Brazil and the US signed a defence deal yesterday.

The deal, which this Christian Science Monitor story says is the first between the two nations since 1977, opens the door to more interchange on research and development, logistics support, education and training, as well as making it easier to buy and sell defense products and services.

Although the ramifications of the deal are not yet clear, it behooves Brazil to form closer defence ties with the US.

In doing so, Brazil creates a link with the US that counterbalances some of the wackier things it has been doing in foreign policy field, such as cozying up to Iran and needlessly getting involved in Honduras.

And not only is the US the world’s biggest producer of weapons and armoury, it is also a valuable ally. As Fernando Arbache, a lecturer in anti-terrorism at Brazil’s Naval Headquarters told me in an interview: “With this accord Brazil is aligning itself strategically with the US, like the European nations have done with NATO.”

It’s a sensible bit of pragmatism on Lula’s part.