I spent an afternoon in Lisbon last year with Mário Soares, the longtime leader of Portugal and one of the great proponents of international socialism. In the offices of his foundation, he spends much of his time thinking about the shape of the world, certainly of Europe, which he often views with some despair. Still, he has a vision he holds strong. He would love to a see a union of Portuguese speaking people. When I pointed out that this would comprise at best two substantial nations (Brazil and Portugal), plus a small handful of minor former colonies and territories, he was hardly deterred.

But there are additional impediments. Brazil and Portugal do not speak the same Portuguese. In a pinch, they can make each other understood and can read some newspapers. But when a Brazilian television program is broadcast in Portugal, the editors must dub the characters in Portuguese....

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