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Viewing cable 08BRASILIA159, REGIONAL STABILITY, GLOBAL ASPIRATIONS BEHIND NEW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08BRASILIA159 2008-01-31 13:01 2011-01-20 00:12 SECRET Embassy Brasilia
VZCZCXRO6146
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #0159/01 0311324
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 311324Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0947
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6550
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4433
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 5274
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3950
RUEHGE/AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN 1396
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 5918
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 3676
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 7203
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0351
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO 1434
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0351
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 2379
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0131
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 7648
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 5742
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 1533
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BRASILIA 000159 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR D, P, T, WHA, AND PM 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2018 
TAGS: MARR MCAP PREL
SUBJECT: REGIONAL STABILITY, GLOBAL ASPIRATIONS BEHIND NEW 
DEFENSE POSTURE 

REF: A. BRASILIA 0066 
B. BRASILIA 0129 
C. IIR 6 809 0092 08 
D. IIR 6 809 0097 08 
E. 2007 BRASILIA 1568 
F. 2007 BRASILIA 2132 
G. 2007 BRASILIA 2151 
H. BRASILIA 0006 
I. SAO PAULO 0019 
J. 2007 BRASILIA 1836 
K. BRASILIA 0093 

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD M. SOBEL, REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 

SUBJECT: Global Aspirations, Regional Stability, and Brazil's 
Defense Posture 

1. (S) Summary. Discussions between Ambassador Sobel and 
Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, along with Brazilian 
defense-related activities with France and Russia and in 
South America suggest the key elements shaping Brazil's new 
defense posture. The military's traditional role in 
maintaining internal stability and its potential roles as 
domestic crime-fighter and international peacekeeper will be 
important elements in shaping Brazil's new national defense 
strategy (septel). However, it is becoming clear that 
regional stability, particularly with regard to Venezuela, 
traditional sovereignty and border concerns, and Brazil's 
"rightful" place on the regional and world stage will remain 
central, and perhaps overriding motivations for the GOB. As 
we prepare for Jobim,s March visit to Washington, 
understanding of these basic Brazilian motivations regarding 
security will be important in defining our approach to this 
new opportunity for security engagement. End summary. 

Jobim's Focus Becoming Clearer 
------------------------------ 

2. (S) Over the course of several discussions with the 
Ambassador (refs A and B), the most recent on the eve of his 
departure on January 25 for France and Russia, Jobim revealed 
in increasing detail his goals for these visits and his 
activities in the hemisphere. The key elements that emerged 
are 1) pursuit of a nuclear submarine, using French 
assistance on propulsion as well as other systems; 2) a 
general desire to increase Brazil's domestic manufacturing 
capability for weapons via technology transfer; 3) more 
specifically, an interest in becoming a service hub in South 
America for Russian equipment, driven by a desire to have 
greater leverage over Hugo Chavez's Venezuela; 4) a focus on 
rebuilding Brazil's military capacity, including fighter 
aircraft; and 5) a new, more structured organization of South 
American defense ministers. 

What Does It Mean? 
------------------ 

3. (S) Jobim's visits to France and Russia (refs C and D) are 
the GOB's first significant move to actively pursue these 
priorities with countries that he believes will be willing to 
provide the necessary technology transfer as well as 
equipment. Moreover, Jobim was joined, exceptionally, by 
presidential foreign policy advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia, MRE 
Secretary General (Vice Minister) Samuel Guimaraes' chief of 

SIPDIS 
staff Marcos Pinta Gama, and Long Term Planning Minister 
Roberto Mangabeira Unger. The presence of the first two 
individuals, in particular, make clear that, for the first 
time in decades, Brazil is beginning to consider security 
issues as an important element of foreign policy. 

4. (S) Although Jobim himself has not commented extensively 

BRASILIA 00000159 002 OF 003 


on the GOB's motivations for focusing on these items, they 
dovetail with Brazil's traditional focus on regional 
stability, the new regional threat posed by Venezuela, and 
the need to defend its national sovereignty and borders. 
Brazil's military and foreign policy elite make consistently 
clear that regional stability is their overriding concern 
within South America. Venezuela has now become the central 
focus of Brazil's regional stability concerns. Brazilian 
observers regularly and publicly express general concerns 
about Chavez's destabilizing influence on Bolivia and 
Ecuador, as well as his troubled relationship with Colombia, 
even though Ministry of External Relations (MRE) contacts 
refuse to admit to us even in private that they are worried 
about Venezuelan interference in other countries. More 
importantly, the Ambassador has now been told by three 
respected members of the foreign policy elite--Senate Foreign 
Affairs and National Defense Committee head Heraclito Fortes 
(refs E and F), sitting senator and former president Jose 
Sarney (refs G and H), and Former Finance Minister Antonio 
Delfim Netto (ref I)--that they believe Venezuela under 
Chavez could well make a military effort to reclaim the half 
of Guyana (west of the Essequibo River) that it considers 
lost territory, principally as a way to deflect public 
attention from domestic woes. 

