This week, I had the delightful experience of getting some insanely vicious malware onto my laptop, which I tried every possible way to get rid of using advice from IT people, and ended up having to pay to get it fixed. Thankfully, I'm up and running again, and I'm now really considering switching over to Mac.
In any event, this week is a huge week for Brazil-U.S. relations, as Hillary Clinton has landed in Brasilia and is set to meet with Lula tomorrow in her first official visit to Brazil. Recently, I wrote about Lula's foreign policy over on FPB and about Hillary's visit, amongst other things. The post resulted from an email exchange about politics with a Brazilian friend, the hubby of an American blogger friend, who explained to me how Lula is a lula, in the political sense, a metaphor that had never occurred to me quite like that. So thanks, Henrique! [Update: Henrique sent me an interesting op-ed about Hillary's visit - read it here]
Hillary's visit is packed with a lot of action items (she only has one day), but Iran seems to be at the top of the list. The US government wants Brazil to get on board with sanctions to try to contain Ahmadinejad, who many suspect is building a nuclear bomb. From the look of things, Lula is likely going to say, não, obrigado, because the Brazilian government does not want to be told what to do by the US, even though the Iran policy has yet to be finalized. Personally, I'm not sure sanctions will work on a mentally unstable dictator hellbent on destruction, but if anyone could pacify a lunatic, maybe Lula's the man for the job. I'm not a huge Lula fan, but I definitely recognize his diplomatic skills. He's due to make an official visit to Tehran, and maybe he can bring some cachaça to placate the Iranian leader, a la Ze Carioca. Or maybe he could appease him with humor?
Hillary and Lula have some serious trade issues to discuss, including a bitter WTO conflict and the purchase of airplanes for the Brazilian air force (the US wants Brazil to buy Boeing, but it looks like they are leaning toward France). They're also due to discuss aid in Haiti, since both countries are taking the lead in recovery efforts. Hillary is somewhat of a controversial figure in the US, but regardless of your political views, she, like Lula, is extremely capable in terms of diplomacy. The best we can hope from this visit is smoother sailing between the two countries, and maybe even a rumored visit by Obama to Brazil sometime soon.