The following article by Robert Amsterdam was published today on The Huffington Post:
Despite the well worn campaign slogan, so far Washington’s new foreign policy under President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to embody a blend of both continuity and change, depending on the situation. By and large we have seen a reactionary series of policies, as the new president has been thrust into a game with the cards already dealt. However, with the visit to Washington on Saturday March 14 of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — the first Latin American head of state to be received by Obama at the White House — a fresh hand is being dealt, giving the president a chance to define his administration and mark a clear departure from the policies of the past.
For years Latin America has been waiting for its day in the sun as a privileged partner of the United States; to be treated fairly, with respect, and joined in action toward the fulfillment of mutual goals for the Western Hemisphere. With the visit of Brazil, now graduated to the status of a true regional and global power, the administration should seek to support and enhance its role of responsibility, proving to the skeptics that we don’t need or want a unipolar hemisphere, but rather a multi-lateral and institutional framework for stable and prosperous relations.
There are many compelling reasons for Obama to seek a close relationship with Brazil and establish a new partnership, one that would bring immediate benefits to both parties (while carrying very low risk and political costs). Despite being diplomatically stretched thin by Mideast conflicts, Brazil is a sure bet that Obama should not pass up.
Click here to continue reading.