Book Reviews

29 julho, 2006

82) Cinco melhores livros de ciencia...

Da coluna semana do The Wall Street Journal sobre os cinco melhores livros.
29 Julho 2006

Quest for Knowledge
You don't have to work in a lab to love these science books.
Saturday, July 29, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

1. "De Re Metallica" by Georgius Agricola (1556).

In 1898, embedded reporter Winston Churchill, confronting Islamic terror in the Sudan, wrote: "Were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science--the science against which it had vainly struggled--the civilization of modern Europe might fall as did that of Rome." Thank God for Churchill's stout grasp of the importance of military technology. But it is to Herbert Hoover, the mining engineer and future president, that we owe the 1912 translation of "De Re Metallica." This Elizabethan classic is technology's first do-it-yourself manual, teaching (among much else) how to make iron from scratch, how to coin silver, and how to connect a waterwheel in a valley to a mine pump halfway up a mountain. The book reveals, along the way, that art and science are intertwined, in everything from Benvenuto Cellini's golden masterpieces to the cannons of the Thirty Years War. The Industrial Revolution starts here.

2. "Promethean Ambitions" by William R. Newman (University of Chicago, 2005).

As William R. Newman reminds us in "Promethean Ambitions," his fascinating history of alchemy, the failure to distinguish good science from bad has been a recipe for policy disaster for centuries. Newman shows that alchemists were more than dreamers trying to convert lead into gold. From 1200 to 1700, they followed trends in metaphysical fashion by trying to create tiny humans, called homunculi. One hears echoes of today's cloning debates in the 16th-century wrangling over the moral status of these imaginary creatures.

3. "Bedrock" edited by Lauret E. Savoy, Eldridge M. Moores and Judith E. Moores (Trinity University, 2006).

How can you comprehend the immensity of the Earth's past? Pick up this inch-thick book. In sections covering everything from "Faults, Earthquakes and Tsunamis" to "The Work of Ice," its six-dozen narratives of action and endurance, stasis and change, convey the wonders of deep time. Some of the geology writing is great, all of it absorbing, taken from the works of a marvelous array of writers. It fast-forwards two millennia from Pliny the Younger's description of his uncle's death in the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79 to Ursula K. Le Guin's front-porch view of Mount St. Helens blowing sky high in 1980. No less riveting is Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's account of landing his plane on a sandy Saharan plateau so remote that his are the first footprints there and the only rocks are fallen stars.

4. "Longitude" by Dava Sobel (Walker, 1995).

It's hard to know where you are in a universe where all is change. Once Newton's laws connected the heavens to the Earth, and mariners mastered the art of finding latitude, getting to the New World and back was transformed from an astrolabe-directed dice game into a comparatively routine enterprise. But ocean travel was still by no means simple or safe; determining one's east-west position remained a mystery. Dava Sobel recounts the human drama of a provincial British tinkerer named John Harrison racing for an 18th-century government prize. His invention of the chronometer touched off a second industrial revolution, in precision instruments, that propelled the world from the use of sextants to electronics and the satellite-driven navigation we know today.

5. "Cosmos" by Alexander von Humboldt (1845).

Exploration used to be a very sporty business. Consider Alexander von Humboldt, the polymath born in Berlin in 1769, who became the first scientific superstar and arguably the godfather of ecology. His daunting grand tour of the tropics in the early 1800s inspired Darwin's voyage on the Beagle a few decades later. Von Humboldt's tour de force included a 20,000-foot climb in the Andes--mountaineering's first encounter with the thin air of the so-called Death Zone. He had already discovered that the Amazon and Orinoco rivers were connected, something that had eluded the Spanish despite their 300 years in the region. Heading north, von Humboldt dropped by Monticello in time to help Jefferson plot Lewis and Clark's trip to the West in 1804. At once the first scientist and the last Romantic, von Humboldt late in life wrote "Cosmos," a magisterial, five-volume overview of the universe. It briefly outsold the Bible.

Mr. Seitz is a physicist in Cambridge, Mass.

28 julho, 2006

81) Os muito ricos e os super-ricos: mas na America...

Published by EH.NET (July 2006)

Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen, _Financial Founding Fathers: The Men Who Made America Rich_. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. v + 240 pp. $25 (cloth), ISBN: 0-226-91068-7.

Reviewed for EH.NET by Gerald Gunderson, Shelby Cullom Davis Endowment, Trinity College.

This book is comprised of short biographies of those believed to be
most influential in the development of the financial system during
the early national period in the United States. There are the usual
suspects, Alexander Hamilton and Robert Morris, but also some that
seldom are mentioned, such as William Duer and Thomas Willing.

The accounts move along fluidly and the authors are not shy about
assigning credit or blame. Hamilton receives the customary praise but
Andrew Jackson does not get the criticism one might have expected for
someone who killed the national bank. Rather, the argument seems to
be that by time of his presidency the financial system had developed
to the degree that its alternatives were not that much worse. This
last chapter -- combined with discussions of Nicholas Biddle --
departs from the usual pattern of the book. The other financial
entrepreneurs -- outside of the scoundrels such as Duer -- are
generally thought to have played important roles in developing the
economy. This point can be argued, here and elsewhere in history. Do
entrepreneurs have a large, independent role in the growth of new
products and technologies or are they often implementing changes that
would soon appear in any case? To the authors' credit, and the
readers' benefit, these arguments in _Financial Founding Fathers_ are
thoughtfully developed and clearly stated.

The book is enjoyable to read. Each entrepreneur is portrayed playing
a role -- "Creator," "Judas," "Sinner," and "Savior" -- for example.
And the narrative seems natural, not stretched to cover a framework
that skews the examples. You will enjoy this book and it can be used
for a wide range of audiences from a supplementary reading for
undergraduates to a departure for discussions in seminars to a good
read on your flight home from a conference.

Gerald Gunderson is Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of American
Business and Economic Enterprise at Trinity College, Hartford,

Copyright (c) 2006 by EH.Net. All rights reserved. This work may be
copied for non-profit educational uses if proper credit is given to
the author and the list. For other permission, please contact the
EH.Net Administrator (; Telephone: 513-529-2229).
Published by EH.Net (July 2006). All EH.Net reviews are archived at

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80) Falacias economicas: recomendacoes de livros

Concerning economic fallacies:

1. Allow me to recommend E J Mishan "21 popular economic fallacies", Praeger, 1969. "The perfect book for anyone starting the study of economics"
as reviewed by the Economist.

And then Geoffrey Wood "Fifty Economic Fallacies exposed", most recent version from IEA in London, 2002.

Comparing the two volumes, gives an idea how (mainstream) economic thought is developing and how the writing of popular texts in economics is evolving.

Many of the issues raised in the exchange on "economic fallacies" are well covered in these volumes. Of course, we should not expect consensus on these matters.

Lars Jonung
(de History Net, Economic History)

26 julho, 2006

79) A politica externa dos EUA, por Stanley Hoffman

Do grande especialista Stanley Hoffman, no
The New York Review of Books, Volume 53, Number 13 · August 10, 2006

The Foreign Policy the US Needs
By Stanley Hoffmann

America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy
by Francis Fukuyama
Yale University Press, 226 pp., $25.00

Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy
by Stephen M. Walt
Norton, 320 pp., $17.95

Diplomacy Lessons: Realism for an Unloved Superpower
by John Brady Kiesling
Potomac, 320 pp., $28.95

During the cold war Americans believed that in order to eliminate risks of nuclear war, a policy of edgy coexistence with the Soviet Union was worth pursuing. Few believed that America should prepare for a military showdown with Moscow. In the debates between doves and hawks, everyone assumed there would be a very long contest with the Communist world.

The rapid collapse of the Soviet Union left the US as the only superpower, or so it seemed. George H.W. Bush talked about a new world order, in which the "real world" of American supremacy and the formal world of the UN Charter would somehow merge. But Bush Senior was soon gone, and Clinton had no large international vision. This may have been a blessing, and relations improved with allies, including France and Germany, which had occasionally been miffed by shrill official statements about the US as the "indispensable nation" endowed with greater foresight than others.

People such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who had long thought it time to proclaim US hegemony, were enraged by Clinton's failure to do so. When George W. Bush came to power, September 11 provided what seemed an unchallengeable opportunity for a drastic change in strategy and in diplomacy. The "war against terrorism" was now seen as a kind of World War II reborn, yet it was without a clear enemy and without allies comparable to Stalin's Soviet Union, or even Churchill's British Empire. A brief era of American triumphalism—or imperialism—led to but did not survive the disaster in Iraq and the fall in American popularity and influence abroad that the war provoked.

The US is back to debating what to do next but the setting of this debate is quite different from that of the past. In addition to the familiar world of interstate conflicts, some of the most horrible wars of recent years have been internal; and some of the most spectac-ular acts of violence have been committed by private groups of terrorists not allied to any state. More than a few of the members of the UN—Zimbabwe, Somalia, Uzbekistan—are "failed" or murderous states, whose inhabitants live in a nightmare of chaos and violence. The "realists," i.e., those who believe national interests are fundamental—must now take into account the UN, which for all its flaws serves to certify legitimacy, as the current administration discovered when it defied the predominant opinion of the Security Council in attacking Iraq.

It is also a world in which globalization—partly under American leadership—erodes effective sovereignty of states (although least for the US) and creates a world economy that offers a very complex combination of permanent competition—especially for oil— and incentives to cooperate, not only for states but for private interests. There is now a transnational society that includes multinational corporations, nongovernmental organizations, criminals, and terrorists. This global economy, with its unprecedented combination of private and state capitalisms, can be immensely destructive, as when it eliminated millions of jobs in developed countries. It deepens inequality—at home and abroad. It lacks an adequate network of regulatory agencies and what international governance exists is stronger for economic relations through such organizations as the IMF and WTO than for political ones. So far, violence between states competing in the global economy has been limited, but in the contest for energy sources military force is already being used, for example in Nigeria, and could well increase. This, then, is the kind of world in which the "sole superpower" (as well as the largest source of global warming) must act: a world that is anything but flat.

