on the wrong side

Image: Telma Lessa da Fonseca


Brazil has been converted into a despicable servile figure to the United States

Ancient human civilizations were, for the most part, built on multiethnic societies in which one of them exercised domination over the others. This type of political organization we know as empires, in which the conquering people subjugated others by force and exploited them economically, generally in the form of paying tribute or forced labor and, in its most brutal variant, slavery.

Empires existed on almost every continent and we know them from the literary account of travelers like Marco Polo, who recounted his wanderings through the Great Khan's domains in Asia, and from the study of history. Right here, in America, the Spaniards and Portuguese, who were also trying to build their empires, destroyed the Inca Empire and that of the Aztecs.

In Europe, after the fall of the Roman Empire and the frustrated attempt to replace it with the Holy Roman Empire, this type of multinational system disappeared, although many of its countries maintained their empires outside the continent, in America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. The nations of the old world fought each other for centuries in wars in search of affirmation and power until the invention of capitalism made them participants of a new type of international order, that of a not very peaceful coexistence, but regulated, between states that recognized the each other's sovereignty. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 inaugurated this type of international relationship that evolved until it took on the form of the modern system of hegemony at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. and wealth will spread across the globe, incorporating what was left of the old empires, peoples and nations, one after the other submitted to its logic of infinite accumulation of economic value.

In 1945, as in 1648 and 1815, at the end of a period of devastating wars, the capitalist world system reorganizes itself, this time under US hegemony. Its validity was based on obedience to the norms of international law and the institutions of the United Nations and on the capacity for political, military, economic and ideological leadership of the United States. This system, however, had an anomaly. During the two world wars in which British hegemony was in dispute, in two peripheral corners of the world the desire for freedom and nationalism that animated the spirit of the combatants gave way to a new model of emancipatory revolution, victorious in Russia in 1917 and in China in 1949. Even without having broken with the international order, a vast region of the planet was organized around the leadership of the then Soviet Union and constituted its own economic and political arrangement, largely outside the capitalist valorization circuits and in opposition to the American hegemony. The competition between these two models was called the Cold War.

In 1991 the USSR dissolved, ending the Cold War. At that moment the US, without a competitor and after a devastating demonstration of military power in the First Gulf War, reaffirmed its hegemony now over virtually the entire globe. However, instead of continuing to direct the interstate system with its institutions, the American state gave in to the temptation to transform itself into an empire and began to overflow unilateral manifestations of power that violated the very norms of the international order that had been defined by it. Disregard of norms and decisions of UN agencies, economic and political sanctions, blockades, military interventions, lawfare, interference in internal affairs and support for coups d'état and regime changes were unilaterally implemented by the United States whenever its exclusivist interest was thwarted. This chauvinist movement began under the slogan of the war on terrorism, declared the main enemy of American power, a convenient enemy because it could take the form of any and all entities and implicate any state by unilateral decision of the American government itself. More recently, with the failure of the attempt to subdue the Muslim world, its international strategy changes to focus on blocking the rise of rival powers, Russia and China.

These two countries were going through important transformations, Russia rose from the Soviet ruins and returned to occupy a place at the center of the world as a military and energy power. China, on the other hand, entered the privileged space of the core of the international order through economic and social development at vertiginous speed, quickly climbing the ladder towards the place of the largest economy on the planet. Both Russians and Chinese made their journey in strict observance of the norms and institutions of the world system. The legalistic stance of both countries was recently reaffirmed in a joint declaration urging the entire community of nations to abide by the norms and strengthen international law. The document was released on a date full of symbolism for the US, 11/XNUMX.

And what about Brazil, how does it stand in the midst of this reorganization of the world order? The country had been dealing with this new international situation until recently quite skillfully. It seemed clear that a window of opportunity had opened for the transition towards a multipolar global order, in which the country could climb positions in the hierarchy of nations based on its regional leadership asserted in the Latin American integration processes (Mercosur, UNASUR and CELAC) and participation in new concertation forums such as the BRICS and the G20. To this end, a more equidistant position in the face of the China, Russia and USA dispute would be a tactical necessity, as well as the absence of conflicts and good relations with all nations in the strategic surroundings, South America and the South Atlantic, would provide the rear support for a projection of the national interest based on our virtues of pacifism, tolerance, cultural and ethnic diversity and fidelity to international law.

The disaster represented by the Bolsonaro misgovernment, which is a denial of all the values ​​of our diplomatic tradition, starting with the enmity with neighbors, the disrespect for human rights, the degradation of the environment and the promotion of a crude, prejudiced and nazifascist destroyed the good image of the country in the world. If that were not enough to demoralize Brazil, shameless subservience to the US still took place, in the alignment of foreign policy and in the subordination of the armed forces to the command of the Pentagon.

The supporters of that government, businessmen, the military, far-right political groups, plus Centrão, plus the media, are committed to the destruction of an entire effort that dates back to the 1960s for autonomy in foreign policy, in national defense, in the choice of model of socioeconomic development. From a respected leader among emerging countries and in the global South, a reference in decisive issues such as global warming, fair trade, self-determination of peoples and reciprocal friendship with all of Latin America, Africa, the Arab world and most of Asia, our country has been converted into a despicable servile figure to the United States.

*Luiz Augusto Estrella Faria Professor of Economics and International Relations at the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS).


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