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Will Dilma Come To Washington?

Almost the only subject that anyone wants to talk about right now is President Obama’s proposal to act militarily against Syria, and this preference extends to MSM coverage of the just concluded G-20 summit.

However, if you dig deeply enough you can learn that while he was there O engaged in an apparently intense one-on-one discussion with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. And the subject of this tête-a-tête was not Syria, but the fact that the NSA had been caught intercepting Rousseff’s communications, and even congratulating itself on the achievement (as discussed here, along with a similar action against Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto).

Rousseff has been widely reported as being angry at this invasion into Brazil’s affairs, and the point was illustrated at the summit prior to the one-on-one meeting. O Globo reports, for example, that at one session (I translate)

Dilma and Obama were seated side by side. Although close, the two did not deign to converse. [Indeed,] while already seated at the table before her neighbor, the Brazilian president got to her feet twice while the American greeted colleagues to the side, making it seem that she did not want to give him the opportunity to approach her.

As to the one-on-one meeting itself, it is not clear what was actually said. O Globo itself reports that, according to White House advisor Ben Rhodes, O simply “explained the nature” of US intelligence to Rousseff. But according to Reuters, Rousseff herself told reporters after the encounter that O “took responsibility for what happened” and “agreed to respond formally to the spying allegations by next Wednesday.”

Of course what is at issue here is that a state visit by Rousseff to Washington is scheduled for October 23. Brazil has already canceled a planning meeting for this visit in the wake of the scandal, in addition to beginning discussion of a number of other measures (such as possibly canceling the purchase of some fighter planes from the US). Reuters also reports a tweet from Rousseff:

My trip to Washington depends on the political conditions to be created by President Obama

By the way, what does O himself think is the important issue? I don’t know for sure, but according to news reports he spent about 20 minutes discussing Syria privately with the summit’s host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, whereas he spent 30 with Rousseff discussing the NSA surveillance, and as a result made himself late for the dinner sponsored by the host.

Stay tuned.

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E. F. Beall

E. F. Beall