America is now being widely criticized as a new empire. Already toward the end of World War II De Gaulle wrote about FDR's will to power, a will that soon took the form of an American-controlled network of unequal alliances, military bases abroad, and economic dominance. The harshest criticisms of US imperial aims were made against Bush after 2001: the US and much of the rest of the world fell out over America's new unilateralism and its refusal to accept the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto Protocol, and arms control generally. Most nations were appalled by America's flaunting of its dominance; its use of preventive war, particularly the invasion of Iraq, was widely seen as proof of a will to reshape and dominate the Arab world.[1] America's new mixture of patriotism and religiosity annoyed many secularists at home and abroad, and the American way of fighting terrorism by bombing and torturing Iraqis and mistreating Afghans shocked many previously well-disposed allies.

Another category of criticisms concerns the American belief that globalization should come only in the orthodox form of American free-market and pro-business policies. Many Europeans see this as a denial of the state's responsibility to provide social justice, public services, and safety nets for the poor, the unemployed, and workers. Other sources of dismay were America's reluctance to include in international agreements provisions for standards of health or workers' rights, or to accept codes of conduct for multinational corporations, as well as the connections between American corporations and American political agencies —not only in occupied Iraq.

The most flagrant and widely deplored contradiction is between America's self-image as a force for democracy and human rights and a reality in which many rights at home are sharply limited, the death penalty continues along with the torture of "enemy combatants," while the US repudiates the international laws of war. Abroad, the US support of dictators and its failure to protect victims of genocide in Rwanda and Darfur[2] have contributed greatly to anti-Americanism. Foreigners can observe for themselves, on the one hand, the weakness of public services throughout the US, the cult of low taxes, and the distrust of any redistributive role for government and, on the other hand, the formidable apparatus of American military and intelligence services throughout the world and in the US itself. The strength of America's destructive power and the lack of American interest in nation-building and development abroad have become all too evident.

Anti-Americanism is also fostered by various American illusions: "all human beings want what we want— freedom," to paraphrase George W. Bush; hence democratization should be easy.[3] Democratization has become confused with elections, and the legal institutions and protection of rights needed for a workable democracy are neglected. America sometimes downplays or denies its own nationalism in its rhetoric, and yet America has asserted its sovereignty more forcefully than any other advanced nation in recent history (including Mrs. Thatcher's Britain). Most other countries are more affected and limited by US policies than the US is by anyone else's. Therefore most countries are very uneasy about a world in which the US is the single superpower.

Thus, while the mighty US faces a huge number of problems that affect other nations as well—including those of global warming and the depletion of natural resources—at the same time it distrusts or attacks global institutions such as the International Criminal Court that could be of some help. It shows little understanding of the pride, fears, and humiliations of others, and has damaged its "soft power"—the power of influencing others through persuasion and example—by its policies in Iraq, its recent abuses in Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, and its restrictions on foreigners eager to come to the US.

Several recent books have tried to go beyond such failures of the Bush foreign policy, particularly the war in Iraq and the violence committed in carrying it on.[4]

Francis Fukuyama's book might have been called "Goodbye to Neoconservatism," which has dominated the Bush administration. He describes neoconservatism as a doctrine with four components: (1) "a belief that the internal character of regimes matters and that foreign policy must reflect the deepest values of liberal democratic societies," (2) a belief that American power "has been and could be used for moral purposes," (3) "a distrust of ambitious social engineering projects," and (4) "a skepticism about the legitimacy and effectiveness of international law and institutions to achieve either security or justice." He discusses how these aims have been contradicted by American support for dictatorship in the Transcaucasus, and its failure to provide adequate aid for people in Darfur or for the eradication of AIDS in Africa. He now calls for "multi-multilateralism," involving "new institutional forms," public and private, national and international, mainly aimed at meeting the economic needs of the global economy. He thinks such multilateral relations will be more efficient than treaty-based formal institutions such as the UN and its specialized agencies.

Since he believes this multilateralism is necessary, he criticizes America's attachment to absolute sovereignty. He also denounces the negative effects of American economic and political domination, which "rests on a belief in American exceptionalism that most non-Americans simply find not credible." Nor is it tenable, since "it presupposes an extremely high level of competence" which we don't have, and a domestic political system with greater attention to, and willingness to finance, foreign policy goals than the American one. Moreover, "although political reform in the Arab world is desirable, the US has virtually no credibility or moral authority in the region."

Fukuyama believes that US power is most effective when it is latent and not seen (he mentions for example recent relations with India and other parts of East Asia), and most important when it is used to shape international institutions. He is obviously very far from his former neocon allies. Success in promoting democracy abroad depends on the past historical experience of a country, on the willingness of its government to organize free elections and thus "permit some degree of freedom for the groups that are part of civil society to organize" (as in Serbia or Ukraine), and on the political will within a society to overcome "bad governance, weak institutions, political corruption." His model for an "engine of institutional reform" is the European Union's process of admitting new members, which requires them to satisfy democratic requirements before being allowed to join the EU.

Why did Fukuyama, in view of his emphasis on multilateral institutions, ever sympathize with neoconservatism in the first place? The "realistic Wilsonianism" he now embraces, along with his condemnation of excessive use of American force and threats abroad, is obviously very far from the neoconservatives' credo. Also, how could he fail, as he does, to emphasize a crucial element in neoconservative doctrines— imperial ambition and pride? It has served to connect the neoconservatives and the apostles of brute force— like Cheney and Rumsfeld—who don't take seriously the democratic proselytizing of the neoconservatives. The imperial nationalism of both groups reminds one of that of the French Revolution, which wanted both to export the "principles of 1789" and to expand French rule of other countries. In neoconservative thought, the idea of expanding hegemony was as important as that of encouraging democracy. The neoconservatives failed to understand the difficulties of both.

Stephen M. Walt's book is no less critical of the Bush administration's record than Fukuyama's. Walt and his former colleague John Mearsheimer were prescient opponents of the invasion of Iraq. His book is, however, primarily an incisive analysis of how the world's other countries have responded to American supremacy and tried to limit it. His chapter on "the roots of resentment" is particularly impressive. It is not only American power and official policies that are resented but also—in varying parts of the world— American political values, cultural products, and the activities of "US corporations, foundations, media organizations, and various nongovernmental organizations." He writes that "the combination of a universalist political philosophy and a strong evangelical streak" is "bound to be alarming to other countries, including some of our fellow democracies." Walt deplores Americans' failure to understand foreign hostility. American leaders and much of the public, he charges, suffer from "historical amnesia," fostered by "US textbooks and public rhetoric" which portray America's international role as "uniformly noble, principled and benevolent."

Walt finds that while there have been few formal alliances to contain the US, other countries resort to "soft balancing," defined as "the conscious coordination of diplomatic action in order to obtain outcomes contrary to US preferences." The refusal of the main European countries to back the war in Iraq is the most obvious example. At the moment, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba have formed an alliance against American power in the Caribbean and Latin America, and in one degree or another, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico are resisting American economic and diplomatic pressures. Some states, he writes, are also mobilizing their domestic resources in ways that limit the US capacity to pressure them. Such a strategy can emphasize conventional military power, as can be seen in the growing strength of Chinese military forces. It can also take the form of terrorism and building weapons of mass destruction, both apparently aims of the current regime in Iran. The US should try to discourage other nations from taking such measures, Walt argues, by seeking "to convince most states that they have little to fear from US power unless they take actions that directly threaten vital US interests." He believes a principal task of US policy is to persuade other nations that its "privileged position is legitimate," which requires that the US respect established international law and procedures, something it has failed to do before and throughout the war in Iraq.

Some nations, he believes, have collaborated with the US for protection against threats, as for example Lebanon and Jordan, which wanted US help against the threat of Syria. Some foreign leaders "bond" with Bush—Blair being a cautionary example. He also mentions the efforts of foreign powers to influence Congress and the administration, the most flagrant case being the Israel lobby, the subject of his taboo-breaking essay with John Mearsheimer in the London Review of Books and of Michael Massing's recent article in these pages.[5]

Writing as a traditional realist, Walt argues that America's national interest demands that it try to achieve a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians. If that fails because of Israel's unwillingness to grant the Palestinians a workable state, the US should continue to support Israel's existence but no longer act as if Israel's interests and US interests were identical. Instead, the US should end its excessive military and economic support of Israel.

Moreover, he argues, large US forces are no longer needed in Europe and only air and naval bases are needed in Asia. The US should avoid preventive war, intervene in the Middle East only with the participation of others, and withdraw from military engagements, if they become necessary, after a "threat has been thwarted." The US should also deemphasize its nuclear weapons programs so as to decrease "other states' incentives to get nuclear weapons of their own." Bush, by putting North Korea and Iran in the "axis of evil," only ensured that they would act more aggressively.

Similar conclusions are reached by John Brady Kiesling, for nineteen years a career foreign service officer with wide experience in the Near East and in Greece; he resigned publicly— with a strong letter explaining his decision to Colin Powell—when he became convinced that the Bush administration was determined to invade Iraq.[6] His book provides the invaluable perspective of someone who has seen American foreign policy from the inside. What we learn from his lively, often witty, and incisive report is invaluable. The Bush administration hoped that some Greek leaders and much of the public would support its invasion of Iraq in view of past US aid to Greece and collaboration with its military. In fact, he writes, the Iraq war was unpopular throughout Greece and US standing there suffered because of it. American success depends "on respecting domestic politics in other states as well as our own. Those politics ultimately compel America to embrace the rule of the basic principle of effective diplomacy."

Notwithstanding the advice of Kiesling and others, the administration simply didn't understand that a Greek politician who supported the war would be in trouble. He also argues that "when the US promotes local and regional security and prosperity, even to the short-run benefit of tyrannical regimes, it creates the soil in which democracy can grow." This happened in Taiwan, where US protection helped to allow democratic forces eventually to take power.

Kiesling gives his own account of conflict between two types of foreign service officers: US diplomats "whose playing field is the foreign country in which they are posted," and those he calls bureaucrats, such as the Bush administration's champions of

self-aggrandizement and political fantasy at home, whose job is reinforcing the prevailing inclination of the chief policymakers. Lurking in some obscure or less obscure university is all the intellectual underpinning required for any fatuous scheme.

He mentions the neoconservatives who, in the months before the Iraq war, introduced Professor Bernard Lewis to Dick Cheney.

Successful counterterrorism, Kiesling writes, requires respect for the lives of innocents. Iraqis, for instance, see dozens of their innocent fellow citizens again and again being sacrificed in American bombing attacks that often are not successful against terrorists in any case. Yet their dismay and anger are not understood. Kiesling's condemnation of torture is eloquent: "The US war on terrorism is at heart a war to strengthen the rule of law in societies whose citizens are themselves often helpless victims of illegitimate violence." The use of torture by the US only makes a mockery of attempts to sustain the rule of law. As a working diplomat, he was appalled by bureaucrats who "took the word of their president that preemption of terrorism required unilateral violence and the death of innocent civilians."

