My colleague and friend, Parag Khanna, who is with me in Brazil right now started the Brazil chapter in his acclaimed book, Second World: How Emerging Powers Are Redefining Global Competition in the Twenty-first Century, with George Bush’s first words about the country during his first visit. According to Khanna, Bush said, “Brazil is big!”
And it is. I had much the same reaction — but it’s also fascinating, complex, on the move, and has a confidence about its place in the next global order that should excite anyone who takes the time to observe how Brazil is surfing towards a more globally significant international future.
Ben Katcher, yesterday, wrote about Henry Kissinger’s skepticism about the BRICs. I can’t wait to test Kissinger’s resolve about this — and whether his understanding of the global order is out of date. Kissinger will be speaking at a major US foreign policy sponsored by the Nixon Center in May — and I think that he may be missing one of the most interesting shifts in global power in many decades.
In any case, the photo above was taken from my airplane window while landing in Sao Paulo, a city that is larger than many nations. It’s just huge.
I then went to Brasilia, the well-organized capital city that is in its design an urban tribute to modernist architecture. Coincidentally, I arrived on the 50th anniversary of the city’s birthday and enjoyed hanging out with lots of new Brazilian friends.
I will write more on the plane about an interesting conference I just participated in on the topic of “Global Governance” sponsored by Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organized by the charismatic Deputy Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and the paradigm-challenging David Rothkopf.
This was my first trip to Brazil — and embarrassingly, my first trip to South America. I’ll definitely be back.
Now back to DC for a few hours.
— Steve Clemons