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Entries in Brazil (22)

12:08AM

Brazil and the bomb

Der Spiegel op-ed by way of WPR's Media Roundup.

The question asked by Hans Ruhle:  Is Brazil maneuvering itself toward an acceptable pursuit of a nuclear weapon capacity?

Brazil had three nuclear weapons programs going in the 1980s--one for each military service.  After the Cold War ended, Brazil moved toward ending all that and declaring itself only for peaceful uses.

But now Brazil is building nuclear submarines.  Why?  America's got 'em, and if that's what great powers have, then Brazil must have some too.

So we have a country that's already mastered the enrichment cycle building nuclear submarines and all of a sudden--in historical terms--it's awfully close-mouthed about its enrichment cycle and doesn't care to have the IAEA snooping around.

Oh, and it's also brokering international deals WRT Iran's controversial enrichment program--alongside another rising great power (Turkey) that logically harbors nuclear ambitions as well.

For now, Brazil's constitution says no to nukes, but as everybody knows, Latin American constitutions are very changeable documents.  And with regional rival Venezuela (yes, they're rivals, no matter how much Lula sweet talks Hugo) cooperating with Iran, you just know the Brazilian military is thinking, "Why should we be the only BRIC without nukes?"

This is why, quite frankly, Obama's push for a "world without nuclear weapons" is about as wrongly timed as it gets:  we've got all these rising great powers, all looking for respect, and everything we do to prevent that path just screams at them, "get nukes and you're in!"  I mean, just look at the way we treat India on this score (as we should), in addition to Pakistan (as we shouldn't).  

We keep looking at this dynamic in Cold War terms, when we need to understand it in globalization terms. In addition to all that frontier integration, largely conducted by rising New Core pillars, we've got this crew of great powers looking for admittance into the "made men" club.  None of them can really hope to generate a conventional balance to the U.S. military, but the shortcut? 

Man, that's just too good to pass up. Honestly, we are reduced to preaching abstinence to a bunch of very horny young men.  It will not work.

We can spend all our time and energy trying to stop that dynamic, or we can focus our attention on processing their applications.

But they will all be great powers, one way or the other.

You may think it's all about America + NATO holding the line, but I think that world is dead and buried.

And I've been saying that for close to a decade in public and in print since 2004.

We can choose to have allies who cower behind their bombs to cover their declining capabilities--and age, or we can choose to work this world with allies who have plenty of babies, rising defense budgets, and growing nuclear arsenals.

Which option do you will work and which will be left behind by history as globalization continues to expand and consolidate?

8:52AM

New Core Turkey, Brazil engineer nuclear fuel enrichment deal with Iran

This is both quite impressive in terms of non-superpower nuclear diplomacy but likewise self-serving--especially to Turkey.

What New Core powers like Turkey and Brazil say with this deal:  We ourselves can and will decide, under what circumstances we'll collectively self-engineer ourselves--and other rising regional powers like us--into nuclear status.

In other words, the Old Core, old-boy nuclear powers club no longer decides.

Bold, slick moves by both Lula and Erdogan that will provide Ahmadinejad just enough cover to claim victory--and keep us guessing--while effectively killing any movement toward tougher sanctions.  The Chinese have to like it, as will Moscow--I imagine.

Have to give it up to Iran on this one, as well as Turkey and Brazil.  This deal constitutes a real rule-set reset when it comes to issues of proliferation--both real and stealthy.  The West simply no longer dictates on this issue.

End of the world to some, but just another aspect of rising great powers incorporating themselves into the venues of international power and influence instead of waiting for the established powers to invite them in--on the West's preferred terms.

Whether or not Iran will truly be satisfied with a Japan-like outcome (obviously capable and close to weaponization but not taking the final step) is yet to be seen, but this deal is an effective short-term defusing of any logic of attack.  Now, Israel is pre-approved to be widely condemned for any kinetics by the bulk of the world's rising great powers.

Assuming it holds, it looks like the latest "check" to me, meaning a move that keeps Tehran close to its endgame win and essentially determining our next, checkmate-avoiding move.  Iran's declaration that it will continue to enrich some fuel on its own?  That's just an in-your-face reminder.

Will it be enough for the West?  Absolutely not.  But it gives China and India the out they need.

The big point:  Iran keeps coming up with these clever ways to buy time, and in doing so, it's attracting a lot of implicit support from rising New Core powers who aren't exactly in favor of Iran's nuclear status but will defend its right to do so--however quietly and cleverly.

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