Kiesling argues that US insistence on expanding its own nuclear arsenal destroys any effective nonproliferation strategy. He finds secret intelligence operations often damage US interests—for instance, when the CIA backed corrupt warlords in Afghanistan. "Secrecy's role in the US government is to keep senior officials from learning from their mistakes." The "war on terrorism" for Kiesling has been a "failed reprise" of the moral clarity of the cold war. It has turned the most powerful nation into the most frightened one. He hopes for a political leadership "brave enough" to bring into the open the "hidden environmental, social, and other costs" of the American way of life. He writes in the tradition of George Kennan when he argues that while Americans may argue that their security depends on the spread of morality and justice abroad, they should first practice both at home.

What would be the outline of a decent and effective American foreign policy?

The first prerequisite, in my view, is to improve America's own economic and moral condition, a change that would be well received abroad. This would mean a return to the rule of law and to the protection of civil liberties, and an end to efforts to escape from the obligations of international law in the fight against terrorism. The US should accept, despite its flaws, the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and try to improve it; and it should sign the International Criminal Court treaty. Accepting both would undo some of the damage of recent years.

The US also needs a fiscal policy that would take seriously the reduction of America's deficit and debt, and therefore of American dependence on foreign countries that are willing to subsidize the US by buying its debt in exchange for what we provide in return—security for Japan, access to US markets in the case of China. Otherwise the US will remain, in Charles Maier's words, an empire of consumption.[7] Greater investment at home in technological and educational progress is indispensable. A serious effort, including a tax on carbon emissions, to reduce the consumption of oil in favor of new sources of energy is essential for several reasons: to preserve the global environment from global warming and other dangers, to escape from dependence on corrupt and tyrannical regimes in the Middle East and elsewhere, and to protect against the temptation to seize control of oil production in, say, Iraq as an insurance against possible trouble in Saudi Arabia.

A second prerequisite is a willingness to break dramatically with the foreign policies of both Republicans and Democrats. Throughout the postwar era, and especially after the fall of communism, these policies have oscillated from multilateralism to imperialism, but they have assumed, as Walt does, that the world could only benefit from American primacy, seen as both a fact of power and a condition of world security and prosperity. Even Democratic critics of neoconservative hubris and critical commentators such as Walt have not put in doubt the need for the US to set the course for its partners and for the world. Nor have the merits of the US being the world's only superpower been seriously questioned, except on the isolationist fringe and among the libertarians of the Cato Institute. These deeply ingrained views, by now as ritualized as the late thoughts of Mao, need to be changed. They do not correspond with the realities of power.

The US has an undeniable, overwhelming superiority in raw military might and in the capacity to project it. But as soon as we turn to other kinds of power—"hard" economic power, which is the power to reward, or bribe, and to coerce; "soft power"; and what I would call "building power," the power to help others construct their institutions —we see that we live in an increasingly multipolar world. This has become all the clearer in view of the recovery of Japan, the spectacular rise of China and India, and the growth of the EU, notwithstanding the current sluggishness of the European economy.

Global economic competition is now a clash of varieties of capitalisms, each one expressing a specific, mainly national, conception. And in recent years the US has lost ground, whether in its influence in international economic organizations such as the WTO or in its generally inadequate efforts to help nations like East Timor and Sri Lanka and Haiti to build badly needed national institutions. This is the result of many factors: the war in Iraq, the war on terrorism, and the US ideological hostility to "nation-building," a view that is overtly expressed by the US military but is generally supported by the conservative American preference for the market.

In fact, if we switch from a consideration of the ingredients of power to whether it can actually be deployed, we find that much American military power is practically unusable because of international risks (as with nuclear weapons) and domestic opposition both to the draft and to protracted wars with high casualties. Finally, even when US military power can be used, it is often ineffective or worse, as is shown by US failures to anticipate political problems in Iraq and to protect the population there from insurgent and sectarian violence. Military power, in short, can serve as a deterrent, but America should avoid using it to destroy cities, people, and regimes. For the most part, only soft power, and the power of state-building and of promoting economic development, can have beneficial results.

Even if America's power were as enormous as US politicians assert, there is a huge difference between American hegemony now and past empires. Nineteenth-century Britain had much less military power than the US today, but it had much more ability to get things done within its empire than the US in today's world. Hence the need for shifting from a policy of primacy (however cautious and considerate, as in Walt's analysis) to a genuine policy of partnership based on reciprocity and compromise. No doubt a world of 191 UN members and thousands of nongovernmental organizations requires leadership but this can be exerted by more than one nation (as has usually been the case in the EU); and that one nation should not always be the US. The leader, or group of leaders, needs to work by means of persuasion and diplomacy, not command. The world political system too needs a degree of democratization.[8]

A true partnership is particularly necessary concerning several major issues. The first, and most urgent, is the Middle East. Two conflicts there have bred terrorism, jihadism, and hatred of the West, particularly of America. First, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has been scandalously neglected since the fiasco of Camp David in 2000, despite the "road map" which has remained largely fictional. By now it should be clear that the occupation has long been the root of the trouble. It does not justify Arab terrorism aimed at civilians, but it goes a long way toward explaining it. Cutting off aid to the Palestinians because they voted for Hamas was exactly the wrong thing to do: it was punishment for exercising democratic choice. A unilateral "solution" imposed by Israel is no solution at all, only a recipe for continuing war.

The US and its partners—the so-called Quartet—need to work hard for a two-state solution close to the one almost reached at Taba in early 2001. Then and now, a settlement would require that the Palestinians give up, in practice, the right of return to Israel, but it would provide them with a workable state that is not truncated or walled-in and has financial support. In arriving at such a settlement, Hamas— obviously divided between extremity and moderation—could be legitimately pressured to recognize Israel explicitly and to condemn terrorism unequivocally. In the immediate future, what is needed is a cease-fire based on a Palestinian declaration renouncing rocket attacks on Israel, and an Israeli declaration renouncing incursions and air strikes in Gaza. Moreover, the Palestinians would release the Israeli corporal held by their gunmen, Hezbollah would release the soldiers captured during its cross-border attack, and the Israelis would release the Palestinian officials they have seized.[9] To achieve these outcomes, as war spreads in Lebanon, would require far more active American participation than has been the case so far. The destruction of Hamas by disproportionate Israeli reprisals would have the same effects as destruction of the Palestinian Authority by Sharon earlier: it would escalate violence, further radicalize the Palestinians and much of the Arab world, and encourage further attacks on American passivity or "complicitly."

In dealing with Iraq, what I proposed in these pages two years ago seems all the more necessary[10] —a deliberately and carefully planned American withdrawal that would force the feuding politicians and the conflicting ethnic and religious factions to confront the reality of civil war and continued killing, and to try to find a political solution to the insurgency and to sectarian conflict. As long as American forces stay there, they both exacerbate the discord and terror and provide Iraqis with an alibi for ceaseless haggling. If the Iraqis want peace and unity as much as the American champions of "staying the course" assert, it is up to them to act accordingly. The argument about how much good we could still do by staying is, to put it mildly, undermined by how little we have done to provide protection and essential services to a population that the US invasion exposed to bitter violence and hardships. We need to pull out completely, leaving behind no imperial residues. Whatever protection (of Sunnis, for example) will be needed should be entrusted to UN peacekeeping forces to whose creation and support we should be prepared to contribute both money and weapons. We should also get out of Afghanistan soon: our presence has not deterred a Taliban revival or the emergence of an opium economy dominated by the Taliban and warlords; non-American NATO forces should be supplemented by non-European forces under UN command.

Secondly, what is needed for the US is—as Walt suggests—a drastic long-term policy of demilitarization carried out in collaboration with foreign partners. It should begin at home. The US military and domestic security budget exceeds $550 billion and amounts to almost 20 percent of US expenditures. It seems more like a program of public works than one of national security, and the American economy has other badly neglected domestic needs. Our military budget is more likely to be a provocation than a deterrent to America's current rivalry with China. A reduction of 50 percent in military expenditures would allow the US to take better care of its poor, to establish a decent health care system, to improve education, and to invest in conversion to more efficient fuels. It would also liberate funds for urgently needed nation- building, health care, and development in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. This drastic change ought to be part of a plan that would aim, globally and regionally, at reductions in the nuclear arsenals of the established powers and at a new policy against nuclear proliferation.

This policy would include security guarantees to powers such as North Korea and Iran that have plausible fears of attack provoked by the hostility of their neighbors and the US. The guarantees would entail nonaggression pacts, the reduction or departure of American forces near these countries' borders, and the kinds of arms control agreements that were worked out in the later phases of the cold war between the US and the Soviet Union. Such agreements would reassert the right of all signers of the nonproliferation treaty to nuclear energy for civilian uses—a right many more states may want to use so they would not have to depend on foreign oil supplies. It would offer them a range of choices including the transfer of uranium enrichment activities to foreign suppliers that already have them. If a country insists on enriching nuclear fuel itself, it should come under strong international pressures to accept a very strict and intrusive inspection regime.

General rules are needed to prevent ad hoc deals, such as the new US–Indian agreement accepting India's nuclear weapons programs. Nevertheless, a serious recent study of nuclear proliferation concludes that US policy should be "more flexible, not less," and take into account the preferences of states for different "levels of commitment" and different kinds of non-proliferation schemes.[11] A policy of demilitarization would aim not only at putting an end to preventive war— which the 2006 US National Security Strategy statement still supports[12] — but at ultimately eliminating most weapons of mass destruction, and in the meantime at narrowing the gap between those who possess them and those who do not.

Thirdly, as for the UN, any useful changes in its structure are being blocked by the unholy combination of John Bolton and a number of developing countries, such as Brazil, India, Egypt, and South Africa, that are suspicious of the UN Secretariat's potential power. They are now opposing the reform plan endorsed by Kofi Annan. But in view of the poverty and instability of many states, the UN is in great need of more funds, more military forces, and more efficient and authoritative governance. It will be essential to reinforce existing international and regional organizations and to establish new ones in economic matters now unregulated (such as capital movements), as well as measures to ensure their accountability to the people they serve.

