Ukraine, Lula looks to China and Russia and makes the US nervous

Brazil’s president defected from Biden’s virtual democracy summit and urged US and EU to ‘stop encouraging war’ and ‘start talking about peace’

A few weeks after his dramatic new inauguration, marked by the assault on the palaces of power in Brasilia by supporters of the defeated Yair Bolsonaro, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva had flown to Washington. And together with Joe Bidenwho had experienced the same trauma with the storming of Congress just days before his inauguration in 2021, had promised to “work together to strengthen democratic institutions and continue to reject extremism and violence in politics”.

It seemed like the beginning of a solid cooperation between the two progressive presidents, to counter the far-right ideological partnership between Donald Trump and Bolsonaro, but instead in the space of a few months the distance between Brasilia and Washingtonand not just on the front of
war in Ukraine

Lulawho defected to Biden’s second virtual democracy summit and did not join the statement condemning the invasion of Ukraine, instead made a major mission to China last week from where urged US and Europe to “stop encouraging war” and “start talking about peace”. Words and tones that have significantly increased the nervousness of the United States.

The reply of the spokesman of the spokesman for the White House Security Council, John Kirby, was dry: “Brazil has addressed, in a formal and substantial way, the issue by suggesting that the United States and Europe are somehow not interested in peace or that we we share responsibility for the war: in this case, Brazil is parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda without looking at the facts.”

Lula’s Chinese mission was followed in recent days by that of Sergei Lavrov in Brasilia, as part of a tour of Latin America by the head of Russian diplomacy, obviously enthusiastic about Lula’s position. “As regards Ukraine, we are grateful to our Brazilian friends for their excellent understanding of the genesis of the situation“, he said praising the Brazilian president’s efforts for “a club for peace”.

Lula’s challenge to Washington is not centered only on Ukrainegiven that the president – who during his previous mandates between 2003 and 2010 was one of the founders of the BRICS group which brings together the economies, Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, alternatives to the West – during his visit to China has stressed the need for the bloc to take action to free the world from dependence on the US dollar.

By pushing hard on the accelerator of the traditional foreign policy of a non-aligned country, Lula and his team do not hide their desire to redesign the architecture of current global politics, diminishing the dominance of the West. “Brazil wants to reform global governance, and we would like one that doesn’t look like the current Security Council,” explained Celso Amorim, one of Lula’s top advisers, in an interview with the Post.

All of this “shaping a relevance for Brazil”, underlines an analyst from the Atlantic Council, explaining that this involves a certain balancing act on Lula’s part: “Brazil will continue its traditional non-aligned and non-interventionist approach in foreign policy, seeking to continue close diplomatic relations with strategic partners, which include both the United States and China.”