Remarks at Luncheon With Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Itamaraty Palace
Brasilia, Brazil
August 13, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Mr. Foreign Minister, distinguished guests, and particularly my former colleague senators who are here, the chairman of the committee, it’s my privilege to be able to just respond a moment to Antonio’s comments. And I want to pick up on what he said, if I may. First, I just want to say thank you for a wonderful welcome, a very generous moment here. I’m not sure I should say thank you for giving me this power to be all that stands between you and your meal, but I will try to execute it very, very quickly and sensitively.

I’m amazed by this privilege of eating in this football field room that is enormous. I’m privileged to be able to be here with you in Brazil, and for me to be back in Brazil is very, very special, and I think you know why, Antonio. I have a special connection here. But I listened to your comments a moment ago as you talked about multilateralism and the world we live in, and I think as Brazil thinks about its relationship with the United States, it’s important for you to be aware that we have no pretensions that we’re still living in the age of the Cold War, where there was a bipolar division and the Cold War itself was dominated by major superpowers, in many cases without regard to the impact on a lot of other countries’ aspirations.

Today is different. The United States welcomes – welcomes the strength of nations that are emerging on their own design with their own hopes and aspirations for their people. And truly amazing stories are being written around the world by Brazil, by many other countries that are suddenly new economic powerhouses, and happily, new centers of democracy and of education, environmental concern, health care, all of the values that we share. I know sometimes people wonder sort of how does the United States react to this transformation, and I cannot tell you how much we welcome it.

We want partners in these aspirations, and the world is stronger when the world shares decisions that people come to together and work towards in partnership. The truth is that I don’t think there’s any country on the face of the planet that has won as many battles, expended as much of its treasure in the interests of democracy and freedom and universal values, whether it was on the beaches of Normandy or on the islands of the Pacific in World War II or in other great enterprises that we have engaged in. And in every single case the United States has happily welcomed a South Korea that is a powerhouse in the world today, a Japan powerhouse in the world today, Germany, France, Europe powerhouse in the world today. The truth is that our shared values are what keep us together, not our physical strength. And in the end, Brazil is now setting its own course among all of those nations, proving its ability to make a difference on the global stage as well as to grow its partnership with the United States.

So I’m proud to say that this is a time of great promise between our countries, Antonio. It’s a great promise for the world if we make the right choices. And I think we have to look forward, we have to move forward along with the currents that that will take us into that future. Your great Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho reminds us when we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; the challenge will not wait, life does not look back. What we all need is a moment, as he tells us, to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.

Brazil and the United States are at that kind of moment now. Our destiny is clear, in our judgment: If we act in common purpose, if we work together to build a more prosperous, democratic, and secure future for the Americas and for others in the world who aspire to be like us, then we will have a more effective partnership. Life will always send us challenges to test our courage, but I can tell you I’m confident Brazil and America will not wait, we will not look back, we will look forward and we will move forward together. And I toast our effort. Saude.

PRN: 2013/T12-07