The New Brazil

In This Review

The New Brazil
By Riordan Roett
Brookings Institution Press, 2010
178 pp. $29.95
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For the corporate executive facing his or her first long flight to São Paulo, here is the perfect briefing book. A seasoned student of Brazilian politics, Roett swiftly and expertly reviews the country's Portuguese past, twentieth-century strife, and more recent triumphs. Without ignoring Brazil's many remaining challenges, Roett views the glass as more than half full. He is confident that the continental giant of 190 million citizens is finally on the path to democratic prosperity, regional leadership, and global influence. Especially admirable are Roett's assessments of the successful presidencies of Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; the four-page concluding chapter is a gem of tight historical interpretation. Roett is a fan of Brazilian foreign policy -- "tough but pragmatic" -- even as he criticizes Brazil's failed policies toward Honduras and Iran. But he probably underplays the anti-U.S. currents in the Brazilian Foreign Ministry and its tendency in international policy forums to prefer clever maneuvers to constructive contributions. In that immaturity, Brazil has company from China, India, and Russia, all emerging-market economies that must learn that with power comes responsibility.