Guilherme Casaroes is a professor at the Getulio Vargas Foundation and a specialist in international relations. It analyzes the foreign policy of the left-wing president, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who proclaimed the “return of Brazil” on the world geopolitical scene.
Could Lula have a role in the war between Israel and Hamas?
He has several cards in his hand. Brazil has a long tradition of mediating conflicts and currently chairs the G20 [dont il doit accueillir le prochain sommet, à Rio, en novembre 2024] as well as the United Nations Security Council. Lula, who was already in power from 2003 to 2011, personally knows the actors in this conflict and has a certain mastery of the issue. His statements were balanced: he described the Hamas attacks as “terrorist”, expressed his solidarity with the Israeli victims, while calling for international humanitarian intervention to help the civilians of Gaza. Lula wants the UN to take concrete measures and for more countries to get involved in resolving this conflict.
When Lula tried to mediate in the war in Ukraine, his statements, considered favorable to Russia, outraged Westerners. How can we explain our position on this conflict?
First there was a form of improvisation. In the months that followed [l’invasion russe de l’Ukraine, le 24 février 2022], Lula was monopolized in Brazil by the presidential campaign. And faced with this war, whose scale or duration he had not anticipated, he had no time to structure his thoughts. In haste, he simply repeated the point of view expressed by the historical executives of his formation, the Workers’ Party (PT), that is to say an anti-imperialist vision very hostile to the United States. , stemming from Washington’s support for dictatorial regimes in Latin America in the past. According to this vision, roughly speaking, Vladimir Putin has only responded to NATO’s expansionist threats. This paradigm served as a basis of analysis for Lula, who then had very harsh words against the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, in particular in this interview given, in May 2022, to Time magazine during which he declared : “This guy is also responsible [de la guerre] than Putin. »
Read also: According to Lula, the former Brazilian president, Volodymyr Zelensky is “as responsible” for the war as Vladimir Putin
There is then another dimension to take into consideration, linked to Brazilian diplomacy. Throwing [en février] the idea of a “peace group”, bringing together countries keen to find “a peaceful solution”, Lula poses Brazil as a natural mediator of global crises. This is a historic vocation of Itamaraty, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its diplomats have always assumed the role of peacemakers, intermediaries and mediators in territorial disputes, particularly in Latin America (such as between Peru and Ecuador). By adopting neutrality, Lula is only following this tradition.
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