Rousseff performed with aplomb all week in New York, earning her the approval of US heavyweights like Hillary Clinton and local notables including the former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002). For a novice, she seemed quite at home playing the global stateswoman role. For the US, however, security council reform is simply not up for discussion at this point in time. If and when that day does come, other contenders for a permanent seat, most notably India, are better placed, strategically, to win the coveted space (in spite of Brazil’s efforts to join forces with its potential rivals to push as one for UNSC reform).
And though Rousseff has, officially, stepped out from behind her predecessor Lula da Silva (2003-2010), she has not completely shed his contentious foreign policy and that still casts a pall over US-Brazil relations. As one Brazilian analyst recently noted, “Brazil’s UNSC role tells us that the emerging power coalitions remain a top priority in Brazil’s global diplomatic strategy. By abstaining on the Libyan resolution, Brazil joined fellow BRICS in the Council (except South Africa)…On Syria, Brazil is working with India and South Africa, which are not only fellow BRICS but also part of the India-Brazil-South Africa Initiative (IBSA). Less ideology and more pragmatism do not necessarily translate in a more cozy relationship with the West or with US foreign policy goals”. That, however, is not necessarily a negative thing either.

Latin American Weekly Report, 22 September 2011, WR-11-38