Brazil has long prided itself on one simple fact: a country with no enemies. The last time Brazil went to war with its neighbors was more than 140 years ago. But Brazil is changing. It is now the world’s 7th largest economy. Its leaders see the country on the path towards becoming a first world country. And all of these first world countries have military strength in common.
Brazil is becoming a major customer for foreign military hardware, while rebuilding its own defense industry. With an annual budget of nearly 40 billion dollars a year, Brazil currently ranks as the tenth largest defense spender in the world.
It is perhaps no coincidence that the others: the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China, are the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; one that Brazil has long been lobbying to join.
Also, the country recently signed a 4.5 billion dollar deal to buy 36 fighter jets from the Swedish manufacturer, Saab. US-based Boeing bid hard to win the contract from Brazil. However, the allegations of US National Security Agency spying apparently persuaded President Rousseff not to buy American.
But whatever the source of all its military hardware, a question does remain. What does Brazil plan to do with it? Brazil’s foreign policy is currently entirely non-interventionist, but it does have a long tradition of leading UN peacekeeping and aid missions. Right now, Brazil has more than 1700 military and police personnel in Haiti.
CCTV America’s Stephen Gibbs reports.