Scenesetter For Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, March 1-2, 2009

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Classified By: DCM LISA KUBISKE. REASON: 1.5(D)

¶1. (C) SUMMARY. The CJCS visit to 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. With a new defense strategy published in
December, 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. In spite of the Lula
administration’s political aloofness on defense matters and
the Foreign Ministry’s spring-loaded position of keeping the
U.S. at arms length in defense and security matters, our
current military-to-military relations are very good and
improving. 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. 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 former 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. (U) 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. (U) 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. Many
Brazilian leaders 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

¶5. (U) Brazilians are historically less attuned to
developments 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 in 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
Obama to visit Brazil early in his administration and will
visit Washington March 17. 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

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democracy — that Brazil shares with the U.S. The GOB
stresses continuing and hopefully expanding the base of
cooperation built up between the U.S. and Brazil in recent


¶6. (C) At President Lula’s direction, Brazil has completed
a new defense strategy document to set an overall course on
security issues. Published on 17 December 2008, it has three
main elements: modernization of the armed forces,
revitalization of defense industries and implementation of a
new regime of national service. For the Brazilian military,
the key result of the strategy process has been the
reintegration of defense goals into the country,s overall
development strategy and political dialogue. 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 worldwide economic downturn has,
however, affected Brazil; therefore, boosts to defense
spending may be less than the military would consider ideal.
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 F-18 Super
Hornet is a finalist along with the French Rafale and Swedish
Gripen. A decision will be made in June 2009, with a final
contract award in October. 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. Many
of Brazil,s political leaders remain uncomfortable with the
idea of a close security relationship with the U.S. and
believe France would be a better strategic partner. This
view is not shared among the military, where the Super Hornet
is generally seen as Brazil,s best option. To be
successful, Boeing will have to make a strong case that its
offset package offers economic benefits to Brazil far greater
than its competitors. The Brazilian MOD and Air Force have
stated clearly that these benefits must include substantial
transfers of technology. Unfortunately, some Brazilian
decision makers 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) are cited to reinforce this perception,
although the USG has already approved technology transfers in
support of Boeing,s bid that meet all Brazilian requirements.

¶8. (U) There are a number of areas with prospects for
immediate cooperation. Brazil is stationing a police officer
and considering stationing a Navy officer at Joint
Interagency Task Force (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, and there will be two USSOCOM soldiers in the jungle
course this year which will mark the first U.S. students in
just over a decade. 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. The Ministry of Defense has formally
presented us with its proposed changes to the draft GSOMIA
text. OSD has offered to host the first of the reciprocal
visits in May 09. Then, Brazil will host us, after which,
with a text approved by both side, we can sign the agreement.
It should be noted MinDef Jobim has explicitly stated to us
the agreement must be signed between the MOD and OSD in order

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for him to be able to leave his own Foreign Ministry out of
the process.

¶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 in the
last two years, so ours would not be a precedent and could be
seen in the context of normal friendly mil-mil relations.

¶11. (U) In Nov 08 we conducted the first Bilateral Working
Group for Defense (BWG-D) in over six years, and it came at
an ideal time with stronger leadership in the MOD that is
truly interested in building our defense partnership. One of
the main goals was to agree that such meetings should
continue regularly as an ongoing dialogue. We will follow up
the BWG-D with 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


¶12. (U) Fourth Fleet. The April 2008 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.

¶13. (U) Oil Field Discoveries. In a similar vein,
discoveries of oil off Brazil’s coast have been cited as
justifications for increasing Brazil’s navy — even to
include a nuclear-powered submarine. 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.

¶14. (C) The Amazon. There is a portion of the Brazilian
population, and military, convinced the United States has
nefarious designs on the Amazon. Fortunately, the rabid
ultra-nationalists are in the minority, but this issue will
never die as the famous internet hoax about a supposed U.S.
social studies textbook which shows a map of the Amazon
overlaid with the words “International Territory” continues
to make the rounds every couple of years.

¶15. (C) Terrorism. Officially, Brazil does not have
terrorism inside its borders. In reality, several Islamic
groups with known or suspected ties to extremist
organizations have branches in Brazil and are suspected of
carrying out financing activities. Although there is good
working-level law enforcement cooperation between the U.S.
and Brazil on terrorism related activities, the official
position of the government is to deny that Brazil has any
terrorist activity.

¶16. (C) Tri-Border Area (TBA). Related to the above,
Brazilians are wary of U.S. officials who say “terrorism” and
“TBA” in the same sentence. The new Brazilian come-back to a
comment about the TBA is “which one? We have nine tri-border
areas.” The facts are there are probably more foreign
intelligence capabilities in the TBA than there are

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terrorists. The real sleeping giant is So Paulo where a
Middle Eastern population of over a million provides
excellent opportunity to blend in with the crowd.

¶17. (C) Indigenous lands. The military does not like the
fact that the government has given “sovereign” status to
Indian lands, especially in border areas. The current
hot-button issue is the Serra Raposa do Sol area (northern
state of Roraima border with Venezuela) where the government
has ordered rice farmers out of Indian lands and sent the
Army to enforce the policy. Privately, Brazilian officers
complain about this since the Army cannot stay in the area
indefinitely and when it pulls out the farmers will move
right back in. That sentiment is coupled with the general
opinion that the Indians don’t produce anything but the
farmers do, so the farmers should be the ones using the land.
Additionally, many officers believe the “sovereign” status
of the land is an invitation to those who would use the
border area for transnational crime since there is no state