Clicky
Modal close
Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: You turn to Democracy Now! for independent, ad-free daily news covering the issues you care about the most. We can only produce our daily news hour with your support. Right now, a generous donor will double your donation to Democracy Now! Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a few minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else.

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.

Donate

Ex-Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim on Rousseff's Ouster, Trump, Syria & Why Diplomacy Works

Web ExclusiveApril 27, 2017
Listen
Media Options
Listen

Brazilian diplomat Celso Amorim was once described by the magazine Foreign Policy as the world’s best foreign minister. He served as foreign minister under two Brazilian presidents, mostly recently Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Amorim is known for supporting South-South cooperation between developing nations, recognizing the state of Palestine, diplomatically negotiating a resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue and reversing widespread economic inequality in Brazil through an income transferral program called "Bolsa Famíliar." He has just come out with a new book, "Acting Globally: Memoirs of Brazil’s Assertive Foreign Policy."

Related Story

Video squareWeb ExclusiveMay 16, 2016Chomsky: Today's GOP is a Candidate for Most Dangerous Organization in Human History—Part 2
Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We’re joined now by former Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, a man once described by the magazine Foreign Policy as the world’s best foreign minister. Amorim served as foreign minister from 1993 to 1995 under President Itamar Franco and again from 2003 to 2011 under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He also served as minister of defense from August 2011 to December 2014 under former President Dilma Rousseff. Amorim has long advocated for South-South cooperation between developing nations, recognizing the state of Palestine, diplomatically negotiating a resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue and reversing widespread economic inequality in Brazil through an income transferral program called Bolsa Família.

AMY GOODMAN: Celso Amorim joins us now here in the studio. He’s just come out with a new book, Acting Globally: Memoirs of Brazil’s Assertive Foreign Policy.

We welcome you to Democracy Now!

CELSO AMORIM: It’s a pleasure. Thank you very much.

AMY GOODMAN: What’s happening in Brazil right now?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, what happened is that we had a change of government—not only a change of persons, but a change of project—without an election. So, I always compare to the situation in the United States. I was here, by coincidence, when there was the problem with Nixon and then with Clinton. In either case, you would imagine that even—even if Nixon was impeached—well, in fact, he resigned—that Ford would get allied with McGovern, or that Gore would get allied with Jesse Helms. But that was precisely what happened in Brazil. The vice president, who had no clear political color, changed completely his side to a more center-right or neoliberal kind of vision. But not to go into the details of the impeachment process itself, which is, of course, full of doubts.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what about, as we’re hearing here of the level of corruption in Brazil, among various parties, including the Workers’ Party, which supposedly was the one that was most staunchly anticorruption, during President da Silva’s term? Can you talk about the issue of corruption, how that has affected Brazilian society?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, there is no clear accusation of personal corruption of the leaders—or the main leaders, at least, of the Workers’ Party in Brazil—Lula or Dilma, nothing against them. I think what the Workers’ Party—that’s not a justification, but I’m just trying to explain.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Right.

CELSO AMORIM: The political system in Brazil is so expensive, the electoral system is so expensive, the influence of economic power is so big, that the Workers’ Party tried to do what the others already did. That does not justify. I quite agree, that has to be changed. But the root of the problem is the very expensive electoral system that we have in Brazil. I think that maybe—of course, maybe not for the presidential election, but at the other levels, maybe our elections are even more expensive than yours. I have not made a calculation, but I think so.

AMY GOODMAN: The effect of what has happened in Brazil on Latin America and the rest of the world? Would you describe what’s happened in Brazil as a coup?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, yes, I personally do that. I understand that from a formal point of view, the process ran with the tolerance or acceptance of the Supreme Court, so, I mean, the formalities will all maybe, to some—there are people who question that, as well, but, anyway, to some extent respected. But the question is that the substance, the actual accusation against President Dilma, was something that had been done before by other presidents and accepted by our equivalent of the General Accounting Office in Brazil. So, it was really a pretext, because her popularity was low. We had a real economic problem. I’m not saying that we did not make mistakes either.

AMY GOODMAN: Right. They did not accuse her of personal corruption.

CELSO AMORIM: No, no. There’s no accusation of personal corruption in the impeachment process or even anywhere.

