Can a country be an "economic power" without having military power to back it up? Brazil seems ready to give it a try.
In the U.S. and the EU, economies are struggling to return to growth, and defense budgets face the chopping block. Meanwhile, "BRIC" economies are booming, with predictable results. Russia's revived the Red Square military parades, with a defense budget to match. India is busily crunching numbers for a $10 billion tender to modernize its air force. And you know all about China.
Brazil, meanwhile, seems content to sit out the party.
As recently as a few months ago, Brazil was marching in lockstep with its fellow BRIC-ers. It placed orders to buy four submarines and 50 military helicopters from France, bolstered local defense contractor Embraer
But Brazil recently changed residents at the Palacio do Planalto, and new President Dilma Rousseff is taking a different tack from her predecessor. She's upending the FX-2 fighter competition, and inviting both Boeing and Lockheed Martin
And it gets worse. On Monday, Rousseff announced that she's rethinking plans to spend $6 billion on new warships to beef up the Brazilian navy. This won't affect U.S. contractors, who aren't bidding on the contract, but BAE, DCNS, and Thyssenkrupp can't be pleased by the development.
Tanks on the yellow BRIC road
However, I suspect another offended party may demand a re-rethink of Rousseff's rethink. Brazil's national oil company, Petrobras
Take Petrobras and Brazil's intertwined interests; add some lobbying dollars from ExxonMobil
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