Why Brazil Cares About Obama vs. Romney

An international relations expert explains why the country will be watching our election closely.

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In a piece for the Burton Wire, international relations specialist Ian Walcott explains why Brazil, which recently made history with its election of Dilma Rousseff to the presidency and has enjoyed a warm relationship with the United States under President Obama, will be paying close attention to the 2012 race to the White House.

It's just one reminder that while Americans are the only ones who can vote in the upcoming election, we're far from the only ones who care about what happens in November:

This warming of relations has been received very well in Brazil, a country that, for a very long time, prides itself on neutrality and independent thought in international politics. However, as Brazil grows in economic importance, there will be demands to take a more active role in international affairs. This mandate is quite visible in Brazil's interminable quest to have a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Ironically, in spite of Obama's praises for Brazil, the US still shies away from outright support for Brazil's desire for perpetuity on the security council. Nonetheless, as Brazil's middle class continues to expand, the USA remains more and more attractive to its nouveau riche. In fact, the numbers are so impressive that Obama recently eased visa requirements and restrictions to attract more Brazilian tourists to the U.S., especially in hip and popular shopping lifestyle destination, Miami.

It's against this backdrop that Brazil will be paying more attention to the upcoming elections over the next few weeks. Will Brazil continue to have warm relations with a Republican president in the White House? How will the right wing rhetoric on immigration affect the thousands of [Latin] American immigrants? Will there be continuity in the Obama foreign policy of engagement towards Latina America should the leadership change hands? ...

There is undoubtedly a new configuration in the international system as we proceed along into the early 21st century. With Brazil as a rising powerhouse, the continued aspiration for harmonious North-South dialogue can only be guaranteed if the Presidents in Brasilia and Washington continue to shake hands and warmly embrace each other.

Read more at the Burton Wire.

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