AMY GOODMAN: And what, if you—

CELSO AMORIM: She was—she was accused of, let us say, making budgetary maneuvering, putting money from one year to another, things like that, which other presidents had done. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. Probably it’s wrong, but had been accepted even by the—by our court of accounts.

AMY GOODMAN: Before we move on into international affairs, what does it mean for Brazil? When you talk about a different project without an election, what is the direction that this new regime is taking Brazil in?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, I think, let us say—let us put Lula’s government and Dilma, to—I think, to a large extent, were governments that were intent on two things: increasing equality—diminishing inequality, which is brutal in Brazil, as in other parts of Latin America, but it’s very brutal—heritage of slavery and so forth, not very—not much unlike the United States, but at a much lower level, so it creates big problems—and also trying to have more autonomy in international affairs. That’s, let us say, where the foreign policy comes. So I think these were the two things which changed drastically since the impeachment. There have been several measures which curtail social rights. I mean, for instance, there is something which is like, for me—I mean, I have lived in many countries, because I’m a diplomat; before I became minister, I was a former diplomat. So, I never saw anywhere a freezing of the government expenditures for 20 years—freezing—as a constitutional amendment. So, that’s something that boggles the mind even. It’s something—so, this, of course, means that there will be cuts in health, cuts in education, cuts in security. Well, apart from that, there are also very—how could I call it? Neoliberal, whatever, orthodox, or whatever you want to say—I mean, I don’t like very much the slogans, but, anyway, let us say neoliberal, because that they are called, reforms of the social security system. There are proposed—there has already been some changes in the labor laws, allowing people to somehow give away some jobs to people who are not really part of the labor establishment, working force.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On foreign policy, under President Lula, Brazil assumed a much larger profile on the world stage. And I’m wondering if you could talk about how that developed and also the amazing work you did in terms of Iran and nuclear power in Iran.

CELSO AMORIM: Well, trying to be short, I mean, this was a process. Brazil had big deficits, which prevented it from, let us say—I once read an article that said Brazil is a country that punches below its weight. Long ago. We are the fifth country in size of territory. We are the fifth country in population. We are maybe seventh or eighth, maybe now a little bit down, nine even—I don’t know—in terms of GDP. So it’s a very important country. And we behave, maximum, as a regional power.

But three things happened. Brazil became democratic. Now it’s a little bit not how it will happen, but, anyway, it became democratic. It stabilized the economy, which was very important. Cardoso also had an important role in that, the previous president. And then, the most important thing, decided to attack inequality. That’s what attracted so much the attention of the world to President Lula, and keeping the democracy, not unlike other countries, in which they would have to be in a kind of revolutionary change through other methods. So these allowed us to recover our self-esteem. And so, in a way, what happened in Brazil is, before—before President Obama, what the election of President Lula represented, "Yes, we can. Yes, we can."

So, we can also in international affairs. So we worked for the integration of South America very strongly. We worked for our relations with Africa, with the Arab world—without abandoning the United States. I think President Lula had probably the longest discussion with President Bush. President Bush went twice to Brazil during his term. Here, in Camp David, it was very substantive. It’s not just a state visit with a ball or something like that. It was where they discussed Iran. They discussed Cuba. They discussed—I mean, they didn’t necessarily agree, but they—it was a very positive discussion. So that allowed us to participate in important aspects of the trade negotiations, for instance. I think Brazil really helped change, dramatically, the pattern of the negotiations in WTO. It allowed us to have an important role in the Middle East. Brazil was one of the few developing countries invited, for instance, for the Annapolis conference during Bush’s presidency. And, actually, at the request of President Obama, at the clear request of President Obama, President Lula—then, of course, I, as foreign minister, myself, got involved—we tried to help in, let us say, making confidence-building gesture on—having a confidence-building gesture on the part of Iran in relation to the nuclear program. We did exactly what had been proposed. But somehow the politics in the U.S. had changed, so the agreement was not accepted. But I was very happy that two or three years later this was taken again by President Obama. So, hopefully, it will continue.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s stay in the Middle East. You’re the former defense minister of Brazil, the former foreign minister. You have met Bashar al-Assad several times.

CELSO AMORIM: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: The president of Syria, the dictator of Syria.