Another component of a new policy would be an effort, in association with other states, to consolidate the progress made in such states as East Timor, Georgia, and Uganda, and to rescue failed states such as Zimbabwe, the Central African Republic, Haiti, and Chad, which have been disastrous for their citizens and for other states, not only because, in most cases, of extremely bad leaders but because, as Lawrence Freedman has put it, of "sudden population movements, environmental disasters, [and] local conflicts being exported through expatriate communities."[13]

A new policy should also provide for a concentrated effort to protect human rights: while democracy cannot and should not be imposed from the outside, widespread violations of human rights, as in Darfur today, should be, along with defense against aggression, the only legitimate cause for collective armed intervention, preferably through forces put at the disposal of the Security Council. Removing genocidal regimes should be legitimate if authorized by the UN or, if the UN is paralyzed, by an association of genuine democracies.[14]

Most challenging of all is the need to form a new "partnership" of advanced countries for the economic development of the underdeveloped ones. For many reasons—political, economic, and philosophical disagreements—this will be difficult to organize; the attempt to eliminate absolute poverty and to prevent the poor from succumbing to epidemics would be a worthy first step. At the same time national and international action to prevent the destruction and mass migration expected from global warming should become an urgent priority. An issue that threatens all countries, it requires energetic, diverse, and imaginative measures for the curtailment of CO2 emissions. A revised and strengthened version of the Kyoto Protocol would be a beginning.[15] Most other problems shrink compared to this one.

These proposals may appear utopian. And yet striving to realize them would make for a safer world; they would not abandon or damage any of America's main interests; they would allow regional disputes to be dealt with primarily by the members of the regions, and with the assistance of international and regional agencies. The US would not be the only "indispensable nation," or the nation that knows best what the real interests of others are. There is always a danger when dependent nations gain autonomy, but autonomy is the condition of responsibility. A world in which several large or middle-sized powers would have a larger say than they do now does not mean a return to the balance of power mechanisms of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in which war decided disputes. Competition has to continue, but—as Kant speculated—it should be constrained by the ever-increasing costs of war, and by the benefits (as well as the dangers) of interdependence. As Kiesling puts it, "Morality and self interest are inseparable, provided we persuade our politicians to take a long enough view of these interests. In the long run, security cannot be purchased at the expense of justice."

—July 13, 2006

[1] I have discussed many of these issues in Gulliver Unbound: The Imperial Temptation and the War in Iraq (Rowman and Littlefield, 2004), America Goes Backward (New York Review Books, 2004), and Chaos and Violence: What Globalization, Failed States, and Terrorism Mean for US Foreign Policy (Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming 2006).

[2] Samantha Power, in 'A Problem from Hell': America and the Age of Genocide (Basic Books, 2002) and in her subsequent writings about Darfur, has been an eloquent voice against America's failure to protect the victims of genocide. So has Nicholas Kristof on Darfur.

[3] My analysis of the "American style" in Gulliver's Troubles: Or, the Setting of American Foreign Policy (McGraw-Hill, 1968) remains, alas, valid almost forty years later.

[4] The most recent is Crimes of War: Iraq, edited by Richard Falk, Irene Gendzier, and Robert Jay Lifton (Nation Books, 2006).

[5] "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy," London Review of Books, March 23, 2006; Michael Massing "The Storm Over the Israel Lobby," The New York Review, June 8, 2006.

[6] Brady Kiesling, "Iraq: A Letter of Resignation," The New York Review, April 10, 2003.

[7] Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors (Harvard University Press, 2006), Chapter 6—a thoughtful and erudite exploration. See also the review by Robert Skidelsky, The New York Review, July 13, 2006.

[8] See Dominique de Villepin's remarks in Le Requin et la mouette (Paris: Plon, 2004).

[9] See Gareth Evans and Robert Malley, "A Proposal to Curb the Escalating Tensions in Gaza," Financial Times, July 6, 2006.

[10] See "Out of Iraq," The New York Review, October 21, 2004.

[11] Jacques E.C. Hymans, The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation (Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 220– 221. His arguments against the adoption by the foes of nuclear proliferation of a principle of a "duty to prevent" it by force if necessary are convincing.

[12] See The National Security Strategy of the United States (March 2006), Vol. 4. Henry Kissinger has commented that "if each nation claims the right to define its pre-emptive rights, the absence of any rules would spell international chaos" (International Herald Tribune, April 13, 2006).

[13] The Transformation of Strategic Affairs, Adelphi Paper 379 (Routledge/ International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2006), p. 32.

[14] I have suggested such an association in Gulliver Unbound, and Fukuyama makes a similar proposal in America at the Crossroads. "Regime change" requires, however, remembering Auguste Comte's precept: "one can only destroy what one can replace"; it is the replacement of a genocidal regime that is the most difficult task.

[15] In addition to Al Gore's movie and book, An Inconvenient Truth(Rodale, 2006), see Tim Flannery, The Weather Makers (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006), and Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes from a Catastrophe (Bloomsbury, 2006) all reviewed by James Hansen in The New York Review, July 13, 2006.

25 julho, 2006

78) O mundo pode ser plano, mas tem muitas arestas, vastos precipicios e alguns picos...

A fragilidade do mundo plano - por Joseph S. Nye*

O mundo é plano! Afirma Thomas Friedman, colunista do The New York Times, que escolheu o título provocante do seu último livro para despertar nas pessoas os efeitos dramáticos que a tecnologia está acarretando à economia mundial. A distância está diminuindo. As barreiras geográficas não mais oferecem uma proteção segura. Os funcionários de fabricação e os profissionais de alta tecnologia, igualmente na Europa e nos Estados Unidos, são desafiados pela competição global. Os consumidores ocidentais que acionam uma empresa local provavelmente falarão com alguém na Índia.

Os céticos atentaram para os limites da metáfora de Friedman. Concordaram que o mundo não é plano, mas "espinhudo". Um mapa da atividade econômica no mundo mostraria montanhas de prosperidade e muitos desfiladeiros da privação. Além disso, a distância está longe de acabar. Mesmo vizinhos com barreiras tarifárias baixas, como Canadá e Estados Unidos, comercializam mais internamente do que por meio das fronteiras. Seattle e Vancouver são fechados geograficamente, mas Vancouver vende e compra mais de Toronto (mais distante) do que de Seattle, que está ao lado.

Apesar da crítica, Friedman mostra um ponto importante. A globalização, que pode ser definida como interdependência em distâncias intercontinentais, é tão velha quanto a história humana. Testemunhe a migração de povos e religiões, ou o comércio ao longo da antiga rota da seda, que uniu a Europa Medieval e a Ásia. Mas, a globalização hoje é diferente, porque está ficando mais rápida e difícil.

Depois do primeiro cabo transatlântico, em 1868, Europa e Estados Unidos puderam se comunicar em segundos. Em 1919, o economista John Maynard Keynes descreveu a possibilidade de um inglês, em Londres, usar um telefone para ordenar que mercadorias ao redor do mundo fossem entregues na sua casa à tarde. Mas o Inglês de Keynes era rico e, assim, uma exceção. Hoje, centenas de milhões de pessoas ao redor do mundo têm acesso à mercadorias globais nos seus supermercados locais.

Da mesma maneira, tão recentemente como há duas décadas, a comunicação global instantânea já existia, mas economicamente estava fora do alcance da maior parte das pessoas. Agora, praticamente todo mundo pode entrar em uma Lan House e apreciar a Internet, que era disponível somente aos governos, corporações multinacionais e alguns indivíduos ou organizações com grandes orçamentos. O declínio dos preços de computação, comunicação, e transporte democratizou a tecnologia.

Há uma década, dois terços de todos os usuários de Internet eram dos Estados Unidos. Hoje, menos de um quarto estão localizados lá. Conhecimento é poder, e hoje mais pessoas têm acesso à informação do que em qualquer momento na história humana. Atores não governamentais têm capacidades que uma vez eram limitadas a governos. O estado-nação não será substituído como instituição dominante da política mundial, mas terá de compartilhar a nova etapa com mais atores, inclusive organizações como Oxfam, celebridades como Bono, e redes terroristas transnacionais como Al Qaeda.

Mas o achatamento do globo é reversível. Já aconteceu antes. A economia mundial era altamente integrada em 1914, mas a interdependência econômica diminuiu durante as três próximas décadas. A economia global não recuperou o mesmo nível da integração até 1970, e até então permaneceu dividida pela Cortina de Ferro.

A Primeira Guerra Mundial foi o gatilho para o início da reversão, com o declínio da globalização econômica e a expansão da globalização militar, testemunhada por duas guerras mundiais e uma guerra fria global. Isto refletiu problemas mais profundos da desigualdade criada pelo progresso econômico do século XIX. A política não acompanhou o crescimento econômico, e o resultado foi a ascensão de ideologias patológicas – fascismo e comunismo – que dividiu as nações e o mundo. O desenvolvimento do estado de bem-estar social (welfare state) em países ocidentais, depois da Segunda Guerra Mundial, ajudou a criar uma rede de segurança para as pessoas desamparadas pelas mudanças econômicas, e assim estimulou-as a aceitar o retorno da interdependência econômica internacional.

Alguns analistas vêem a China desempenhar um papel, atualmente, semelhante ao que a Alemanha ocupou antes do século XX – um poder crescente, atacado por desigualdades internas, fez nascer um nacionalismo que desafiou o poder dominante, provocando uma guerra que atrasou o progresso da globalização econômica. As economias americanas e chinesas são altamente interdependentes hoje, como também foram Alemanha e Inglaterra antes de 1914.

Mas a analogia não é perfeita. A Alemanha tinha sobrepujado a Inglaterra na produção industrial, antes de 1900. Mesmo com as altas taxas de crescimento, a economia chinesa não se igualará a dos EUA por pelo menos mais duas décadas.

A maior ameaça para o mundo plano, provavelmente, virá das forças não governamentais e transnacionais que surgiram por meio da difusão tecnológica. No dia 11 de Setembro de 2001, uma rede não governamental matou mais americanos em um ataque surpresa do que o governo japonês fez em Pearl Harbor, em 1941. Chamo isto de privatização da guerra. Se tais atores obtiverem materiais nucleares e biológicos, o mundo ficará muito diferente. As fronteiras serão mais difíceis para atravessar, tanto para pessoas como mercadorias. E se tais atores interromperem o fluxo de petróleo do Golfo Pérsico, que possui dois terços das reservas globais, uma depressão mundial, assim como nos anos de 1930, pode fortalecer o protecionismo mais ainda.

