-added” development of its lithium reserves, in which four of the 12 companies bidding are Chinese. Each bidder must propose a project for how it will provide value added to the lithium within Chile. One contender is the Chinese MTL-Shenzen group, who, with a Korean partner, is proposing a project to build a factory to build lithium-ion batteries in the area where it will extract the metal (La Tercera, July 7). As China attempts to position itself as a leader in battery technology and production, these investments in strategic materials will be key to keeping Chinese batteries cheap and globally competitive.

In the telecommunications sector, as in other parts of Latin America, the Chinese company Huawei has established itself as an important player in the mobile telephone market, to include commercial facilities, and presence as a local brand, including the recruitment of one of Chile’s best-known soccer players as the face of the company in its Chilean advertising. Huawei has also won a contract for one of three tranches of a project to construct a submarine fiber-optic cable connecting the south of Chile from Puerto Montt to Puerto Williams, which may be a stepping stone for a Huawei role in an even more ambitious cable connecting China to South America through Chile (Ministerio de Transportes y Telecomunicaciones, October 16, 2017).

In the space sector, the PRC is building an observatory approximately 30 miles from the facility that it already shares with Chile’s Catholic University, in Paranal, in the Atacama Desert (La Tercera, 2016). Although in 2008, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) lost a bid to participate in the Chilean FASAT-C satellite program to the European firm Astrium, as the satellite neared the end of its useful life, Chile’s ambassador to the PRC Jorge Heine suggested that his country might turn to China’s Beidou satellite to replace it (Xinhua, April 27, 2016).

With respect to the electricity sector, one of the largest investments by a PRC-based company in Chile was that of Sky Solar, which committed to invest more than $1.3 billion to construct farms of photovoltaic cells to generate solar energy in the Atacama Desert (El Mercurio, January 25, 2013). Chinese companies have also been involved in a series of projects for wind generation (Global Wind Energy Council).

Despite such advances, and although power generation and transmission in Chile is in the hands of the private sector with a relatively modest regulatory burden, Chinese companies have not yet entered the sector in force, as Chinese companies such as State Grid, Three Gorges and State Power Industrial Corporation (SPIC) have entered Brazil (Newsmax, October 9, 2017). Nonetheless, that may be changing with SPICs acquisition of Pacific Hydro, which gives the company control over five hydroelectric facilities in Chile (Hydroworld, December 17, 2015).

Chile’s stable and developed financial system and access to international capital markets has limited the need for loans from Chinese policy banks such as China Development Bank and China Export-Import bank, often tied to the use of Chinese companies and laborers in the projects financed. Yet the same strength and sophistication of Chile’s financial system has also allowed the country to become the regional hub for clearing transactions conducted in Chinese RNB. To this end, the two countries have invested $189 million to establish a clearing bank in Chile, tied to China Construction Bank, as well a $3.5 billion currency swap agreement between the central bank of Chile and the People’s Bank of China (Xinhua, June 21, 2016). Chile, for its part, was one of the first Latin American companies to join the PRC-sponsored Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), in May 2017 (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, May 13).

Beyond traditional industries, tourist visits by PRC nationals to Chile are also on the rise. In 2016, almost 23,000 Chinese visited Chile, a 49 percent increase over the previous year, while in the first four months of 2017 almost 11,000 Chinese tourists visited, representing a further 51 percent year-on-year increase (Lun, July 2).

The Chinese ethnic community in Chile reportedly plays an important role in the expansion of such tourism. Although the community is relatively small, with an estimated 30,000 persons, many are recent arrivals who have acquired legal Chilean residency, yet have retained fluency in Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese and connections in the PRC. These Chinese Chileans who reportedly play a key role in bringing tour groups to Chile from the mainland, and coordinating with Chinese restaurants and Mandarin-speaking service providers in Chile to provide a culturally comfortable experience in Chile for visiting Chinese. One Chilean tour group operator indicated to the author that 70 percent of his business is now with the Chinese, although he had done almost no business with them a few years earlier.

Chinese activities in Chile’s defense sector have been minimal. Nonetheless, in June 2015, Chile’s Minister of Defense Jose Antonio Gomez traveled to the PRC to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan to boost defense cooperation (Xinhua, June 24, 2015). A modest number of Chilean officers regularly travel to China for professional military education programs, and Chinese arms companies also had a significant presence at the Exponaval trade show in Santiago (Exponaval 2016).

In the end, Chile’s relationship with China will be critical in shaping the dynamics of the China relationship with Latin America in general. As noted previously, Chile’ success in placing products in the PRC has made its practices an important reference for the rest of the region. Reciprocally, its insistence on not bending Chilean laws and contracting procedures to accommodate Chinese companies, as occurred in many other countries across the region, provides an important indication of whether it is possible to attract Chinese investment and maintain a healthy business relationship within the framework of a nation’s existing laws and regulations.

