Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Weakening the argument

I've usually commented on domestic subjects in Brazil. But Lula's given me an opportunity to note what's going on in the world of Brazilian diplomacy. Not quite sure what to make of it though.

Apparently he's going to propose to the UN that a team be sent to Haiti (where Brazil runs the peacekeeping operation) to assess and report upon the economic situation. So far, so good.

And he also proposes a global fund to combat hunger, which Brazil won't be a recipient of, but rather a contributor. Again, a good idea.

But some of his comments aren't too helpful. To condemn Haiti's 'colonisers' for the state the country's in and to blame Britain for the situation in Sudan is a bit much. Indeed, he argues that Britain was in Sudan for 300 years and what did they ever do for the people there.

Excuse me? 300 years? Where is his foreign policy adviser when he needs one? Last time I checked, the British took over Sudan in the 1890s, and only because they wanted to secure control of the Nile.

But history isn't the point here. He's playing if for public consumption. And I doubt the British will get too upset. I can just imagine what they're thinking in diplomatic circles: 'Oh it's just another populist South American mouthing off again.' Which is really unhelpful since they may well overshadow his other, good points.

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