A globalização tem duas forças motrizes: tecnologia e política. Até aqui, a política reforçou os efeitos de planificação da tecnologia. Na posição de maior economia do mundo, os EUA tomaram a dianteira na promoção de políticas para redução de barreiras. Mas os eventos descritos acima podem inverter tal cenário.

Alguns críticos da globalização poderiam dar as boas-vindas para tal visão. Mas o resultado, como vivenciamos depois de 1914, seria o pior dos mundos – reversão da globalização econômica que reprime a tecnologia e o poder, mas reforça as dimensões negativas da globalização ecológica-militar, como guerra, terror, alterações climáticas, e multiplicação de doenças contagiosas. Neste caso, o mundo plano pode ficar um deserto.

*Joseph Nye é professor da Escola de Governo de Harvard. Seu último livro é "The Power Game: A Washington Novel".

Este espaço é uma parceria entre e Project-Syndicate.

Direito autorais: Project Syndicate, 2005.

24 julho, 2006

77) Um livro sobre política externa por uma voz autorizada: o SG-MRE em pessoa

Um roteiro soberano para a política externa

Livro de Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, secretário-geral do Itamaraty, explicita a política internacional do governo, articula-a com os impasses internos e traça roteiro para superação das vulnerabilidades externas do Brasil. A direita vai odiar.

Gilberto Maringoni - Carta Maior, 24/07/2006

SÃO PAULO - Quem quiser conhecer mais a fundo as estratégias do Brasil no cenário internacional, nestes dias em que o Mercosul se reforça com a adesão da Venezuela e possível ingresso da Bolívia e de Cuba, não pode perder o volume que acaba de chegar às boas casas do ramo. Trata-se de “Desafios brasileiros na era dos gigantes” (Editora Contraponto, 456 páginas, R$ 50), do embaixador Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães. É um detalhado volume sobre os impasses do desenvolvimento brasileiro no conturbado cenário internacional pós-queda do muro de Berlim. Apesar de não ser um documento oficial, a peça é importante por revelar as idéias do segundo homem da área externa do governo. Pelo conteúdo e pelos rumos que aponta, em matéria de fortalecimento da ação do Estado e da independência nacional, é também um manual do antitucanês na gestão dos negócios públicos.

O livro do secretário-geral do Itamaraty tem o tom coloquial de uma boa conversa, alinhavada por uma notável erudição e conhecimento de causa das tensões internas e externas colocadas diante da economia e da soberania nacional. Didaticamente, ele aponta um a um os diversos projetos em conflito na definição dos rumos do país, buscando fazer um livro quase enciclopédico. São ao todo 12 ensaios, versando sobre os grupos em disputa pelo poder, as causas estruturais das dificuldades internas, como o desemprego, as más condições de vida e a violência, o papel do Estado e suas relações com as diversas modalidades do capital, o território, as estratégias econômicas e políticas de desenvolvimento e suas implicações culturais e sociais.

Não faltam críticas a saídas como a Alca e propostas de liberalização comercial no âmbito da OMC, que “visam a desregulamentar as atividades econômicas na periferia (...) com o objetivo de impedir que os Estados executem políticas ativas de desenvolvimento”.

Na América Latina, Guimarães, um explícito defensor da ampliação e diversificação do Mercosul, não esconde sua admiração pelo “governo democrático de Hugo Chávez”. Este sofreria “os efeitos de uma operação internacional da mídia e da academia, que procura caracterizá-lo como louco e ditatorial”. Sem meias palavras, o secretário-geral do Itamaraty critica as violações de fronteira motivadas pela execução do Plano Colômbia, amplo projeto militar financiado pelos Estados Unidos.

O livro é também um contundente libelo contra o neoliberalismo e as políticas de livre movimentação de capitais, desregulamentação e abertura comercial. Com base nisso, ataca as políticas de dependência tecnológica e suas dramáticas conseqüências no nível de emprego e direitos trabalhistas. “Durante o período que se inicia em 1990, o Brasil foi convencido de que, na era da globalização, o que valia era o capital, sua eficiência e sua competitividade, que a preocupação com o emprego (...) era antiquada e desnecessária, enquanto que o Estado e a soberania seriam relíquias de um passado ruim. Na base de tudo, estaria o capital – sem pátria, abundante, progressista e capaz de tudo resolver -, desde que fosse tratado sem distinções e que não se colocassem restrições aos seus movimentos de ingresso e de saída”.

Formado na tradição do Itamaraty, reforçada pela gestão do chanceler Azeredo da Silveira (1974-1979), Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães é conhecido por suas decididas posições nacionalistas. Odiado por editorialistas e editores de órgãos de extrema-direita – como o jornal “O Estado de S. Paulo” e a revista “Veja” -, ele foi afastado de suas funções do Ministério das Relações Exteriores em 2001, pelo então chanceler Celso Lafer, por suas posições contra a Alca.

Guimarães sabe ser impossível examinar a área internacional sem voltar-se para a política doméstica. Aqui ele é implacável: “As questões que atormentam o quotidiano dos brasileiros – ignorância, pobreza, violência, poluição, racismo, corrupção, arbítrio, mistificação, desemprego, miséria e opulência – são manifestações de extraordinárias disparidades, das crônicas vulnerabilidades e do desigual subdesenvolvimento que caracterizam a sociedade brasileira”. Para ele, as vulnerabilidades externas “estão intimamente vinculadas às disparidades internas e aos processos de concentração de poder que as criam a agravam”.

Há uma lógica importante na manutenção dessas desigualdades: “A despolitização da massa dos excluídos (e mesmo das classes médias) é uma estratégia importante para a sobrevivência e a expansão da estrutura hegemônica de poder”. Um pouco adiante sobram farpas para a imprensa: “Hoje em dia, a mídia, em especial a televisão, compartilha com as religiões conservadoras o exercício dessa função quotidiana de despolitização, por meio do estímulo incessante ao individualismo e ao consumo; da exaltação dos bem-sucedidos economicamente em atividades pop, tais como desportistas e artistas, em especial se forem oriundos da massa oprimida; da promoção do antagonismo e rejeição à política; da denúncia estridente mas descontínua dos escândalos de corrupção”.

Por fim, apesar de defender claramente o governo Lula, classificado por ele como “uma nova etapa na disputa de projetos”, as críticas do livro poderiam ser extensivas à atuação oficial no Congresso. Veja-se o trecho: “No processo legislativo, de um lado os grandes interesses econômicos financiam as eleições e organizam seus representantes em defesa de legislação que garanta seus privilégios enquanto o Governo, de seu lado, por meio do controle da liberação de verbas e do preenchimento de cargos, teve sempre a possibilidade de conquistar o voto de parlamentares e assim obter seu apoio”. Uma versão anterior desse capítulo (“Os donos do poder, a macroestrutura”), que circulou amplamente pela internet há cerca de um ano, era bem mais explícita. Ao invés de falar em “conquistar o voto de parlamentares”, Guimarães valia-se do termo “comprar o voto”.

As obsessões de Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães são as vulnerabilidades externas do país. Ele as divide entre vulnerabilidades econômica, política e militar. As primeiras se manifestam “pela concentração ainda elevada da pauta exportadora em produtos primários e semi-elaborados”. No âmbito financeiro, “o crônico endividamento externo (...) é permanentemente estimulado (...) como forma de disciplinar as políticas domésticas”.

Em terceiro lugar, Guimarães coloca que “A vulnerabilidade política e militar decorre da inexistência ou insuficiência de produção de material bélico e de pesquisa tecnológica na área de armamentos; da convicção ideológica por parte de certas elites da escassez de poder do Brasil e da conseqüente (...) necessidade de alinhamento político e, finalmente, do complexo de inferioridade político-militar, de natureza e origem colonial, que inclui o medo do pecado mortal que é, para uma colônia, ter armas”.

O autor deplora o “amplo esforço de desarmamento dos países já desarmados pela política de não-proliferação de armas de destruição em massa e de mísseis, de redução das Forças Armadas convencionais da periferia”. Ao mesmo tempo, acontece “todo um esforço de consolidação jurídica do poder das grandes potências pela ampliação informal da jurisdição territorial-militar da Otan (Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte” e da competência do Conselho de Segurança da ONU”.

A conclusão do livro, nesse assunto, é clara: é importante “dotar gradual e firmemente as Forças Armadas de capacidade dissuasória adequada e compatível com as necessidades decorrentes das características de território, da população e do potencial de desenvolvimento brasileiro”.

Após realizar um amplo e detalhado diagnóstico de nossos descaminhos, Guimarães artcula os desafios da sociedade brasileira. Eles seriam, fundamentalmente:

1. “A eliminação gradual, porém firme e constante de suas disparidades internas”. Estas se referem à “concentração de renda e de riqueza; à privação e alienação cultural; ao acesso à tecnologia; à discriminação racial e de gênero ilegais, mas reais; à política, pela impudente e decisiva influência do poder econômico”, nas esferas regional e social;

2. “A eliminação das crônicas vulnerabilidades externas”, nos campos econômico, tecnológico, político, militar e ideológico;

3. “A realização de seu potencial econômico, político e militar”.

Segundo o livro, o enfrentamento positivo desses três desafios colocará o Brasil como uma das principais grandes potências, o que “afetará a correlação de poder em nível americano e mundial”. Nesse quadro, torna-se necessária uma articulação sólida entre Brasil e Argentina, no âmbito do Mercosul. Como pano de fundo está a dominação do “império americano”.

Os candidatos a presidente que se consideram de esquerda, ou pelo menos progressistas deveriam dar uma lida nessas páginas. Suas teses alicerçam qualquer programa de governo que almeje se orientar pela soberania e pela justiça social.

Dois reparos podem ser feitos ao livro. O primeiro é que, para uma segunda edição, valeria a pena realizar uma revisão mais detalhada, que aparasse algumas redundâncias entre os artigos.

O segundo é ser mais claro na classificação do que entende por “patriota”. Numa lista, arrolada no final do volume, sobre quais seriam os personagens tidos como “patriotas que compreenderam a necessidade de promover a industrialização do país”, um dos nomes mencionados – além de Roberto Simonsen, Getúlio Vargas, Juscelino Kubitschek e Celso Furtado - é o do ex-presidente Ernesto Geisel. Seria positiva uma maior explicitação desse tópico. Se é verdade que no governo do então general o Brasil completou sua cadeia produtiva, elaborou o último planejamento econômico de longo curso – o II Plano Nacional de Desenvolvimento – e assentou as bases de uma política externa soberana, é necessário mirar o outro lado da moeda. O governo Geisel, entre outros desmandos, fechou o Congresso em 1977 e acobertou os assassinatos de dirigentes do PCB (como Davi Capistrano Costa) em 1974, de Vladimir Herzog, em 1975, e de parte do Comitê Central do PCdoB, em 1976, na Lapa, em São Paulo.