Chile’s orientation toward China will also be important at the regional level. In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the support of Chile will be instrumental in taking forward a new version of the deal, denoted as “TPP 2”, which would make an important contribution in defining a Trans-Pacific commercial regime which addresses non-tariff barriers to trade, and which protects the intellectual property of the participating nations far more than the alternative “Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific” currently being promoted by China (Xinhua, November 3). U.S. policymakers should take note of what is happening in Chile, which has long been a friend to the United States, and where U.S. political and economic ideals have long found common ground.

The United States continues to have many friends in the region, yet the deepening of Chile’s relationship with the PRC is generating subtle yet significant changes in attitudes, not only about U.S. policy and requests, but also how Chileans react to parts of the U.S. style that they may find distasteful. Chinese activities in Chile, met with traditional Chilean warmth and efficiency, are an important wake-up call to take greater stock of how engagement with the PRC is transforming the region in ways that are increasingly uncomfortable for the United States, its global position, and the pursuit of its policy agenda.

Continue reading “CHINA. Human Rights. China’s Relationship with Chile: The Struggle for the Future Regime of the Pacific”

Palace of Justice in Italy. The region of Lazio.

ITALY. 200 journalists are in danger in 2017. When will the violence stop?

by Peter Stano – journalist, member Reporters Without Borders

The events of recent years regarding the harassment of journalists are alarming and worrying. Journalists and reporters are constantly receiving threats. Prison sentences and arrests. Attacks of mafia criminal groups.

Protecting journalists. 11 journalists have been killed in Italy by criminal gangs or terrorists since 1960. Eight of these murders took place in Sicily. The Italy mafia is therefore the biggest perpetrator of murders of journalists in Europe.

000_uo0iiPhoto: RSF

Central Europe. It is difficult to understand why today in the heart of the democratic Europe is the violence against journalists. This happens in Italy.

Some journalists are killed. Other journalists are arrested. Especially, if journalists expose corruption in government bodies, or report on mafia ties with the Vatican. Some journalists left Italy for other countries because of the danger of life.

Why is this happening?

Italy is 52nd in the Press Freedom Index. According to the report of the World Organization of Reporters Without Borders for 2017 – in Italy, threats and attacks on journalists have increased, this is even more since 2015.
As the report shows, – even in such African countries as Ghana, Botswana, Burkina Faso, journalists are not pursued so cruelly as in Italy. Even in Papua New Guinea, journalists are freer than in Italy.

We publish the report of the organization Reporters Without Borders of 2017 on the events in Italy.

Organized crime. Arson of a commercial organization near Milan, the city of Cologno Monzese.
Organized crime Italy. Arson of a commercial organization near Milan, the city of Cologno Monzese.

 

Last month’s attack on a RAI television reporter by a local mafia chief’s brother in Ostia, a coastal resort town near Rome, has revived concern about threats to journalists in Italy, especially in regions with the biggest mafia presence such as Campania, Calabria and Sicily, where they are exposed to harassment and violence on a daily basis.

Continue reading “ITALY. 200 journalists are in danger in 2017. When will the violence stop?”

Latin America - The International Information Portal on Human Rights

LATIN AMERICA. Brazil – Between Cooperation and Deterrence

By Evan Ellis – Assistant Professor of National Security

The International Information Portal on Human Rights - Evan Ellis

The title was inspired by the PhD thesis of LTC Oscar Medeiros Filho of the Brazilian Army Strategic Studies Center, and used with his permission.

From October 12-14, 2017, I had the opportunity to travel to Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, as part of a delegation from the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institutes, to Brazil’s own Army Strategic Studies Center, CEEEx. My interactions while there highlighted the strategic challenges Brazil faces in the southern hemisphere, and reinforced my perception of the opportunities for the U.S. and Brazil to strengtheninstitutional-level relationships and collaborate on shared interests in
the region.

Brazil shares a land border with every country in South America except Ecuador and Chile, which means it’s profoundly interested in state and non-state security dynamics throughout the continent. Its 17,000 kilometers of land border create security challenges not unlike, but far more complex than those of the U.S.-Mexican border. Not only is
Brazil’s frontier some of the nation’s most remote and inaccessible territory, but the division of that boundary between 10 neighboring states magnifies the associated international security challenge. Finally, Brazil’s borders include nine separate “triple frontiers,” where the intersection of three national borders magnifies the problems of control and the associated op portunities for organized crime.

