Most Americans don't know this, but many Brazilians are obsessed with the US. Every few years there is another big book in Brazil comparing Brazil to the US and wondering why Brazil lags behind. After all, the two countries have much in common: a colonial history, a mixed-race population, a wild, wide-open frontier to exploit. The point of this argument used to be to account for Brazil's problems -- under-development, persistent poverty, military coups, socialist uprisings -- but over the past decade many Brazilians have been feeling a lot better about their side of the comparison. Their economy is growing much faster than ours, their politics have been peaceful and productive, they have good relations with just about every country in the world and no enemies to speak of, and now they have moved ahead of the US in one important way: they have a female President.
I am sure we will have one soon, too, but meanwhile I congratulate Dilma Rousseff and Brazil on their great progress.