Wednesday, November 2, 2016

From the Journal Entry of September 18, 1999

Hosted a very nice dinner for some diplomatic colleagues on Thursday. Good food and talk, plus cigars for the men (as the season’s first real rain fell). Everyone enjoyed it. The Argentine ambassador sent me an email “thank you” and a copy of a talk he gave to the Brazilian military. My reply follows: ”Thank you for sending me your palestra.  I agree that the chief challenge for all countries and regions is to deal with where we are in the present stage of capitalism. The 'wavefront' of this challenge is indeed to ensure that liberal democracy and the free market do not fail, to ensure that they can provide health, well-being and productive labor for the majority of the World’s people. The only way forward must be to ride this wave -- to 'surf' it -- in the absolute best way we can. Your point about Mercosur's market being too small for Brazil and Argentina to fight over is exactly right. Instead, the countries of Mercosur ought to be working together for more space in the global community. No country can hope for a better future until we all can become 'significant provinces of human civilization."

Tomorrow I go to Rio for three days, then later in the week back to Washington. I am finishing up my first three months here and I have accomplished my main objectives. I have largely stayed out of trouble and the Brazilians don’t hate me (a colleague from the Foreign Ministry told me yesterday, over drinks and steak, that Itamaraty thinks of me as part of their professional family). I have gotten a decent hand around the Mission, ahead of past problems (especially differences over our counter-narcotics cooperation) and we have had several successful VIP visits. If there is no sign of a new ambassador by the time I get back to Brasilia next month, I may start stepping out a bit more.

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