From the barracks window

Image: Magali Guimarães
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By MANUEL DOMINGOS NETO*

Why doesn't the military like Lula?

The military doesn't like Lula and calls him a thief. In his speculations about the Brazilian crisis, he highlights the lack of moral standards consistent with the presidency of the Republic. The soldier sees the world from the window of the barracks: society would be too anarchic, undisciplined, devoid of moral training and incapable of choosing good leadership.

By “military”, I am designating the preponderant type in the Brazilian Armed Forces. In corporations, there are differences among its members, but the unity of values ​​and convictions, essential to the adoption of doctrines that guide the organization and employment of the ranks, predominates.

The military doesn't like Lula because this leader, even though he is not a radical reformist, calls for social changes. He instills, in some way, hope in a new time, while the military cultivates the colonial legacy.

The military values ​​stability. Social changes steal its azimuth. Pretending to be the creator of the nation, he forced the constituent to assign him the role of maintainer of law and order. He admits, at most, a temporizing modernization, which preserves the oligarchic dominance characteristic of Brazilian society.

Lula does not clash with the powerful, but condemns inequities and promises to “include the poor in the budget”. Despite his taste for class conciliation, his political career did not fail to challenge the social hierarchy on which the military organization was based. His way of being and speaking is uncomfortable because it encourages socially degraded people.

Attached to stability and without valid arguments to oppose social change, the military sees Lula as a demagogue, a smart guy looking for his own advantage. A politician harmful to good order. Lula is dangerous: as head of state, he apologizes to Africans for slavery. He preaches tolerance and undermines the homophobic culture of the barracks.

When the military condemns Lula morally, he avoids the hassle of refuting his anti-slavery speech and repudiation of patriarchalism.

The soldier doesn't like Lula because of his dangerous friendships: he embraces João Pedro Stédile, perceived in the barracks as the incarnation of the internal enemy, a denier of law and order.

Lula always met the demands of the barracks. In prison, in Curitiba, he said he did not understand the soldier's animosity towards him, since he had not contradicted him. Returning to the presidency, he persists in satisfying the barracks. He guarantees resources for a gigantic school of sergeants designed to reinforce internal order in the Northeast, a region supposedly prone to insurrection.

It supports projects that reinforce Brazilians' ability to fight at the expense of naval air capacity, more suited to war against foreigners. It even uses the expression “Army of Caxias”, which means Army that represses popular insubordination. Rejects discussion on National Defense so as not to violate canons that have always been established.

The main reason for the military to oppose Lula is insecurity regarding the future of corporations. The Brazilian military is part of the forces scheme led by Washington. He reasons as a defender of “Western civilization”. It structurally depends on the Pentagon and absorbs imperial ideological preaching.

In these times when a new international order is being redefined, the contradiction between the desire for national sovereignty and the bonds of dependence of armed corporations on Washington will be increasingly exposed. The warlike environment that takes over the planet does not allow neutrality. The military does not like Lula's approach to nations that he considers to be dominated by “communist dictatorships”.

The military's discontent with Lula will worsen, despite his commitment to freeing corporations from responsibility for attempting to break the institutional order.

In modern democracies, the military would not have to like or dislike the politician, but obey him. Real life, however, shows that the military's political predilections matter decisively.

The military officer considers political polarization to be the main Brazilian problem, but he liked the extreme right's demonstration of strength on Avenida São Paulo last weekend. The military's docility towards Lula is a pipe dream that will take its toll.

* Manuel Domingos Neto He is a retired UFC professor and former president of the Brazilian Association of Defense Studies (ABED). Author, among other books What to do with the military – Notes for a new National Defense (Reading Cabinet). [https://amzn.to/3URM7ai]


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