A citação nem de longe compromete o livro. Mas dá munição ao cinismo da direita, que sempre apoiou a ditadura e que agora busca cantar de galo como democrata de última hora.


E os primeiros comentários:

Igor T Bandeira
Tendência: Contra
Não consigo entender quais seriam as vantagens para o Brasil de um programa de militarização ou de busca de armamentos atômicos. Concordo que o domínio da tecnologia é importante, mas ter a bomba em si não seria vantajoso em termos de balança de poder regional. Outra crítica é achar que o governo de Hugo Chávez é uma democracia e que a Venezuela é, na verdade, vítima da imprensa internacional que pretende difamá-la por suas posições contrárias ao capitalismo americano. Essa seria uma leitura bem rasa de nosso vizinho do norte.

Pablo Silva Arruti
Tendência: Contra
Com respeito a militarização eu discordo totalmente. Me parece ridiculo em tempos de bomba atomica tomar qualquer posição a favor do aumento do poderio bélico brasileiro, é querer retomar as tensões antigas da guerra fria, agora entre um EUA ultracapitalista e uma america latina semisocialista. Eu fico triste de saber que alguem com tanto conhecimento defende uma posição tão perigosa como esta. A historia nos mostra que as armas matam muito mais os pobres, se ele defende os pobres que não defenda as armas. Eu sou um pacifista convicto, não acredito que a violencia ou o medo melhorem o mundo de forma alguma. A paz só resulta do respeito, e armas só geram medo.

Nome: Renato Calisto Drumond
Tendência: Neutro
O artigo possui um erro: a extrema-direita se caracteriza principalmente pelo seu nacionalismo exacerbado. Logo, se o autor do livro é criticado pelo seu nacionalismo, essa crítica não pode partir da extrema-direita.

22 julho, 2006

76) Premio ao livro "Envisioning Brazil"

A Brazilian Studies Association acaba de anunciar:


Após uma leitura atenta dos livros inscritos e tendo em mente os
seguintes critérios gerados pela natureza do prêmio:
a) abrangência, importância e atualidade do tema;
b) alcance da obra para o público leitor ter conhecimento do Brasil;
c) pesquisa de fontes e bibliografia de utilidade geral aos estudos
sobre o Brasil;

a Comissão Julgadora, constituída de três membros, escolheu, por
unaninimidade, os dois livros:

- "Go-betweens and the Colonization of Brazil (1500-1600)" de Alida
C. Metcalf. University of Texas Press, 2005

- "Envisioning Brazil. A guide to Brazilian Studies in the United
States" Ed. by Marshall C. Eakin and Paulo Roberto de Almeida,
University of Wisconsin Press, 2005

Quer-se salientar que os dois livros, distintos em sua natureza por
ser um deles obra de vários autores e o outro de apenas um autor,
correspondem plenamente aos critérios estabelecidos com a finalidade
de orientar a seleção feita.

Bryan McCann (Georgetown University)
Beth A Conklin (Vanderbilt University)
Tania F. Carvalhal (UFRGS/ ICLA)

Marshall C. Eakin
Executive Director
Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA)
Professor of History
Vanderbilt University
(615) 322-3328
Email: marshall.c.eakin@Vanderbilt.Edu

Paulo Roberto de Almeida

13 julho, 2006

75) Formacao do pensamento politico brasileiro, Francisco C. Weffort

Formação do pensamento político brasileiro - Idéias e personagens
Autor: Francisco C. Weffort
Ficha Técnica
ISBN: 8508101554
Ano da Edição: 2006
Páginas: 360

Francisco Weffort acompanha neste livro a formação do pensamento político brasileiro desde suas preliminares culturais mais distantes, na história da Ibéria e de Portugal. No país recém-descoberto, as origens do nosso pensamento político se acham nos séculos XVI e XVII, quando Manuel da Nóbrega e Antônio Vieira, defendendo a humanidade dos índios, suscitaram as primeiras indagações sobre as gentes desta parte do mundo. No século XVIII, o Marquês de Pombal estabeleceu a prevalência do Estado sobre a Igreja, reconheceu a igualdade dos judeus e a liberdade dos índios.
Esboçavam-se assim, desde a colônia, temas da política que no século XIX, após D. João VI, deram partida a idéias e utopias do Brasil independente, algumas das quais chegaram ao século XX.
Sob Pedro I, José Bonifácio queria abolir a escravidão, criar um povo plural e mestiço, de brancos, índios, negros. Sob Pedro II, Joaquim Nabuco queria destruir não só a escravidão, mas também a miséria e a extrema desigualdade do país. Na virada para a I República, Euclides da Cunha foi o narrador sincero do choque da "civilização" contra a "barbárie", como se dizia, na época, dos pobres de Canudos. Algumas dessas idéias foram desenvolvidas, no início da "era de Vargas", em linhas
diferentes, por Oliveira Viana, Gilberto Freyre, Caio Prado e Sergio Buarque. Em meados dos anos 50, essa herança foi retomada por Helio Jaguaribe e demais fundadores do Instituto Superior de Estudos Brasileiros (ISEB), que buscaram reconhecer o povo e o Estado que poderiam levar o país ao desenvolvimento e à democracia.
Este livro de Francisco Weffort narra a grandiosa trajetória das idéias que construíram o Brasil.
Uma trajetória que vale a pena conhecer pelo muito que essas idéias fizeram pelo país. Mais ainda pelas perguntas que formularam e que permanecem sem resposta, e pelos sonhos que construíram e permanecem irrealizados.

12 julho, 2006

74) Inveja de boas bibliotecas...

Bibliotecas dão nova fama a Bogotá
Com 2 milhões de livros, o principal centro do país tem mais visitantes do que Masp, Pinacoteca e Mário de Andrade juntos.
Folha de São Paulo, 11.7.06 - pág. E10

Com outros projetos na área e grandes bibliotecas em construção, capital da Colômbia recebe título da Unesco por apoio à leitura.
Raul Juste Lores
da reportagem local

Com 2,7 milhões de visitantes por ano, a Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, em Bogotá, é uma das mais visitadas do mundo. Recebe, em média, 9.000 pessoas diariamente. É mais do que a soma de visitantes de Masp (Museu de Arte de São Paulo), Biblioteca Mário de Andrade e Pinacoteca juntos por dia.
Mantida pelo Banco Central do país, ela tem 2 milhões de livros e capacidade para 2.000 leitores sentados. Nos últimos anos, a BLAA fez escola: a prefeitura local construiu outras megabibliotecas pela cidade e criou diversos programas de leitura que visam formar leitores em massa.
Tal empenho recebeu reconhecimento da comunidade internacional. A Unesco escolheu Bogotá como a primeira cidade latino-americana a ser Capital Mundial do Livro, título que ostentará em 2007. A Fundação Bill e Melinda Gates doou US$ 1 milhão para a rede municipal de bibliotecas e colabora com equipamentos tecnológicos para os centros.
Em visita recente a São Paulo, convidada pela Secretaria Municipal de Relações Internacionais, a diretora da BLAA, Ângela Pérez Mejía, esteve em São Paulo para falar de como as bibliotecas transformaram Bogotá e começam a mudar um país associado à guerrilha, narcotráfico e violência. Em palestra na Biblioteca Mário de Andrade, que passa por processo de modernização, Pérez Mejía falou que a capital colombiana deve muito aos novos espaços de convivência com livros.
Uma rede de ciclovias, de 300 quilômetros de extensão, e o sistema de ônibus articulados, em corredores, servem todas as grandes bibliotecas. “As bibliotecas ditaram os rumos do transporte público”, dia Pérez. Alguns dos maiores arquitetos colombianos trabalharam na criação das três novas megabibliotecas, como a Virgilio Barco, desenhada por Rogelio Salmona, e a El Tunal, adaptando antiga usina de tratamento de lixo, por Daniel Bermúdez.
Atualmente está em construção a quarta megabiblioteca municipal, na periferia de Bogotá, graças à doação de US$ 12 milhões feita pela família Santodomingo, a mais rica do país. Será inaugurada em 2008.

Livros ao vento
Um dos projetos que envolveu toda a cidade, além do numeroso público que freqüenta as bibliotecas, é o “Livros ao Vento”. A prefeitura local lança 70 mil exemplares, por edição, em versões de bolso de clássicos de Cortazar, García Márquez, Allan Pe, Tchecov, entre outros, e os distribui nos pontos de ônibus, gratuitamente. Na contracapa, um pedido: que ao terminar a leitura, o livro seja passado para outra pessoa ou deixado em outro lugar público. “Deixe que este livro voe”.
Outro projeto municipal utiliza postos de leitura, como estantes desmontáveis, que são instalados nos parques da cidade, com 300 livros cada um.
O interesse pelo livro também cresceu para além da capital colombiana. No interior, em plena floresta amazônica, existem os “biblioburros”, onde agentes culturais levam coleções ao lombo de burrinhos para emprestar livros nas localidades mais distantes. Também foram criadas pelo governo bibliotecas indígenas.

“Livros são um refúgio contra a violência”
da reportagem local

A professora de literatura e cinema latino-americanos Ângela Pérez Mejía, que foi professora da Universidades Brandeis, em Boston, dirige a Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, a mais freqüentada da América Latina. Dependem da BLAA outras 16 bibliotecas pela Colômbia, mais uma sala de concertos, um museu numismático e a Coleção Botero, doada pelo famoso pintor colombiano, com quadros de Picasso, Klee, Bacon e Miro, entre outros, colecionados pelo mestre dos gordinhos nas últimas quatro décadas. Em entrevista à Folha, Pérez fala dos porquês de Bogotá se tornar um símbolo da democratização da leitura.

Folha – A senhora sente que as bibliotecas podem mudar a imagem da Colômbia, tão associada à violência?
Pérez – Não tenho provas científicas, mas não tenho dúvidas de que as bibliotecas ajudaram a mudar Bogotá. Nós, colombianos, temos vergonha de ser olhados no mundo como um país violento. Onde o futuro é tão incerto, a literatura vira um refúgio contra a violência, ela te oferece espaços para pensar que você pode mudar seu país. Nós nascemos na escassez, somos um país pobre. E nos surpreendemos em como a cultura pode mudar nossa realidade.

