President Donald J. Trump called his relationship with France’s President Emmanuel Macron a “special relationship” recently at the G-7 summit in France, yet the traditional “special relationship has always been understood as between the U.S. and the U.K. developed during WWII.
There seems to be a new opportunity for a special relationship between the U.S. and South America’s emerging beacon of free markets and liberty – Brazil.
The election of Jair Bolsonaro in October 2018 to be President of South America’s biggest and most populous nation was a big victory for better trade and military ties with the United States. Bolsonaro has reoriented the government away from trade policies that favored China, Brazil’s primary trading partner, to the United States. I wrote in Townhall last October that the election of Bolsonaro would move the nation away from the corrupt leadership of the far-left Workers’ Party and the economic destruction imposed by “Luiz Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva (who) was president from 2003 to 2011 and ended up in jail for bribing politicians on behalf a big state-owned oil company in Brazil.” Now that pro-free market leadership has taken control of the most influential nation in South America, others may follow if the U.S. can develop a special relationship that will lead to unprecedented economic growth for Brazil.
While President Trump is digging in on the U.S.-China trade war, he has opened up avenues for free trade. President Trump has put economic growth at the top of his agenda. The Trump-led economy has resulted in over 6 million new jobs with one million being created this year alone while unemployment is at historic lows and wages are high. Same can be said of the new president of Brazil since his election last fall because the Brazilian economy is turning the corner.
Yet, just as President Trump is battling the strengthened socialist wing of the Democratic Party, a new pro-Western president in Brazil is also battling elements of the socialist Workers’ Party. It was just over 10 years when President Barack Obama celebrated the former President Lula da Silva, who is now serving a 12-year jail term for corruption, as “my man … I love this guy.” The fight continues and the remnants of the old socialist ruling party are doing everything they can to sabotage the newly elected leader of Brazil.
Closer military relations between the U.S. and Brazil have been established and will marginalize Russia and China’s influence in the region. Designating Brazil a non-NATO ally in July brought the U.S. military ties closer to Brazil and was a direct challenge to Russia’s attempts to grow power in South America. Both China and Russia have been active in propping up the failed Maduro government in Venezuela, so it is a strong counterweight to have a strong ally in Brazil to box them in. In addition, recently Brazil’s Defense Minister was received at the Pentagon and a new agreement on military-to-military partnerships is being worked out. Furthermore, Brazil has barred the entry of senior Venezuelan officials to protect that nation from a further infection of failed socialist thought seeping back into Brazil.
The alliance of free nations against socialism and state-controlled economies will give hope to other South and Central American nations that they can count on better military and trade relations with the U.S. if they stay away from the radical socialism that has poisoned the economies of Cuba and Venezuela.
On the economic side, there are numerous signs that Brazil and the U.S. desperately want closer trade relations. President Trump has stated that he wants to work on a free trade deal with Brazil that will open up new markets for U.S. products. Brazil is sending the President’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, to be Ambassador to the U.S. in an effort to show that the U.S. how important that relationship is to Brazil. The Wall Street Journal reported on July 31, 2019, “Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said Wednesday the country is in official negotiations with the U.S. over a trade deal, as the two biggest economies in the Americas look to strengthen ties.” This followed a meeting between Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and President Bolsonaro. All signs point to a new free trade relationship that will benefit the consumers and workers of both Brazil and the U.S.
Yet there are some on the left who can’t help but snipe at President Bolsonaro and attempt to blame him for the recent fires raging in the Amazon. Much like the left in the U.S. wants to link President Trump’s pull out of the Paris Climate Accord to every western forest fire or seasonal hurricane, the same is happening to Bolsonaro in Brazil. The fact of the matter is that Brazil fighting the fires, yet the left’s hatred of that nation’s move away from socialism is deep enough for them to use any reason to attack his leadership.
A South American special relationship between the U.S. and Brazil has been established. It will be great to see this example of close ties lead to more freedom in Central and South America while those nations pivot away from socialism and corruption.