Friday, March 20, 2009

Brazil and Colombia: Offering a How-to and How-NOT-to Crash Course in Diplomacy

I'm can only echo what Randy said in regard to this editorial (translated here):

While President Lula da Silva of Brazil meets face-to-face with President Obama in the White House to discuss global and Latin American policy, the Colombian vice president laments the mistreatment that, according to him, Colombia receives from a sector of the Congress and U.S. civil society, and proposes to do away with Plan Colombia, considering it to be a source of humiliation.

Those news [sic] make apparent the shameful contrast bewteen Brazilian and Colombian foreign policy. Thanks to the former, Brazil will become the United States’ strategic partner in the region, and thanks to the second Colombia will be it no longer. Brazil will take on this role for obvious reasons. Because it is the 10th-largest economy on the planet, the most stable and progressive democracy on the continent, the only one with a world-class foreign ministry and president, a player with regional and global leadership.

[...] If you want to be treated like statesmen, behave like statesmen. Stop asking, stamping your feet and threatening. Take the initiative, propose things and keep your word. Develop a bilateral agenda that incorporates both countries’ issues, interests and concerns, and propose specific goals within specific time periods.

Exactly. Like Randy, I have had nothing but praise for the Brazilian diplomatic corps and Lula's diplomatic approach, and Colombia during the Uribe administration has offered a thorough course on how not to conduct productive diplomatic relations. Brazil has conducted itself as masterful diplomats, respectful of differences and making clear their agenda, while Colombia has behaved like a spoiled little brat. It's easy to see why Obama met with Lula, and not with Uribe - after all, the Bush years are in the past.