Folha – Em São Paulo, os grandes centros de convivência são os shoppings. A senhora falou que, em Bogotá, os shoppings não conseguem tirar público das bibliotecas. Como é possível?
Pérez – O espaço público em Bogotá é precário. As bibliotecas foram pensadas como espaço público comunitário. A arquitetura não é apenas para ler, é para se encontrar. Há muita luz, muito lugar confortável para ler. Pensamos em comunidades, não em indivíduos. É diferente das bibliotecas americanas. Claro que temos espaços silenciosos para estudar, mas queremos espaços que promovam encontros.
Investimos em arquitetura de qualidade, prédios que dão status ao ato de ler. Não são de portas fechadas. Elas são cercadas por espaços culturais, com que dialogam.

Folha – No Brasil, bibliotecas públicas são mais usadas para trabalhos escolares. Como transformá-las em centros culturais?
Pérez – Nosso objetivo tem sido de desescolarizá-las. Ler não porque é obrigação, mas pelo prazer, porque ler é divertido. Há programação de arte, de música. Bibliotecas sem orçamento para renovar suas coleções ou que respondem às necessidades de seus leitores perdem público. Quando há espaços públicos bons, as pessoas vão. Visitei o Centro Cultural São Paulo e estava cheio.

Folha – A BLAA foi fundada em 1958. Mas só nos últimos anos houve essa febre pelos livros. Quando houve a mudança?
Pérez – O país passou por programas de alfabetização muito bem-sucedidos nas últimas décadas. Temos 5% de analfabetos, um dos menores índices da região. Mas a resposta à mudança se chama continuidade. Não há políticas culturais que funcionem a curto prazo. O Banco de la República, que mantém a BLAA, é constante em seus investimentos e criou um público fiel. Sou a quarta diretora da BLAA, que tem 48 anos de existência. Meus antecessores ficaram, em média, mais de 15 anos no cargo.
Os governos municipais mantiveram a prioridade das bibliotecas nos últimos 12 anos, mesmo com prefeitos de partidos diferentes.
A BLAA, que não é municipal, colaborou para essa mudança, dando consultoria aos diferentes governos. Forças políticas distintas têm se unido em torno das bibliotecas do país.

07 julho, 2006

73) Revista Integración y Comércio: INTAL

Ver neste link:

Revista Integración & Comercio N° 24 (Enero-Junio, 2006)

El intercambio comercial y la solución de controversias en América del Sur. Preocupaciones y desafíos en el camino hacia el ALCA
Valentina Delich
Efectos de un área de libre comercio de las Américas: evaluación basada en un modelo de equilibrio general dinámico global
Madanmohan Ghosh y Carolyn Mac Leod
Inquietud en el sur: políticas agropecuarias, comercio y pobreza
Sam Laird, Ralf Peters y David Vanzetti
Introduccion a estudios sobre América Latina y China
Consecuencias para América Latina del nuevo rol de China en la economía internacional: el caso argentino
Carlos Galperín, Gustavo Girado y Eduardo Rodríguez Diez
La aparición de China en el escenario económico mundial: el caso de Brasil
Marcelo de Paiva Abreu
Consecuencias para la región de América Latina y el Caribe de la aparición de China en el escenario económico mundial. Documento Informativo: el caso de Chile
Sebastián Claro
Consecuencias para América Latina del surgimiento de China en el escenario económico mundial: el caso de México
Rogelio Arellano
Los 40 Años del Intal

06 julho, 2006

72) Obras em domínio público: site do MEC

Imagine um lugar onde você pudesse, por exemplo, ler gratuitamente todas as obras do Machado de Assis, ou obras como a "A Divina Comédia", de Dante Aleghieri, ou ainda ter acesso a histórias infantis.
Um lugar que lhe mostrasse as grandes pinturas de Leonardo da Vinci, ou onde você pudesse escutar gratuitamente músicas de alta qualidade, em MP3.
Pois o Ministério da Educação disponibiliza tudo isso.
Basta acessar o site:

Só de Literatura em língua portuguesa, há 732 obras. Eu transcrevi, aqui abaixo, as obras listadas na categoria "História". Pena que os títulos das obras não sejam seguidos pelas respectivas datas de publicação. Mas a maioria é amplamente conhecida.

Título Autor Fonte Formato Tam.Arq Downloads
1 . La Campagna del 1796 nel Veneto : Parte I (la decadenza militare della serenissima. Uomini ed armi) Eugenio Barbarich [lb] Liber liber .pdf 5,07 MB 17
2 . A Century of Negro Migration Carter G. Woodson [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 6,53 MB 43
3 . A Discourse of Trade Roger Coke [mc] McMaster University .pdf 298,41 KB 57
4 . A Dissertation Upon Parties Henry St. John Bolingbroke [mc] McMaster University .pdf 793,53 KB 59
5 . A Guide to the Best Historical Novels and Tales Jonathan Nield [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 2,15 MB 64
6 . A History of Aeronautics E. Charles Vivian [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 11,88 MB 122
7 . A History of Science, Volume 1 Henry Smith Williams [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 7,43 MB 160
8 . A History of Science, Volume 2 Henry Smith Williams [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 7,19 MB 54
9 . A History of Science, Volume 3 Henry Smith Williams [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 7,51 MB 51
10 . A History of Science, Volume 4 Henry Smith Williams [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 7,26 MB 54
11 . A New Philosophy: Henri Bergson Edouard le Roy [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 4,23 MB 32
12 . A Rebelião das Massas José Ortega y Gasset [cv] CultVox .pdf 440,01 KB 2.052
13 . A República é incontestável Joaquim Nabuco [jn] Fundação Joaquim Nabuco .pdf 4,66 MB 534
14 . A Straight Deal or The Ancient Grudge Owen Wister [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 3,99 MB 23
15 . A Summary View of the Rights of British America Thomas Jefferson [ol] The Online Library of Liberty .pdf 3,59 MB 94
16 . A Vanished Arcadia, Being Some Account of the Jesuits in Paraguay, 1607 to 1767 R. B. Cunninghame Graham [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 9,05 MB 56
17 . A View of the Art of Colonization Edward Gibbon Wakefield [mc] McMaster University .pdf 830,23 KB 80
18 . A abolição Joaquim Osório Duque Estrada [sf] Senado Federal .pdf 871,32 KB 386
19 . A campanha de Canudos Aristides A. Milton [sf] Senado Federal .pdf 874,39 KB 297
20 . A construção de uma identidade inacabada Marcelo Alario Ennes [up] Fundação Editora da Unesp .pdf 1.000,25 KB 266
21 . A contrução do "herói" leitura na escola assis-sp- 1920/1950 Raquel Lazzari Leite Barbosa [up] Fundação Editora da Unesp .pdf 1,27 MB 103
22 . A educação em um mundo pós-moderno John Daniel [ue] Unesco .pdf 144,48 KB 370
23 . A escravidão Joaquim Nabuco [jn] Fundação Joaquim Nabuco .pdf 13,32 MB 804
24 . A ilusão americana Eduardo Prado [sf] Senado Federal .pdf 653,98 KB 246
25 . A independência e o império do Brasil A. J. de Melo Morais [sf] Senado Federal .pdf 1,61 MB 295
26 . A militarização da burocracia: a participação militar na administração federal das comunicações e da educação - 1963/1990 Suzeley Kalil Mathias [up] Fundação Editora da Unesp .pdf 1,25 MB 144
27 . A presidência de Campos Sales Alcindo Guanabara [sf] Senado Federal .pdf 2,07 MB 72
28 . A revista do brasil: um diagnóstico para a nação Tania Regina de Luca [up] Fundação Editora da Unesp .pdf 2,91 MB 170
29 . A verdade como regra das ações Farias Brito [sf] Senado Federal .pdf 1,00 MB 74
30 . Abrinq Foundation - A History of Action (1990-1997) Fundação Abrinq [fa] Fundação Abrinq .pdf 1,62 MB 19
31 . Acerca de la Esclavitud Alexander von Humboldt [bk] eBooket .pdf 45,09 KB 210
32 . Address of the Brazilian ambassador, Senhor Nabuco, at the laying of the corner-stone of the new building of the American Republics in Washington, on May 11, 1908 Joaquim Nabuco [jn] Fundação Joaquim Nabuco .pdf 815,21 KB 40
33 . Agradecimento aos pernambucanos Joaquim Nabuco [jn] Fundação Joaquim Nabuco .pdf 2,68 MB 81
34 . Album de Pernambuco M. Lisboa Monteiro [jn] Fundação Joaquim Nabuco .pdf 50,16 MB 221
35 . An Economic History of Rome Tenney Frank [mc] McMaster University .pdf 850,22 KB 80
36 . Anarquismo, estado e pastoral do imigrante Wlaumir Doniseti de Souza [up] Fundação Editora da Unesp .pdf 1,91 MB 145
37 . As formas do mesmo Nilo Odalia [up] Fundação Editora da Unesp .pdf 801,89 KB 90
38 . Astoria Washinton Irving [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 14,30 MB 40
39 . Barlaam and Ioasaph St. John of Damascus [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 6,92 MB 30
40 . Belgian Democracy: Its Early History Henri Pirenne [mc] McMaster University .pdf 471,66 KB 37
41 . Brasil o desenvolvimento ameaçado: perspectivas e soluções Nilo Odália [up] Fundação Editora da Unesp .pdf 2,40 MB 92
42 . British Airships: Past, Present e Future George Whale [gu] Projeto Gutenberg .pdf 3,87 MB 41
43 . Campanha abolicionista no Recife (eleições de 1884) Joaquim Nabuco [sf] Senado Federal .pdf 826,66 KB 56
44 . Campanha abolicionista no Recife: eleições 1884: discurso de Joaquim Nabuco Joaquim Nabuco [jn] Fundação Joaquim Nabuco .pdf 25,06 MB 78
45 . Canudos e outros temas Euclides da Cunha [sf] Senado Federal .pdf 1,52 MB 229
46 . Capítulos de história colonial João Capistrano de Abreu [sf] Senado Federal .pdf 2,15 MB 311
47 . Carta aos abolicionistas ingleses Joaquim Nabuco [jn] Fundação Joaquim Nabuco .pdf 10,18 MB 106
48 . Centenário de Lincoln: discurso pronunciado em Washington, aos 12 de fevereiro de 1909, pelo embaixador do Brasil Joaquim Nabuco Joaquim Nabuco [jn] Fundação Joaquim Nabuco .pdf 759,05 KB 88
49 . Conferência do Sr. Joaquim Nabuco a 22 de junho de 1884 no Theatro Polytheama Joaquim Nabuco [jn] Fundação Joaquim Nabuco .pdf 3,87 MB 53
50 . Conselhos aos governantes Vários autores [sf] Senado Federal .pdf 5,52 MB 101