CELSO AMORIM: Yes, not only me, but the former senator—at the time, Senator John Kerry met. One of the—I mention in the book, one of the memoirs that was given to me to try to negotiate the Golan Heights was a copy of a paper that had been given to John Kerry. So, I mean, you have to—I mean, Kofi Annan used to say, "You don’t only talk to your friends. You have to talk to the adversaries, as well."

AMY GOODMAN: So what was your response to the U.S. striking the Syrian military last week—hardly inflicted any damage—but in response to the chemical attack? And what is your assessment of what’s happening in Syria right now, the horror?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, let me—about the striking. I was a Brazilian ambassador to the U.N., as well, so I’m very respectful of the U.N. norms. And so, whatever the motives and whatever you think of the Assad regime, whatever you think of the situation itself, you have to follow the rules. And the rules, which are in international treaties, is that you cannot launch an armed attack without the authorization of the Security Council, unless it’s in self-defense. But I think it was not even alleged that it was self-defense. We don’t know precisely how the chemical weapons were launched. But even supposing that it was a barbarous act by Assad, it would need a Security Council approval. In this case, there was not even a discussion in the Security Council. So I—well, I am now a visitor to the United States. I’m respectful of my host. But, of course, I personally, in terms of the legality of the action in international aspects, it’s an act that had to be condemned.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And your sense of the role of President Assad in this continuing conflict and civil war now, because Syria is such a complex place, with now Russia involved, as well, and the United States and ISIS, and not only ISIS, but other groups? How would you see, as a diplomat and as a former foreign minister, a potential solution to the crisis in Syria?

CELSO AMORIM: It’s—as you say, it’s very complicated. You didn’t mention Iran also, which is, of course, very important there.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yes.

CELSO AMORIM: And you cannot come to a deal there without having Iran on the table. That doesn’t meant that you should like or not like, but that’s the truth of the matter. So but I think it has to be by dialogue, I think. Kofi Annan tried that, just in the early part of this decade. And later on, when there was the agreement with Iran, when the United States had the agreement of this joint program, joint program of action, there was discussion of having a broader—more people around, including Russia, including maybe Israel—I don’t know—but also Iran, because you have to have everyone who have an influence there. And I think it has to be by dialogue. I mean, the question of—I mean, it’s an illusion that you can bomb a country into democracy. I mean, that’s what was tried in Iraq. That’s what was tried in Libya. And quite apart from other aspects, this has done—the situation afterwards became worse.

You mentioned ISIS. In my opinion—people study the history of Salafism or whatever, and I don’t deny that they might be elements, but the main reason for the growth of ISIS and becoming the real danger that it is now for the whole world, the real—including for other Muslims—so, the great—the great danger is derived directly from the destruction of the state in Iraq.

So I think you have to deal with those that are there. Assad has, of course, many problems. Syria has many problems, which are—were there for a long time, at some point with the support of Western countries also, because they were repressing the Muslim Brotherhood. So, but—actually, Syria participated in the first Gulf War on the side of the United States. So, it’s a more complex situation.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s a very significant point—

CELSO AMORIM: Yes. Absolutely, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —that Syria was an ally of the United States.

CELSO AMORIM: It was an ally, yes, because against Saddam Hussein, for different reasons, because they had—they had a kind of almost Arab civil war there between—they were the same party, which was called the Ba’ath party. So, anyway, but I think it has to be through dialogue. That’s inevitable, whether you like it or you don’t like it. And, of course, the alternatives there in Syria don’t seem so nice. I mean, the people lack—I mean, people speak a lot, and even my friend Hillary Clinton used to speak a lot, about the moderate rebels. But the moderate rebels don’t have any strength. I mean, and, actually, let us say the shades of grey to speak about between the moderate rebels and the radical rebels are very difficult to define. So...

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted, if I can, to turn to another part of the world, closer to home: Venezuela.

CELSO AMORIM: Mm-hmm.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: When President Lula was president of Brazil, he had a very good relationship, even though differences, with President Chávez. Now there’s a new president in Venezuela, and the economy now is in total free fall. I’m wondering your sense of what—with the crisis in Venezuela, what it means for Latin America?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, again, I mean, you have—when we were there, when we came to—when President Lula came to power in 2003, there was a big crisis, not unlike the one that we have here, maybe not the same economic situation, but it was almost on the verge of civil war. And I had an excellent dialogue with Colin Powell, for instance, and Brazil, under the auspices of President Lula, created a group of friends. The group of friends included countries like ours, of course, Chile, but also included the United States and Spain and Portugal, which—who had conservative governments. And we were able to establish a dialogue. And we were able to guarantee that there was a recall referendum. Actually, Chávez won the recall referendum, with the supervision of Organization of American States.

