The world is undergoing major transformations in geopolitics, climate and technology and, in this context, Brazil has some clear roles to play in the region and on the environmental agenda. On a geopolitical level, Brazil can also play a role in supporting cooperation between the United States and China – powers that are competing with each other and could potentially end up in a confrontation. This context was described on Monday, September 25, by Tony Blair, British prime minister from 1997 to 2007, in response to questions from CNseg president Dyogo Oliveira and master of ceremonies Carla Vilhena, during the first international speaker panel at FIDES Rio 2023.
Now advising on strategy for countries and leaders via the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, he considers that the United States and China will be the world’s two giants, “perhaps with India in third place,” while other countries will tend to organize themselves into blocs, as their individual power is limited. There is already great competition in technology, politics and economics between China and the Americans, and Blair sees “a possible confrontation, for example, over Taiwan,” which China considers part of its territory.
However, Blair pointed out that relations between the United States and China should not be seen as a new Cold War, of the kind experienced in Soviet times. This is because trade between the United States and the Soviet Union was small, while China currently has large reserves in U.S. dollars and trade between the two countries is gigantic. “There is room for cooperation and that is where Brazil, which is respected by both powers, can play a [major] role,” he said. He noted that it is not possible to deal with issues such as climate change without China.
At the event in Rio, he also said that “Brazil is the most important country” in the region, it “is potentially a leader of the global South” and it is “deeply involved” in debate on deforestation. In addition, the COP-30 Climate Conference in 2025 will be held in Belém, Pará. “This will be a great moment for Brazil to show leadership,” he said.
He believes that COP-30 is an opportunity to come up with an action plan to invest in digital technology and clean energy projects. According to him, pension funds and investment funds have a lot of money available, but there aren’t enough solid projects with acceptable rates of return in clean energy. Blair also noted that, in another dimension, in order to maintain international respect, a country needs to do well internally.
Regarding the war in Ukraine, Blair explained that there are countries in Eastern Europe, such as Poland, that fear they will be next “if the current aggression is successful.” Accordingly, he said, “Europe wants an end to the war, but in a way that doesn’t reward aggression” and doesn’t reward Russian leaders either. “It has to end in a way that Europe feels safe,” he said. He admitted, however, that Europe and even Britain are partly dependent on Russian energy. The president of CNseg, Dyogo Oliveira, noted that the war in Ukraine has also had an impact on Brazil, which imports fertilizers from that region.