Brazil Reinforces Commitment to the Creation of a Peace Zone in South America
By Dialogo April 04, 2012
In two recent interviews, Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim reaffirmed a commitment to invest in the creation of a South American peace zone and a continental system of military-industrial cooperation.
Published in the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio and the Brazilian magazine IstoÉ, the articles also emphasized the need to invest in reequipping the Armed Forces.
When describing Brazilian strategy to the Chilean newspaper, the minister was incisive: “When I think about the Brazilian defense situation, in South America its cooperation, and outside [the continent] it’s deterrence.”
According to Amorim, a continental policy of deterrence is important in order to prevent greed for the natural resources of the region, which is rich in energy resources, raw materials, food, and water resources.
In the interview with the Brazilian magazine, the minister said that Brazilian defense grand strategy must include foreign affairs. “I believe there may be a shift in intensity along these lines, especially in cooperation with South America. This is one of the major axes of work for upcoming years. If our policy for the world has more to do with deterrence, it’s one of cooperation for the region.”
On the subject of industrial cooperation, when speaking to El Mercurio, Amorim stressed that each country can contribute within its possibilities. As an example, he mentioned the purchase of Colombian armored speedboats that will be used by the Brazilian Navy for Amazonian river surveillance.
Throughout the interviews, the defense minister also addressed the question of investment in operational resources for the Armed Forces. He said that the available resources, if not ideal, are at least creating an expectation of improvement.
“When we talk about the budget, we obviously know that it’s not satisfactory,” Amorim told IstoÉ. “For instance, if we compare the defense budget with our needs, with the needs of a BRIC country that has the world’s sixth-largest economy, it’s not compatible.
“We need to take many things into consideration, such as the size of the country, the extension of the coast and the land borders, the natural resources. However, if we compare this year’s budget to last year’s, it’s reasonable.”
He went on to guarantee that the Armed Forces investment and modernization projects will continue, despite the contingencies. “The helicopter purchase has not been affected, nor the nuclear-submarine project or the armored-vehicle program.”
Immediately following, he said that he believes that the solution for the F-X2 Program for the acquisition of combat airplanes by the Brazilian Air Force is near and that it should be resolved “within this half of the year.”