The Path Forward for Brazil-U.S. Relations
On March 10, the Brazil Institute and GACInt hosted a discussion of the realities of Brazil-U.S. relations and the potential for a pragmatic, constructive engagement on environmental policies and beyond.
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The green agenda sits at the top of the new U.S. administration’s priorities, and will profoundly shape its foreign policy agenda—including its relationship with Brazil. The two countries, both large and diverse democracies, have traditionally shared many common values and goals. Now, as the United States focuses on creating a more sustainable system domestically and abroad, it is looking to Brazil, long an environmental powerhouse, for partnership. Yet the challenges are clear.
“Rhetoric without action—it’s not going to work from the U.S. side. Kerry’s team is sufficiently knowledgeable, sufficiently experienced and sufficiently networked with global civil society on climate change matters that they are going to understand if the Brazilian side is putting real skin in the game.”
“If progress is meager you will see a shift in Washington’s approach at some point and it will adopt more of a ‘stick-like’ approach […] broadly speaking I think you’ll see something that aligns closely with Europe’s approach in terms of changes to supply chain policy.”
“It’s one thing to have tensions with the EU when you’ve got your closest ally in Washington being Donald Trump. It’s another when you’re facing similar pressure from Europe, the United States; Brazil-China relations are complicated for other reasons.”
“The Biden administration does not see the China question in a Cold War prism. So it’s not going to just sacrifice climate change because it might push Brazil in China’s direction and the Biden team does not see Brazil as being in the United States orbit as a satellite nation […] The Biden team is coming at this—again—from a 2014, 2015 perspective where we were trying to break out of all of that and actually lead with Brazil on a global issue because we think it has the potential to be one of the most important players in geopolitics throughout the 21st century.”
The Brazil Institute—the only country-specific policy institution focused on Brazil in Washington—works to foster understanding of Brazil’s complex reality and to support more consequential relations between Brazilian and U.S. institutions in all sectors. Read more