Cablegate: Scenesetter for the November 20 Bilateral Defense


DE RUEHBR #1487/01 3191836
O 141836Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/14/2018

Classified By: Political Counselor Stephen Liston. Reason: 1.5 (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY. The revival of the Bilateral Working Group
(BWG) with Brazil comes at an important time for our
strategic partnership. With Nelson Jobim as Defense
Minister, Brazil has, for the first time, effective civilian
leadership and a mandate to modernize its armed forces. As
Brazil completes its new defense strategy, it will be making
key decisions, notably on the purchase of new fighter
aircraft, that will affect the nature of our relationship for
years to come. While some Brazilian leaders still find it
politically convenient to portray the U.S. as a potential
adversary, most of the Brazilian military is well apprised of
the potential benefits of partnership. It has been over six
years since the BWG last met, because of Brazilian
indifference and lack of MOD staffing. The BWG will provide
an opportunity to highlight issues of mutual interest and set
the stage for this to become a regular event as an important
element of our strategy for expanding and strengthening our
defense partnership. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) The relationship between the United States and Brazil
is as productive and broad-based as it has ever been, the
result of the excellent relationship between President Bush
and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, new cooperation
mechanisms on biofuels, business issues, and economic
matters, and our shared goals of fostering hemispheric
stability, promoting democracy, developing a consensus on
next steps regarding climate change, and achieving a mutually
satisfactory conclusion to the Doha round of WTO
negotiations. U.S.-Brazil cooperation on foreign policy
issues is often limited by the GOB's unwillingness to speak
out against anti-democratic actions in the hemisphere
(Venezuela and Cuba), take key steps to address key issues
such as nuclear proliferation and counterterrorist concerns,
and expand its international leadership in meaningful ways.
Operational cooperation on law enforcement issues, such as
counternarcotics, container security, and intelligence
sharing, are highlights of the bilateral relationship.
Brazil's ethanol program has made it a global model for
alternative energy and offers potential for bilateral
cooperation on an important strategic issue.

3. (SBU) With approval ratings hovering near 80 percent,
President Lula is more popular than at any other point since
he took office in 2003. Continuity and legacy are the
guiding lights of Lula's second term. Lula continues to
shape his legacy as a friend of the poor and builder of a
foundation for prosperity for the lower and middle classes
through broad social welfare programs and a vast, new
economic growth program of public works and growth
incentives. At the same time, Lula has failed to promote
needed reforms to abolish a political culture of corruption,
clientelism, and spoils.

4. (SBU) The United States and Brazil share the basic goals
of fostering hemispheric stability, promoting democracy,
preventing terrorist and drug transit activity, supporting
international non-proliferation regimes, and have been
working together to try to achieve a mutually satisfactory
conclusion to the Doha round of WTO negotiations. U.S.-Brazil
cooperation is often limited by the GOB's unwillingness to
take action regarding threats to democracy in specific
countries and to support aggressive action in multilateral
forums on such issues as non-proliferation, human rights, and
democracy. Many Brazilian leaders also take a cautious
approach to relations with the United States, sometimes
falling back on shopworn Latin American leftist rhetoric
about excessive U.S. influence. Brazil maintains an active
dialogue with Venezuela and Cuba, has worked hard to restore
relations with Bolivia, and has stood firmly on the principle
of respect for sovereignty in responding to the dispute
between Colombia and Ecuador, preferring to work through the
Organization of American States. The attainment of a
permanent seat on the UN Security Council has been a central
goal of Brazil's foreign policy.

5. (U) Brazilians are historically less attuned to
development in the United States than many other Latin
Americans are, but have recently shown a high degree of
interest in events in the U.S., especially the Presidential
election. Expectations for the Obama presidency are high,
particularly in terms of the U.S. relationship with Latin
America. President Lula has invited the President-elect to
visit Brazil early in his administration. In discussing the

election with Brazilians, post has emphasized the continuity
of interests on key foreign policy issues and the continuity
of the fundamental interests -- regional stability, promotion
of democracy -- that Brazil shares with the U.S.


6. (C) At President Lula,s direction, Brazil is now
completing a new defense strategy document to set an overall
course on security issues. While not yet published (due to
interagency disagreements on several points), it is widely
reported that the strategy will have three main elements:
modernization of the armed forces, revitalization of defense
industries and implementation of a new regime of national
service. We expect that an important result of the new
strategy will be an increase in funding devoted to national
defense, which has been under-resourced since the end of the
military government over twenty years ago. The resurgence of
importance of the Brazilian military presents a unique
opportunity to increase our bilateral cooperation and defense
partnership. Several issues will be key in determining the
degree to which we will succeed in enhancing our partnership.