Well, that cannot be done now. Why? One of—there are several reasons, complex. Maduro maybe is less—has less leadership than Chávez had, so there are internal problems. The prices of oil had of course aggravated problems in Venezuela. But a very important point, the biggest country in South America—you have to think that Brazil is half of South America—half in population, half in surface, and half or a little bit more than half in GDP—has somehow declared—or, not declared, but it had somehow withdraw—withdraw from any possibility of negotiation, because by adopting an attitude of sheer condemnation, it’s again—I’m not comparing actually Maduro to Assad, it’s not the same thing. But anyway, by actually condemning, maybe it’s good for your conscience, maybe it’s good for the voters, who—or maybe it’s good for the lobbyists who support you, but that doesn’t help for you to make the dialogue.

Lula had a very good relation with Chávez, but he also had a very good relation with Bush. So people even—I was foreign minister, so I talked to every—says, "Well, how come Lula is the only person who can be a friend of Bush and a friend of Chávez?" Well, he was a man of dialogue. And it is through dialogue that you can solve the problems. So, I don’t think that you can solve the problems by bombing, by—or even by verbal condemnations, that only alienate you from the possibility of mediation.

Brazil was—we created UNASUR, you know, the South American union. It was the first time in history that we had a union. You know, you only spoke of South America for football. There was an association. But for politics or for economics, no. And that was very helpful. It was very helpful, for instance, in diminishing the rivalry between Colombia and Venezuela, because it created confidence and so on. But now this instrument is not being used. And it’s not being used because the two biggest countries in South America, Brazil and—I cannot speak for Argentina, it’s not my business, and not even for Brazil, but—for the government, certainly, I do not speak—have resigned, have renounced to have any role, just by adopting this sheer condemnation attitude.

AMY GOODMAN: What is your assessment of President Trump?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, I’m now in the United States, so I’m a visitor here.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And you’re a lifelong diplomat.

CELSO AMORIM: Yeah, and I have been a lifelong diplomat. You know, in some things, I think President Trump did the right thing. For instance, going away of the TPP. The TPP would be very bad, I think, for the workers in the United States, but also very bad for other countries. The model of agreement and also the fragmentation of the World Trade Organization is not a good thing. So, in that, I agree with him. Probably it’s the only thing that I do, but I don’t know. But it’s a democracy. He was chosen. So, it’s up to the people in the United States to express themselves. And it’s not for—certainly, I’m not even a foreign leader. I’m just—of course, as I say, on this particular action, had I been foreign minister, I would have condemned.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But the impact on Latin America of a president of the United States saying he wants to build the Great Wall of China along Mexico, along the border with Mexico?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, we are very sorry for that, sorry for Mexico especially, because I think it’s very—it’s very unfair, actually. Mexico also made—people here think that all sacrifices are made by the United States. Mexico made a lot of sacrifices. The Mexican agriculture was very much affected by NAFTA. I know that. I studied NAFTA because something similar had been proposed for the whole of Latin America or the Americas, the Free Trade Area of the Americas—in Portuguese or Spanish, ALCA, it was known. And we were against, actually. We decided—well, we tried to do it the right way. When it became near the right way, then the Americans get disinterested. So, but I am, of course, very sorry for Mexico and for people of Mexico and feel a lot of solidarity for them. So, I don’t know. Maybe it’s an opportunity also for the Mexicans to look further south and to see themselves more as part of Latin America. But, of course, this is not an easy thing. They became too dependent of the—they were already dependent, but became even more dependent of the American market, of course, many people living here.

So it’s a very—and, of course, it’s not building walls. I mean, I’m just saying a commonplace expression to say, in diplomacy, you have to build bridges, not walls. I mean, I’m against all the walls. Many people were against the Berlin Wall, but there is also the wall between—in the West Bank, in Jerusalem. I’m also against that wall. And I’m also against the wall in Mexico.

