Sunday, April 04, 2004

Brazil--The Next Member of the "Axis of Evil"?

The Washington Post breaks this story discussing Brazil's refusal to allow IAEA inspectors into uranium enrichment facilities in that country. As the WP reporter observes, Brazil's conduct "poses a conundrum for President Bush, who has called for tighter restrictions on the enrichment of uranium, even for nuclear power, as part of a new strategy to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons." The story also hints that Brazil might have some connection with A.Q. Khan's black market.

I wonder how the Bush administration will respond. If Bush and the UN treat Brazil differently than Iran and North Korea, those "rogue nations" will have good reason to argue that a double-standard exists. If Bush responds with threats, Brazil may very well brush them off, knowing that the United States is already spread too thin to do anything (and who among Americans would support a war against Brazil anyway?) and everyone knows that the U.N. has no teeth of its own.

Of course, one must not forget where Brazil stands on the war in Iraq--it is not among the coalition partners (see relatively current list here), and that factor alone puts them in the "against us" camp. There are several interesting dynamics at work and I for one am interested to see what unfolds.

Update: Apparently covert operations against Brazil have already begun--see this CNN report for more details.

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