Brazil is adversely affected by illegal mining and timber both from the interior of Suriname and Guyana and from Colombia’s remote eastern plains, with Brazil’s Amazon river system frequently used to smuggle such illicit goods to the coast. The economic crisis in Venezuela has displaced at least 40,000 refugees into the remote Brazilian state of  Roraima, some of whom have migrated to Manaus, Belem, and to the southeast of the country. The expansion of coca production in Colombia following the cessation of glyphosate spraying has spilled over the border with narco-trafficking activities on the Brazilian side of the border and expanded drug flows into Brazil. In addition, the end to
the conflict has displaced some former FARC combatants into Brazil, who are possibly training and selling weapons to powerful Brazilian gangs in the area such as the First Capital Command (PCC).

As on Brazil’s northern borders, the country’s western frontier is coping with the products of illegal mining and coca growing from Peru and Bolivia, which also travels through Brazil. This includes one drug route going northward through Peru’s river system past Iquitos, into the Brazilian amazon at the tri-border area Tabatinga (Brazil)-Leticia (Colombia)-Cabalococha (Peru). Drugs are also flown out of Peruvian river valleys such as those of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro rivers (known as the VRAEM) short distances into Brazil, where they are air-dropped to accomplices on the Brazilian side. The aircraft then return to Peru before Brazilian air defense aircraft can respond. Cocaine, coca paste and illegal mining products are also produced in the southeast of Peru (eg. Puno), and in Bolivia, before being smuggled into Brazil. Paraguay, specifically the northeast provinces of Amambay and Concepcion, are the source of an estimated half of the marijuana grown in the region. The marijuana crop, along with other drugs, often flows into the country across the land border near the Paraguayan city of Pedro Juan Caballero, which has become a focus of struggle for control by Brazilian drug gangs such as the PCC.

In 2017, Brazilian authorities seized a record quantity of drugs, including 45 tons of cocaine, and 324 tons of marijuana.

Given such illicit flows across Brazil’s borders, many of the Brazilian analysts with whom I spoke see a connection between the gang-related violence in the slums of the country’s major cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and criminal flows at the borders, making transnational organized crime one of Brazil’s principal security concerns.

Complementing such illicit flows, Brazil’s economic connectivity to the rest of the content, and to Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa, creates a complex array of strategic interests in its neighbors and the surrounding region. The soy and iron exported to the PRC and elsewhere in Asia must traverse overland routes from Brazil’s interior to its coast, or alternatively, via rivers that pass through Argentine and Uruguayan territory to reach major ports.

The import and export of higher value-added products over the Andes to ports on the Latin American Pacific Coast occupies a modest but growing role in Brazil’s external commerce that increases the importance of Brazil’s economic relationships and infrastructure connections with Pacific-facing neighbors such as Peru and, indirectly, Chile. Brazil’s commercial relationships with Europe and the East Coast of the United States similarly contribute to its interest in the Caribbean, along with from Brazil’s shared border with the continent’s Caribbean facing countries: Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guyana. The 13 years that Brazil spent leading the
MINUSTAH peacekeeping operation in Haiti (2004-2017) reflect, and contribute to, that interest.

The manner in which Brazil defines its security environment is arguably influenced by the way that it sees itself, with some of the contradictions in that self-conception reflected in tensions between its policy goals. On one hand, many of the Brazilians with whom I spoke emphasized the nation’s identity as a large, substantially developed
country dominated by a conservative, Western, Christian culture; others emphasize its cultural diversity and status as part of the developing world. As a Western nation with a diverse economy, sophisticated military, and supporting military-industrial base, Brazil’smore conservative elements see the country as a nConclusionatural partner of the United States in working toward a secure democratic region. Brazil’s support of the United States against Axis submarines in World War II, and the Army division that it sent to Italy as part of the Allied campaign in Europe are key elements in this narrative.

On the other hand, Brazil’s sense of specialness stemming from its history as South America’s only independent European-born empire, and as a culturally diverse nation which has achieved substantial economic, technological and cultural development through its own unique path, means many Brazilians have adverse reactions to
subordinating themselves to a U.S.-led security or economic framework in the hemisphere as “junior partner.” Indeed, as a regional power, Brazil looks to the South American continent, the Caribbean, the South Atlantic, and to the West Coast of Africa as areas of its own “strategic interest.” Its sense of pride has, on occasion, led it to conclude that a weaker U.S. presence in these areas, plus options provided by multiple extra-hemispheric actors, such as the People’s Republic of China (PRC), could ultimately best serve its national interests and its strategic influence.

