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Cablegate: Senator Hagel in Brazil, Meetings On Foreign Policy

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RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHSO #0529/01 2761626
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 021626Z OCT 08 ZDK
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8568
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 9700
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 4214
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 8876
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 3265
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 3512
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 2788
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 2512
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 3925

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SAO PAULO 000529

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPAO BR
SUBJECT: Senator Hagel in Brazil, Meetings on Foreign Policy

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1. (SBU) Summary: Senator Chuck Hagel visited Sao Paulo September 2-3,
meeting with a variety of interlocutors, including foreign policy
experts and Sao Paulo Governor -- and likely 2010 presidential
candidate -- Jose Serra. They emphasized that the United States
should not try to push Brazil on issues like security and terrorism
or to negotiate some sweeping free trade agreement with the country.
Instead, they advocated sectoral trade arrangements based on our
shared interests in producing cheaper, cleaner energy. They
dismissed the contretemps over the Fourth Fleet as a distraction
from more important issues. Governor Serra expressed concern about
the protectionist elements in the Democratic Party. Overall, the
foreign policy experts were very pleased with the present state of
U.S.-Brazilian relations and hoped that this would continue. End
Summary.

Foreign Policy Lunch

2. Senator Hagel had a luncheon at the Consul General's residence
with a variety of important figures who have shaped Brazil's foreign
relations. Those who attended were: former Minister of Foreign
Affairs Celso Lafer; former Ambassador to the U.S. Rubens Barbosa;
former Ambassador to the U.S. and to the WTO Rubens Ricupero; former
Ambassador (London and Paris) and former Minister of Commerce,
Industry, and Trade Sergio Amaral; and Ombudsman for the "Folha de
Sao Paulo" newspaper Carlos Eduardo Lins da Silva.

Will the U.S. Lead?

3. Ambassador Amaral noted that, during the periods right after
World Wars I and II, the United States offered a sweeping vision for
change to the international community. He questioned whether
Washington would again step up to the plate. Senator Hagel replied
that he was confident the U.S. could fulfill this role yet again.

Trade Now Front and Center

4. Ambassador Ricupero noted how trade had taken center stage in
U.S.-Latin American relations. He recommended that the U.S. not
pursue a big, inclusive FTA-type agreement with Brazil, since the
agricultural issues that separate the two countries are too great.
Instead, he said the U.S. and Brazil should focus on sectoral
accords, searching out specific areas where trade can be freed up.
Ambassador Amaral seconded this approach. Ambassador Sobel cited
Colombia as a concrete example of the benefits of free trade. He
pointed to the "sea change" that he had seen in perceptions of the
country. Once, Colombia was viewed entirely through the lens of
national security, but now people discuss the country in terms of
investment opportunities.

5. Ambassador Barbosa underlined the possibilities for U.S.-Brazil
trade relations in the energy area. The U.S. needs energy and
Brazil is rapidly developing into a potential energy exporter. That
said, Brazil will need "hundreds of billions in new investment" to
realize this potential, particularly in the development of off-shore
petroleum reserves, a fact which sets optimal conditions for doing
business with U.S. firms, experts in this area.

Pragmatism Critical

6. (SBU) Ambassador Amaral argued that both the U.S. and Brazil should
be more pragmatic in the way they think about each other. With
burgeoning economic complementarities in energy, the U.S. has "no
reason to push Brazil" on matters of security, Iraq, or terrorism
(issues that seem distant to the Brazilians). Instead, he was
confident that mutual economic interests could bring the two
countries together.

7. (SBU) Ambassador Ricupero observed that Brazil could be more calm
and pragmatic in regard to Washington. He cited a recent editorial by
retired Brazilian Admiral that used gentle wit to describe some
Brazilians' hyperventilating response to the announcement of the
re-creation (on paper) of the Fourth Fleet. In his article, Admiral
Flores said that Brazil "should be more worried about the condition
of its one and only fleet than worried about the United States
Fourth Fleet."

Governor Serra: Worried About Protectionism

8. Senator Hagel also met with Sao Paulo Governor Jose Serra, who
invited Ambassador Ricupero to accompany him. Ricupero described
the U.S. as entangled in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and said that
Brazilians do not respond to recent U.S. rhetoric about national

SAO PAULO 00000529 002.2 OF 002


security. Brazil, he noted, was a country insulated from world
conflicts by geography -- it has not fought a war in one hundred
years -- and it is the only BRIC without nuclear weapons. All of
this means that the U.S. emphasis on security often does not
resonate with Brazilians.

9. Ambassador Sobel remarked on Brazil's critical, strategic role
in biofuels and how Brazil's new oil discoveries have only added to
the country's importance as a possible energy exporter. This offers
excellent possibilities for partnership with the U.S. Governor
Serra added that Sao Paulo State produces two-thirds of Brazil's
ethanol.

10. (SBU) Governor Serra then asked about the presidential candidates'
economic policies. He recalled that nine years previously he had
debated Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi in Berkeley and that,
at that time, he found her "very protectionist." Hagel replied that
Pelosi's position was "a minority view," and that, while some
Democrats might use protectionist rhetoric, Obama had surrounded
himself with pragmatic, pro-market economic advisors like Paul
Volker and Robert Rubin. Candidate McCain, Hagel noted, had always
been a vigorous free trader. Senator Hagel then concluded the
meeting by inviting Governor Serra to Washington, DC. Governor
Serra expressed interest in receiving a copy of Senator Hagel's
book.

11. This cable was coordinated/cleared by Senator Hagel's Staff and
by Embassy Brasilia.

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