April 30, 2008


Bush Builds Ties to Brazil's Left-Leaning Leader: U.S. aides cite a good personal relationship and a shared agenda (Thomas Omestad, April 30, 2008, US News)

The State Department's top official on relations with the Western Hemisphere portrays U.S. relations with Latin America's most populous country—Brazil—as strong, and he credits the ties between President Bush and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva as one reason for it.

"It's for real," says Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Thomas Shannon, speaking of "respect and comfortableness" between the two leaders. Shannon says the two "communicate in as clear and direct fashion as possible." Adds Shannon, "Both leaders have a very clear understanding of [what is] at stake in the relationship."

Numerous foreign policy commentators have expressed surprise that Bush would take such a liking to a left-leaning, career labor leader in the person of Lula. But their friendship has "reduced suspicions that might have existed...[and] overcome that wariness and replaced it with a certain confidence that we can actually get things done," says Shannon.

Nothing becomes foreign affairs experts more than being surprised by this entirely predictable development, nor taking this long to notice.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2008 7:02 PM
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