01 julho, 2006

71) Enfim, um escritor de qualidades: Luandino Vieira

Angolano recusa Prêmio Camões por razões pessoais

UOL - 24/05/2006 - Lisboa, 24 Mai (lusa) - O Ministério da Cultura de Portugal informou hoje em uma nota de imprensa que o escritor angolano Luandino Vieira recusou o Prêmio Camões 2006, anunciado na sexta-feira passada. Segundo a nota, Vieira alegou `razões pessoais, íntimas` para justificar a recusa do prêmio, no valor de 100 mil euros (R$ 290,6 mil). `Sublinhando seu agradecimento pela distinção, o escritor Luandino Vieira justifica a decisão de não a aceitar evocando `razões pessoais, íntimas`. A opção do escritor será naturalmente respeitada`, diz o comunicado do Ministério da Cultura.
A escritora portuguesa Agustina Bessa-Luís, que fez parte do júri este ano e votou no cabo-verdiano Germano de Almeida, comentou a recusa de Vieira, afirmando que é `respeitável` e um direito do angolano.

O Prêmio Camões foi criado em 1988 pelos governos do Brasil e de Portugal e é a distinção literária mais importante da língua portuguesa. Vieira foi o terceiro autor africano a receber o prêmio, que no ano passado foi concedido à brasileira Lygia Fagundes Telles.

70) Playboy elege 25 livros mais picantes da história

Folha Online - 18/05/2006 - Uma lista realizada pelo site da `Playboy` norte-americana elegeu as 25 obras mais sexy da história da literatura. Segundo o portal, a idéia é resgatar `o verdadeiro poder da tinta e do papel de abalar nossas mentes num mundo bombardeado por imagens sexualizadas`. O ranking é encabeçado pelo autor britânico John Cleland, com `Memórias de uma Mulher de Prazer - Fanny Hill`. Trata-se de um clássico da literatura do século 18 que conta a história de uma prostituta que ascende socialmente e se torna respeitada em seu meio.
Henry Miller aparece na terceira colocação, com `Trópico de Câncer`, primeiro livro da trilogia pós-guerra do autor. Miller foi censurado em muitos países e considerado `pornográfico` por seus contemporâneos.

`Lolita`, do mestre russo Vladimir Nabokov, ficou com a 11ª pósição. A obra criou a imagem da ninfeta, personagem que persegue e é perseguida pelo protagonista da história.

A lista deixa de fora escritores tidos como precursores deste tipo de literatura, como Proust e Sade, mas abre espaço para novos nomes, como o do japonês Haruki Murakami e da britânica Helen Walsh.

Veja abaixo o ranking:

1. `Memórias de uma Mulher de Prazer - Fanny Hill`, de J. Cleland (1748- 49)
2. `O Amante de Lady Chatterly`, de D. H. Lawrence (1928)
3. `Trópico de Câncer`, de Henry Miller (1934)
4. `História de O`, de Pauline Reage (1954)
5. `Crash`, de J.G Ballard (1973)
6. `Entrevista com o Vampiro`, de Anne Rice (1976)
7. `O complexo de Portnoy`, de Philip Roth (1969)
8. `O Mago`, de John Fowles (1965)
9. `The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle`, de Haruki Murakami (1995)
10. `Amor Sem Fim`, de Scott Spencer (1979)
11. `Lolita`, de Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
12. `Carrie`s Story`, de Molly Weatherfield (1995)
13. `Medo de Voar`, de Erica Jong (1973)
14. `Peyton Place`, de Grace Metalious (1956)
15. `História do Olho`, de Georges Bataille (1928)
16. `O Fim de Alice`, de A.M. Homes (1996)
17. `Vox`, de Nicholson Baker (1992)
18. `Rapture`, de Susan Minot (2002)
19. `Prazeres Singulares`, de Harry Mathews (1983)
20. `Em Carne Viva`, de Susanna Moore (1995)
21. `Brass`, de Helen Walsh (2004)
22. `Candy`, de Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg (1958)
23. `Forever`, by Judy Blume (1975)
24. `Um Sonho Americano`, de Norman Mailer (1965)
25. `O Carpetbaggers`, de Harold Robbins (1961)

69) Um inimigo do sistema: Noam Chomsky

Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy
By Noam Chomsky.
311 pp. Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company. $24.

Homeland Insecurity
The New York Times Book Review, June 25, 2006

THIS latest philippic from Noam Chomsky sets out to overturn every belief about their country Americans hold dear. The self-image of the United States as a beacon of freedom and democracy, lighting the way for the rest of the world, is a lie, Chomsky says, and it always has been. "Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy" aims to expose the rot of the shining city on a hill, from its foundations to its steeples.

At the book's center is the avowed American mission to spread democracy throughout the world. Chomsky concedes that, rhetorically at least, this has been the nation's goal since Woodrow Wilson, but he insists the words are utterly at odds with American deeds. In its many foreign interventions, Washington has acted to frustrate the will of the people, often by supporting those engaged in the most chilling violence. The United States has overthrown democratic governments in Iran, Chile, Guatemala "and a long list of others." Elsewhere it has paid lip service to procedural democracy while doing all it could to rig the outcome. There is, Chomsky says, a "rational consistency" to this inconsistency between words and actions. The record shows that the United States does indeed back democracy abroad — "if and only if it is consistent with strategic and economic interests."

These are not, Chomsky insists, the interests of the American people, but of the corporate elite that dominates the country and its policy making. For, he says, the United States is not a democracy, if that word is reserved for a society where the people's will is done.

Take health care. Chomsky has the data to show that the American system is economically inefficient, much costlier than more socialized models abroad and deeply unpopular with a majority of Americans, who are ready to pay for increased government intervention even if that means higher taxes. That democratic majority remains unheard, however, because "the pharmaceutical and financial industries and other private powers are strongly opposed." That is why the mainstream news media, a perennial Chomsky target, say publicly funded health care lacks political support: the majority might back it, but not the people who count.

Chomsky employs the same linguistic deconstruction for media definitions of prosperity. The experts may say the economy is healthy, as it is for the top 1 percent, whose wealth rose by 42 percent from 1983 to 1998. But it is not healthy for the majority, whose wages have stagnated or declined in real terms, nor for those going hungry in America because they cannot afford to buy food.

Much of this will be familiar to veteran Chomsky readers, but in this book he supplies a new twist. What, he asks, is a failed state? It is one that fails "to provide security for the population, to guarantee rights at home or abroad, or to maintain functioning (not merely formal) democratic institutions." On that definition, Chomsky argues, the United States is the world's biggest failed state. This sounds like a hyperbolic charge, ludicrously overblown — but he goes far toward substantiating it. He is especially strong on pointing up Washington's woeful efforts to protect Americans from terror attacks, in one instance lavishing more resources on the imaginary threat from Cuba than on the all-too-real menace of Al Qaeda.

And if a rogue state is defined by its defiance of international law, then the United States, Chomsky says, has long been the rogues' rogue. It has ignored the Geneva Conventions by its treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo and of Iraqi civilians in Falluja; violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty by its development of new weapons when it should be making good-faith efforts to get rid of the old ones; flouted the United Nations Charter, which allows the use of force only when the "necessity of self-defense" is "instant" and "overwhelming," standards hardly met by the 2003 invasion of Iraq; and defied the World Court, which in the 1980's held Washington guilty of "unlawful use of force" against Nicaragua, a ruling the United States simply rejected. Scholars like to speak of American exceptionalism, but with Chomsky the phrase takes on new meaning: America exempts itself from the rules it demands for everyone else. This is not a double standard, but flows from what Chomsky, quoting Adam Smith, calls the single standard: the "vile maxim of the masters of mankind: . . . All for ourselves, and nothing for other people."

Throughout "Failed States" Chomsky writes in this vein of fierce excoriation. No one is exempt, according to him. The whole system is rotten, including traditional liberal heroes. Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy are all faulted for their pursuit of international dominance, from Roosevelt's plans to firebomb Japanese cities more than a year before Pearl Harbor to Kennedy's war in Vietnam. Even the framers of the Constitution are condemned. Chomsky disapprovingly quotes James Madison's insistence that the new Republic should "protect the minority of the opulent against the majority." He doesn't much like The New York Times either.

If there is a crumb of comfort for his readers, it is this: Americans are not a uniquely evil people. On the contrary, imperialists throughout history have behaved in the same way, from the Greeks to the British, always telling themselves they were driven by noble purpose — even as their elites wreaked havoc for their own material gain.

There are flaws in this book. It is dense, with almost every paragraph broken up by extensive quotations. And it is unrelenting, the invective interrupted only by the occasional flash of bitter wit. Like any polemicist, Chomsky is selective in his material: for example, he cites rulings by the Israeli Supreme Court that have injured Palestinians rights, but ignores those that have respected them.

Too often Chomsky fails to cast those outside the United States as active moral agents in their own right. He argues, with justification, that the American invasion of Iraq has unleashed a wave of terrorism in that country — but he has little interest in the bombers and beheaders themselves. Their actions are merely the inevitable products of decisions taken in Washington. He is also too airily dismissive of liberal interventionists, those who would like to see American power deployed to thwart genocide; in Chomsky's eyes, they are mere patsies for imperialism.

Similarly, his view of politics can be too mechanistic; sometimes he writes as if whole national debates are mere staged distractions, planned by the powers that be. And while he spends 260-odd pages presenting his critique, he offers only two paragraphs of solutions (an imbalance, it should be said, he is aware of).

Still, maybe it's sufficient for a prophet to tell the people they are in a wilderness; he shouldn't be expected to point the exact way out. Chomsky's ambitions, after all, are high enough. It's hard to imagine any American reading this book and not seeing his country in a new, and deeply troubling, light.

Jonathan Freedland is an editorial page columnist for The Guardian of London.