5. (S) The general policy approach of Lula and his foreign 
policy team in seeking to maintain stability in the region 
does not differ enormously from that of his predecessors; 
historically, Brazilian governments have avoided taking sides 
in Latin America and followed a policy of trying to maintain 
good relations with all of their neighbors. Uncertainty 
about Venezuela has added a new element, however, leading to 
a more concerted effort to contain Chavez. Brazil is the 
leading advocate of Venezuelan admission to Mercosul, a move 
that, if approved by the Brazilian and Paraguayan congresses, 
will further complicate both the stated economic integration 
and political objectives of the organization. From Lula,s 
point of view, bringing Chavez into a political organization 
in which Brazil has strong influence makes sense. 

6. (S) Similarly, Lula's proposal to create a new 
organization of South American regional defense ministers, 
which Jobim is actively pursuing, may achieve little in the 
way of defense coordination, but would serve a political 
objective of bringing Venezuela and other regional 
troublemakers into a common organization that Brazil could 
use to exercise a measure of control. Finally, while the 
proposal to serve as a hub for servicing Russian equipment in 
the region will do little to develop Brazil's defense 
manufacturing capacity or to serve Brazil's own defense 
needs, it does make sense if Brazil believes that performing 
such a function could help control the spread of Russian 
weapons in the region. This objective might also explain the 
interest in allowing a Russian military jeep manufacturer to 
set up shop in Porto Alegre (ref A), a capability Brazil does 
not need but which might serve to entice Russian interest in 
allowing Brazil to serve as an equipment hub. 

7. (S) Border security and sovereignty concerns also continue 
to be a driving factor for Brazil's desire to re-build its 
military, develop a domestic manufacturing capacity for 
military equipment, and beef up its air defenses, in 
particular. Brazilians continue to perceive their long 
border with ten neighboring countries as vulnerable, 
justifying maintenance of a strong defense posture. The most 
likely scenarios with direct military implications for Brazil 
involve non-state actors such as the FARC and international 
criminal organizations operating across borders. 
Nonetheless, although it seems highly unlikely that the GOB's 
first reaction would be to send in the troops, Brazilians see 
a military incursion by Chavez into a neighboring country as 

BRASILIA 00000159 003 OF 003 


plausible, in light of Chavez's unpredictability, and see 
having a strong military as a deterrent. Moreover, they 
continue to hold suspicions regarding the intentions of the 
international community--including the United States (ref 
J)--with regard to the Amazon. Brazil sees a strong military 
as an important element in backing up these assertions of 
sovereignty over the Amazon. 

8. (S) Beyond concerns about Chavez and regional and border 
security more generally, Jobim's priorities suggest that 
Brazilian interests are also motivated by Brazil's growing 
desire to take its "rightful" place among the world's powers 
and to be seen as a worthy of a permanent UN Security Council 
seat. It is this objective, which senior GOB policy makers 
place above all other foreign policy goals, that is driving 
Brazil's interest in a nuclear submarine (ref K). 

What does it mean for us? 
------------------------- 

9. (S) Brazilian leaders believe that now is their time to 
play a more important global role. This, combined with 
Brazil's continuing concerns regarding regional stability, 
the threat posed by Venezuela, and border security, will form 
the backdrop to the discussions and to Brazilian positions. 
While we may not agree with Brazilian views of Brazil,s 
security situation, they will nonetheless form a framework 
within which we must approach our discussions with Minister 
Jobim and other GOB officials. While we should seek to focus 
on more realistic areas for bilateral defense cooperation, 
such as peacekeeping, we cannot afford to dismiss these core 
Brazilian concerns, which will be important considerations as 
we seek to exploit the opportunities presented by Jobim's 
visit to Washington in March and Pol-Mil talks in April. 

SOBEL 
SOBEL