With respect to its broader global posture, Brazil takes pride in its identity as a global actor, in forums such as the BRICS and IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa). Brazilian officials with whom I spoke highlighted their role in helping the United States to defend the security of the hemisphere and its maritime approaches against hostile external actors during World War II, yet are more hesitant to discuss a shared U.S. – Brazil interest in following and managing the advances of potentially threatening external actors in the hemisphere today.Brazilians also argue that the conservative nature of the military,
including its support for the struggle against communist advances in the region during the Cold War (including Brazil’s support for intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965), have historically limited Brazil-Russia military cooperation. While Brazil has purchased 12 Mi-35 attack helicopters and several hundred Sa-24 (IGLA-S) man-portable air defense munitions, major initiatives such as the consideration of the Su-35 in Brazil’s fighter modernization effort, or the purchase of the Pantsir S-1 air defense system have not gone forward, nor have significant numbers of Brazilian military personnel studied in Russian schools.

In recent years, Brazil has, however, expanded its security relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), to include sending its officers to Chinese schools, and receiving PLA students in its internationally renowned jungle warfare school in Manaus. While the Brazilians also sent a delegation to the PRC to discuss helping it to set up its own jungle warfare school in the south of China, the initiative has reportedly not yet gone forward. The Chinese have also been very interested in Brazil’s expertise in peacekeeping, sending a delegation to Brazil’s Peace Operations Joint Training Center (CCOPAB), and receiving a group from the institute in the PRC’s own Peacekeeping Institute in November 2017.

The role of Iran and Islamic extremists in the region is a topic in which Brazil has shown less concern than the U.S. The nation has Latin America’s largest population of Lebanese and Syrian migrants, including its current president, Michel Temer, and a significant Lebanese community in São Paulo (although only a minority are practicing Muslims). Brazil has also committed to accept more Syrianrefugees than any other nation in Latin America (although the government has not accepted as many as it initially suggested it would). The terrorist group Hezbollah has been identified as operating in Brazil, and is reported to have ties to the powerful First Capital Command street gang. Threats from Islamic groups were identified and diffused during the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Yet whereas the U.S. gives significant attention to the role of such actors as part of illicit threat networks in the region, the security implications of Islamic radicalism were generally “not on the radar screen” of the Brazilians with whom I spoke.

The challenge of transnational organized crime has given added impetus to defense of Brazil’s borders. In responding to this challenge, Brazil has focused on a combination of security cooperation with its neighbors (e.g. sharing of border-area radar data with Colombia and Venezuela, among others) and the deployment of additional forces and technology to the border region. Brazil’s military has legal authority to act in a law enforcement capacity in the zone within 150 kilometers of the nation’s borders, yet in practice, the inaccessibility of much of Brazil’s borderlands means that forces that can’t be used there in an effective manner. In the Amazon region alone, Brazil’s11,000 kilometers of border are normally covered by 28 units, mostly platoon size (60-70 men), meaning that such small groups of soldiers are on average separated by almost 400 kilometers of difficult-to-traverse terrain. The Army is developing a sensor and communication architecture, SISFRON, that will greatly multiply the effectiveness of those units and others in controlling the border region, yet due to budget limitations, implementation of the system thus far is limited to a pilot project along the frontier with Paraguay, and even that is two years behind chedule.

Supplementing such forces and systems, the Brazilian military regularly conducts exercises in the region with a law enforcement orientation. The armed forces recently restructured Operation Agata, first launched in 2011, to permit greater latitude regarding when its activities would take place, the scale, and the duration, making it more difficult for criminals to anticipate whether the Brazilian military might conduct an exercise in an area where they were operating.

In addition to Agata, Brazil recently completed the multinational exercise Amazon Log, near the triple frontier of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, in order to practice the ability of the military to coordinatelogistical support with international partners in an operation conducted in such a remote area.

Beyond border operations and exercises within the country, in recent years the military has also had to deploy not only in the favelas such as Maré, Alemão and Rocinha, but also in response to police strikes in Vitoria, threatened strikes in Rio de Janeiro state, and on other occasions where the situation exceeded the capabilities of state and other law enforcement. Such operations are referred to in Brazil as “GLO,” Guarantee of Law and Order operations, emphasizing their legal basis within the framework of the 1988 constitution. The Brazilians with whom I spoke were quick to emphasize that such
engagement must be (in the words of the Constitution) “episodic.” Although some operations such as the occupation of the Maré favela lasted more than a year, the military cannot permanently or continually replace the police in providing security to troubled areas within the country.In general, GLO operations are not popular within the Brazilian military. They are seen as a diversion of attention and resources away from other missions, from deploying forces to the border, to engaging in peacekeeping operations, to preparing for the traditional mission of defending the nation’s sovereignty against external threats. Indeed, in contrast to external deployments such as Haiti, the Brazilian military generally does not recognize “GLO” operations with service ribbons or other decorations.