7. (C) The first potential watershed in achieving a more
robust defense relationship with Brazil will be the decision
on a next generation fighter aircraft. Boeing,s F18 Super
Hornet is a finalist along with the French Rafale and Swedish
Gripen. A decision will be made in March 2009, with a final
contract award in October of next year. It would be
difficult to overstate the significance of Brazil,s Air
Force committing to a U.S. aircraft as its primary fighter
for the next generation. Boeing,s proposal combines cutting
edge technology with a strong package of industrial
cooperation. While the Super Hornet is clearly Brazil,s
best option both because of its capabilities and the
advantages that interoperability with the U.S. military will
bring, it is currently perceived as an underdog in the
competition. This is because of an effective disinformation
campaign from a few members of the Brazilian press with an
anti-U.S. agenda that has led most Brazilian decision makers
to believe that the U.S. will not transfer superior military
technology to Brazil. Several Cold War era denials of
military items (e.g. Harpoon missiles) and recent headaches
with commercial exporters of military items (Honeywell gyros)
seem to reinforce this perception. While the BWG will not
address the fighter purchase directly, the Brazilian side
will view discussions of technology transfer in light of
their imagined concerns about the fighter purchase.

8. (SBU) There are a number of areas with prospects for
immediate cooperation. Brazil is considering stationing
police and navy officers at JIATF South. The Brazilian
military has participated in several major exercises,
including UNITAS and PANAMEX with several more in prospect.
Brazil has invited U.S. personnel to train at its jungle
warfare school in Manaus, however, the high demands on U.S.
special forces have prevented acceptance. The Brazilian navy
has shown interest in vessels for coastal patrol and in
improving their maritime situational awareness capabilities.

9. (C) We are in the process of pursuing information
sharing agreements with Brazilian services -- potentially
leading to a GSOIA. Progress has been slow because of
bureaucratic concerns, but Brazil is interested in
continuing. We should use the BWG to underline the
importance of information sharing and its benefits for both
sides. However, it is post's view that making an information
sharing agreement a precondition for the fighter sale will
doom Boeing,s chances, and will do nothing to enhance the
prospects of reaching an information sharing arrangement with

10. (C) We have been stalled on our Defense Cooperation
Agreement (DCA) for almost a year because of the Ministry for
External Affairs, failure to take action and the MOD,s
unwillingness to burn political capital to push this. While
this situation is unlikely to change in the near term, we
should remind the Brazilians that the DCA is important for
future partnership, especially as it can shorten the process
of approval for various future cooperative activities.
Brazil has signed a large number of similar agreements this
year, so ours will not be a precedent and could be seen in
the context of normal friendly mil-mil relations.

11. (SBU) The April announcement of the reactivation of the
Fourth Fleet caught Brazil by surprise and provoked much
negative commentary. Even many Brazilians not prone to
accept the wild-eyed theories of U.S. intentions to invade
the Amazon suspect that the announcement, coming as it did on
the heels of the announcement that Brazil had discovered more
oil off the Brazilian coast, could not have been a
coincidence. While Brazilian military leaders now say they
understand the reasons for the Fourth Fleet,s standup,
President Lula has recently stated again that it poses some
threat to Brazil. Lula,s statement was pure domestic
politics, and his advisors have assured us that he
understands the true nature and purpose of the Fourth Fleet.
Nonetheless, the episode both demonstrates and has heightened
Brazilian sensitivities with regard to U.S. military actions
in the region.

12. (SBU) In a similar vein, discoveries of oil off
Brazil,s coast have been cited as justifications for
increasing Brazil,s navy. While the oil finds will almost
certainly increase Brazil,s future prosperity, we should
seek to turn the strategic dialogue in Brazil away from
fantasies that another country--potentially the United
States--would try to seize the oil fields to a productive
discussion of energy security and the importance of
maintaining freedom of the seas.

13. (SBU) This is the first BWG in over six years, and it
comes at an ideal time with stronger leadership in the MOD
that is truly interested in building our defense partnership.
The best possible result will be agreement that such
meetings should continue regularly as an ongoing dialogue.
The BWG will be followed by a technology security dialogue
which will look to establish a channel for regular
information exchanges on technology to demystify U.S. export
controls and a means to address specific export control cases
without political involvement.

© Scoop Media

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