AMY GOODMAN: And what about Israel-Palestine? I mean, Brazil has an interesting long relationship with the Middle East, and I was wondering if you can talk about that, and particularly the issue of Israel-Palestine, how you’ve been involved.

CELSO AMORIM: Let me start by saying that we have also a very strong relation with Israel. I mean, I have been five times to Israel. No Brazilian minister had been a first time. Lula was the first Brazilian president to pay a state visit to Israel. So, I have to say that, because sometimes it gives the impression that we are bashing Israel. That’s not true. We supported very strongly the two-state solution, and—which I think would be the best one, the one that would reinforce the Palestinian Authority, which is less radical than other movements in Palestine and the West.

But I think some actions, especially the invasions of Gaza, but most of all—most of all, the settlements, because you can say that you went to Gaza because you’re reacting to some terrorist act. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but you can claim that. But you cannot claim that you’re building settlements because that’s against terrorism. That’s just a violation of the Oslo Agreements. I mean, I don’t—these numbers are very difficult to say precise, because people change. But anyway, from what I hear, when the Oslo Agreements were signed, the number of people in the settlements in the West Bank, and maybe including East Jerusalem, was about 50,000. And now they are around 600,000. So, you know, if you go there and if you look at the map of the West Bank, it becomes more and more difficult to think about a two-state solution. So I, personally, am still a supporter of the two-state solution—two-state solution, but it’s very difficult. And that’s why we decided in 2010 to recognize the state of Palestine.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I wanted—

CELSO AMORIM: And many Latin American countries followed us.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, I wanted to ask you, in the few minutes we have left, the—there’s a lot of attention being paid by the U.S. media to the—to Russian intervention in American elections. But, of course, the United States has a long history of meddling in Latin American elections. I’m wondering your thoughts—

CELSO AMORIM: Deposing presidents, deposing—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Your thoughts on that?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, it’s very clear now, in the archives—they have become public—the American interference, when we had the military coup d’état in ’64, or when—

AMY GOODMAN: In Brazil.

CELSO AMORIM: —Pinochet succeeded Allende—

AMY GOODMAN: In Chile.

CELSO AMORIM: —not to speak of Central America even, which was much closer. So, well, I think I’m against any kind of foreign intervention. And I would just hope that—if this is true, it is regrettable. I don’t know. I don’t have the means to investigate that. So, but any kind of foreign intervention is very regrettable.

AMY GOODMAN: You were extremely critical of the U.S. intervention in the coup that deposed President Zelaya in Honduras.

CELSO AMORIM: Mm-hmm.

AMY GOODMAN: In fact, didn’t Zelaya go to the Brazilian Embassy—

CELSO AMORIM: Yes, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —when he took refuge? Hillary Clinton was secretary of state—

CELSO AMORIM: Yes.

AMY GOODMAN: —was deeply involved with that. Can you comment on what happened there?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, in the beginning, at least, I must say, I was very critical of the coup, rather than American intervention as such, because that was not—although there was a stopover, apparently, on an American base, which makes all the things suspicious, but it was not so much a passion of being critical of the American intervention, but being critical of the coup. And actually, the situation—I mean, all the process which led Zelaya to our embassy is a very complicated one, in reality. He had gone out of the country, then had gone back. And then, one day, his wife appears in our embassy and asks for asylum. And she says, "By the way, my husband is also coming here." Well—and I think what we did was to try to restrict his political speeches. And actually, that was what made it possible to come to a negotiation, because the American envoys went to the Brazilian Embassy to speak with Zelaya and to find a solution, which was finally adopted. He left the country, but the case against him was dropped, and so on. So, actually, it was not only—it was certainly in favor of democracy, of a democratically elected president, which is very important—and, for us, it’s essential—but also in favor of peace, that our action was taken. If Zelaya could not come into the Brazilian Embassy, he might—he might choose some other embassy—I don’t know—more like Venezuela, but—or he could have tried, as some people said, to go to their Sierra Maestra. I don’t know if that would have been good for anyone.