To some extent, Brazil’s official (and seemingly sincere) posture of friendship toward its neighbors and the region makes it difficult for the military to obtain resources to execute its responsibilities and prepare for the future, particularly during times of economic crisis and political uncertainty such as the present. Brazilian diplomacy emphasizes that the country maintains good relations with all of its neighbors, and does not view any as an enemy. It may express concern about the spillover effects of its neighbor’s policies, but it is careful to avoid suggesting that it regards them as a threat, or wishes to tell them how to run their country. Yet while well received as diplomacy, the posture leads to a strange juxtaposition in which the military is forced to ask for resources for combat systems such as combat aircraft or vehicle-mounted artillery systems while its diplomats maintain that it does not view any of its neighbors as threats.

Recommendations

Brazil is not a country that needs U.S. help. Instead, both countries benefit from a partnership that works toward a safe, secure region and supports shared strategic interests. There are a number of ways in which the United States can continue to strengthen its partnership withBrazil, particularly with respect to defense cooperation, while harvesting the security and other benefits that come from greater cooperation.

The United States should continue to leverage the U.S.-Brazil military-to-military relationship to serve as a vehicle to strengthen cooperation between the two nations more broadly. Annual U.S.-Brazil Army-to-Army staff talks, for example, have been going on for 33 years. They are an important channel, both for senior level coordination and for identifying and advancing specific cooperation activities between both institutions. Where relationships have already been established between U.S. military organizations and their Brazilian counterparts, and with the coordination of the U.S. Security Cooperation Organization in Brasilia, those U.S. and Brazilian organizations should coordinate to identify innovative forms of cooperation to be discussed during the staff talks.

In general, Brazil’s large, sophisticated military means that many of the challenges faced by the U.S., such as conducting military transformation in times of shrinking budgets and a changing strategic environment, is an opportunity for the armed forces of both nations to learn from the errors and best practices of the other. Similarly, Brazil’s experience in working with civilian populations in urban areas, during both peacekeeping operations and Guarantee of Law and Order operations in its territory, present important lessons for the U.S., insofar as we must work with civilian populations in our own global engagements.

The U.S. should also consider expanding billets for officials placed in Brazilian military institutions, and vice versa. Such personnelassignments should include, but also go beyond, “liaison” officers, to include positions directly within each other’s organization, such as the professor that the Brazilian Army is sending to the U.S. Army War College Peacekeeping Institute.

The U.S. and Brazil should also continue to look for opportunities to participate in each other’s military activities, such as the successfully conducted Amazon Log exercises, in order to gain from each other’s experiences. This does not mean, however, that the Brazilian military needs the U.S. to train it, or supplement its capabilities, but rather, to aid it in its development and application of resources.

Finally, while respecting Brazil’s sovereign choice to associate with partners of its choosing, the United States similarly has the right to tell Brazil, as a member of the American family, that the U.S. ability to help it build advanced capabilities, and cooperate with it in sensitive areas such as intelligence, will be affected by the other defense relationships it, in its own right, choses to pursue.

Conclusion

I left Brasilia with a reinforced sense of the capabilities and professionalism of the Brazilian military, and the importance of treating Brazil with respect for the maturity of its institutions and its sovereign autonomy. The United States has an extraordinary moment of opportunity with Brazil’s current government of Michael Temer; it is in the U.S. strategic interest to work together with Brazil, where our interests coincide, to strengthen democracy, good governance, and hemispheric security. A prosperous, secure, well-governed Brazil is inthe U.S. interest, even if our goals and political style do not always coincide.
As we strengthen our relationship with Brazil, it is also important for our Brazilian partners to understand that the partnership does not mean ceding a “sphere of influence” to Brazil with respect to South America or the Caribbean. For our part, the U.S. should not be shocked if future Brazilian governments may take decisions regarding their relationship with extra-hemispheric actors, multilateral institutions, and political movements in the region that do not coincide with U.S. interests. Brazil’s support for the São Paulo forum, the initiatives of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, flirtation with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and promotion of UNASUR (which excludes the U.S.) over the Organization of American States for addressing regional security issues serve as recent reminders of this fact. Nevertheless, a strong relationship with Brazil, combined with frank and respectful interaction, is the best vehicle for ensuring that both nations can work together to advance security, democracy, and good governance in the region, even when our political paths diverge. Continue reading “LATIN AMERICA. Brazil – Between Cooperation and Deterrence”