The United States and Brazil: A Long Road of Unmet Expectations

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The United States and Brazil: A Long Road of Unmet Expectations

By Monica Hirst
Routledge, 2004
127 pp. $75.00
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Hirst, a leading Brazilian analyst, traces recurrent patterns of frustrations in U.S.-Brazilian relations. She finds that Brazilian policies have swung from "alliance" with Washington, coupled with unrealistic expectations for reciprocity, to impractical aspirations for "autonomy." A stimulating accompanying essay by British theorist Andrew Hurrell hints at additional reasons for Brazilian disappointment: elitist dreams of subregional hegemony are unmatched by the political will or the public interest at home. One could add that today Brazil's bid for South American leadership is floundering as the region fragments politically, and as trade negotiators from Itamaraty, the powerful foreign ministry, are stymied on all fronts. Hirst and Hurrell stop short of another proposition that one could draw from their evidence: Washington's "benign neglect" is a rational reaction to a country whose diplomats often view their job as deflecting U.S. initiatives -- over the years, Itamaraty has dragged its feet on nonproliferation, human rights, environmental protection, and, now, hemispheric trade integration. These concise essays will help fill the gap in good literature on Brazilian foreign policy.

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