AMY GOODMAN: Juan, you had a chance to question Hillary Clinton on the—when she came in, running for president, when you were at the interview of the Daily News board.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Right. And then—and, obviously, her position at that point was that at a certain point the government decided that it really wasn’t a coup that had occurred in Honduras. But it was a—

CELSO AMORIM: But, you know—but, you know—well, there are good coups and bad coups.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Similar—similar to what happened—

CELSO AMORIM: So that one was considered a good coup.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, that was a good coup.

CELSO AMORIM: From their point of view.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, Democracy Now! is one of the few journalistic organizations that has gotten into Western Sahara. We just came back from there a few months ago. You had dealings with Western Sahara and felt the effects of the occupation of—Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara in your international diplomacy. Can you talk about that?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, you know, these are the kind of subjects you have personal interests—personal positions and feelings, but you also have state interests. So I had to keep some sort of neutrality, because also Brazil had very good relations with Morocco. Morocco is a—actually, Morocco has now been reinstated into the African Union. It never left the Arab League. So, it’s complex, you know. It’s—sometimes you have to understand realistically, I mean, international politics. And international politics, in particular, has to be a mixture of, I think, some utopian thinking—try to make the world better—but also be realistic, I mean, and see how you can do that. So, it’s not because I like more some people than other people, then I can’t clearly—it has to be—otherwise, you just create more problem.

I mean, something that was often said by—again, I say my good friend Hillary, because we had very good relations on many aspects. We discussed many aspects, including Haiti, although later on the Clinton Foundation was accused of something. But anyway, we had very good relations in relation to Haiti and many other issues, even Cuba. We talked about Cuba with her and her assistants. So, but it’s—there’s something that she used to say: "the right side of history." No one knows the right side of history. Only those who win, in the end, will say what was the right side of history. We have to try to have dialogue, peace. And that is our effort. Development, of course, because it’s linked to these.

But to say, "Well, we’ll"—she didn’t say that. But, I mean, it was uppermost in the minds of other people whom I’m friendly with, that you had to take out Saddam, because it was a dictatorship and because he had chemical weapons. In the end, he didn’t have chemical weapons anymore. He had planned in the past, but he had not. I know, because I chaired three panels on Iraq when I was in the U.N., know that very clearly for me. He didn’t have any chemical weapons. And, of course, he was a dictator, but when the ISIS came, it was much worse. So, you know, it’s not that simple. I mean, it would be very—it is very simplistic, maybe appeasing for oneself, to think the world is composed of the goodies and the baddies, you are on the side of the goodies against the baddies. But it’s not like that.

AMY GOODMAN: If you were the man charged with overseeing a diplomatic solution in Syria right now—frankly, not to mention Yemen and Iraq, but let’s say Syria right now—what would you do? What would you do if war were not an option?

CELSO AMORIM: Well, war is not an option. Intervention, foreign intervention—military intervention is not an option, in my opinion. But it’s a bit presumptuous for me to say anything, because I’m not there. I’m not hands-on, so it’s a bit difficult. But I think you should proceed with efforts that are made. You should have a conference with all those involved. All those involved means also having Iran on the table, because they have an influence. And, of course—even if you don’t like them. It’s not my—very often, they are more realistic than other people that are there, because they want to survive also, so they don’t want further complications. You have to have all these people on the table and have to find a solution. Which is the solution? I don’t know, because it’s very complex. You have many religions, many sects. It’s not like saying—in this case, for instance, it’s not Muslims versus Christians, or it’s—or even—not even, even Shiites against the Sunni, Sunnites. It’s much more complex. And it has other complications inside. But anyway, I think dialogue, with the participation of all those who have interests, like Saudi Arabia also. I mean, like it or not the role that they have played, they have to be there, because they have an influence. But Iran has also to be there, and, of course, the United States, Russia. Maybe in the past I would say some, let us say, more neutral voices that can happen—help, like Brazil. Nowadays, I don’t dare say that, because our diplomacy is almost nonexistent.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Celso Amorim, I want to thank you very much for being with us, former Brazilian foreign and defense minister. He has a book out now. It’s called Acting Globally: Memoirs of Brazil’s Assertive Foreign Policy.

CELSO AMORIM: Should have brought one here, but I [inaudible].

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Thanks so much for joining us.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Up Next

Chomsky: Today's GOP is a Candidate for Most Dangerous Organization in Human History—Part 2

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.

Make a donation
Up arrowTop