Does Obama Health Care Obsession Mean Leadership Loss to Lula in Middle East?

Posted on March 18, 2010

Health Care Reform has grounded Obama from being the world leader he has need to be for the past few weeks. Evidence of this has been his failed indirect role in handling the deterioration of relations with Israel during the Biden visit. At this delicate stage in trying to re-launch peace negotiations, he, not Biden should have been on the scene. He created a custom-sized vacuum for Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, known affectionately in South America as “Lula,”  to step into and shine.

For the past few years, Brazil as well as many other South American countries have forged economic and political ties with Iran.  Lula has been able to successfully talk with factions in the region that the US deems “terrorist.” Earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to get Lula on board for tougher sanctions against Iran. [Guardian]  It is being reported that we are stockpiling weapons in the region toward an attack on Iran. If true, we will be seen as diplomatic failures unable to win any other way short of war. [HotAir]Clearly, the US is becoming the problem in the Middle East and not the solution.

This week, Lula began a Middle East tour with a stop first in Israel and then on to the west bank for talks with Palestinians and finally to Jordan. The reasons for his increased visibility in the region are twofold:

  • Lula seeks to extend his diplomatic role beyond the end of his term as Brazil’s President.  Lula leaves office with an approval rating of above 70% [Newsweek].  [see Javno article on his hand picked candidate to succeed him.]
  • He is campaigning for Brazil to have a seat on the UN’s Security Council as a means to leverage its emerging role on the world stage.

Here is an article from Al Jazeera on Lula’s visit that began 3/16/2010 with a video following:


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