According to Brazil's Strategic Affairs minister, Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Mercosur is currently a "body without soul."Â The Brazilian official has called for a joint project to overcome "the huge asymmetries of power between Brazil and its neighbors."
"We have an objective problem in South America: the huge power asymmetry between Brazil and its neighbors, which is made worse by the fact that the most advanced segment of the Brazilian society is moving away from South America, which makes the distance even greater," said Mangabeira.
In an interview with the Italian news agency Ansa, the Brazilian intellectual who was president Barack Obama's professor at the Harvard Law School, denied the existence of a "possible Brazilian imperialism" in South America because of the geopolitical consolidation of Brazilian capital Brasília well beyond its regional space as well as its growing economic influence over its neighbors.
Mangabeira Unger said the only solution to reduce asymmetries among South American countries is "a common project with an alternative model" and added that "there's no way to solve the problem with a paternalistic prescription or with contemplations or donations."
The minister said that the "basic fragility of Mercosur and the South American Union of Nations, Unasur is that they are bodies with no soul in which trade, energy, infrastructure integration is discussed, but no project."
South American institutions need to find those essential pillars which helped Europe transform into the European Union.
"The EU was built on the pillars of perpetual peace to put an end to wars and on the idea of a geopolitical space. We don't have an equivalent. We should be discussing those options, how to democratize the market economy with social inclusion as the main foundation where to build on," he underlined.
Further on and talking about the BRIC Group (Brazil, Russia, India and China) Mangabeira said that there is a consensus to push for a global change based on an end to the US dollar as the international reserve currency axis, although the group also rejects the EU monetary system.
"There's a growing desire among BRIC members to dethrone the US dollar. The debate inside BRIC is how to free ourselves from the straight-jacket imposed by the system that was worked out, and is prevalent since World War Two," he underlined.
Mangabeira Unger is scheduled to travel to Moscow this week in anticipation of the BRIC presidential summit to be held in the Russian capital next June 16 on requests from President Dmitry Medvedev
"There's a strong consensus among BRIC members that the US dollar can't go on for ever as the reference currency, but we also don't want the US dollar replaced by a system which originates bureaucracy. Nobody wants a European Central Bank from a "Global Brussels" with huge powers," said the Brazilian minister.
"Between the US dollar hegemony and a technocratic bureaucracy made up of official bankers there's a great gap, ample space," he said. "An option under discussion in BRIC is having a basket of currencies, or quasi-money such as the IMF Special Drawing Rights. But nobody has a definitive position on the issue," remarked Mangabeira Unger.