LatAm’s major defense fair opens in Brazil with 700 companies from 48 countries – major development towards international defense cooperation.
Delegations from 48 countries some of them including Defense ministers attended the International Defence and Security Fair, (LAAD), in Rio de Janeiro the largest show of military equipment in Latin America. The almost 30.000 visitors expected at the Riocentro convention center for the ninth edition of LAAD, among which 300 official delegates will be able to appreciate the latest products and systems at the stands representing 700 companies from 48 countries among which such giants as Boeing, Saab, Embraer, Rosoboronexport, according to the organizers. The number of stands in the four-day show is greater than in 2011 (663), following on decisions from countries such as Canada, Chile, Arab Emirates, Colombia, Slovakia and Norway to put up their own pavilions with their home representatives. The fair will be opened by Defence minister Celso Amorim who will also be holding meetings with his peers from Argentina, Ukraine, South Africa and Slovakia as well as the British Defence minister Andrew Murrison and Pedro Argüelles Spain’s Secretary of State for Defence. Amorim is to take advantage of the LAAD ninth edition to have UNASUR members (Union of South American Nations) sign the Consulting Committee Project Statute with the intention of jointly developing and building a training fighter plane. LAAD which this year covers a show area of 60.000 sq metres brings together every two years Brazilian and international corporations specialized in equipment, services and technologies for Armed Forces and law enforcement corps.
Such exhibition is a big step towards Unasur’s exposure to the most powerful defense players in the World. International relations scholars generally view events such as this in terms of state power, indicating both economic and military power. Those states that have significant amounts of power within the international system usually like to display it with the intent to demonstrate their capabilities (which is usually presented in a way of such exhibition fairs or other military training that is often publicly advertised), and another purpose is to attract alliances.
It is known that neofunctionalism model of regional integration often causes the spill over effect into other areas of cooperation, in such a way that entities other than states can also acquire and wield power and promote cooperation in international relations. Such entities can include multilateral international organizations, multinational corporations, such as above mentioned companies (Boieng, Embraer) which have a huge stake in state’s military and defence position. Such is usually done to create a regional hegemon with super power, in this case military, and assuming that this is the intent behind holding this exhibition in Brazil. However, it is likely that following the event, Brazil will become the most powerful defense player in the LatAm region and will represent other LatAm countrie in the field of defense. After hosting such event, Brazil will be put in advantageous position with a multitude of most powerful international players. Even though the “realist” view would dispute this position, attempting to stay away from the creation of powerful blocs that can create a hegemon within the region, from the previous events and actions on behalf of Brazil (election, not accepting Paruguay, discussing trade agreements with the EU to name a few) the intent of reasserting its power on behalf of Braziland infront of other UNASUR members is obvious, and this military-defense exhibition is another proof.