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By JOSÉ LUÍS FIORI*

International politics can also be read as a complex network of “conspiracies” that end up turning into coups d'état.

“The “great powers” ​​collectively protect themselves, preventing the emergence of new states and leading economies, through the monopolization of weapons, currency and finance, information and technological innovation. For this reason, an “emerging power” is always a factor of destabilization and change in the world system, because its rise threatens the monopoly of established powers” ​​(José Luís Fiori. History, Strategy and Development. For a Geopolitics of Capitalism. Boitempo, p. 35).

This article proposes an indispensable and urgent strategic discussion. Its main body was written and published in May 2014, with its eyes set on the October presidential elections of that year. After that, however, Dilma Rousseff was re-elected, but the Brazilian conservative elite chickened out and carried out a coup d'état that had already been prepared for some years, with the support of the US government. This coup opened doors for the rise of the extreme right in the country, and for the formation of a government, two years later, which promoted an immediate alignment with the United States, together with the application of an ultraliberal economic shock that dismantled the economy and the Brazilian society.

All this happened almost at the same time that the United States and its European allies supported and promoted another coup d'état, this time in Ukraine, starting an international crisis that brought war back to the heart of the Old Continent. In Brazil, the new president saluted the American flag several times, and the government's ultraliberal economic policy demoted the country from its status as the seventh to the twelfth world economic power.

In the same way, also in Ukraine, the coup d'état ended up installing an extreme right-wing coalition in the government that proposed to accelerate the country's inclusion in the European Union and NATO, provoking the Russian reaction that culminated in the military invasion of its territory. territory and started a war between Russia itself and the USA/NATO that continues until today.

In 2023, Brazil democratically resumed the path of international pragmatism and national economic sovereignty. And the two ends of this story met when the new Brazilian government decided to take an active position in an attempt to appease Ukraine and negotiate the interests of the parties involved in the conflict. However, it now faces a problem, as the peace negotiation, in this case, will only go ahead if all parties involved participate in the process and agree to negotiate peace, including, of course, the United States and its NATO satellites. All this at the same time that the international geopolitical and economic system is going through a profound, radical, almost telluric transformation process.

There was the pandemic; the world economy faces a new inflationary and financial crisis; the world economic system itself entered an accelerated process of “deglobalization”; and the protectionist and nationalist economic policies, typical of war periods, returned to occupy a central place in the world of the great powers. Even so, the diagnosis made eight years ago, about the international position occupied by Brazil, together with its challenges, remains exactly the same, with the difference that external threats are now much greater, either because of the pressure of the war that is full course, either by the increased power of economic sanctions practiced by the States and by the private financial agents involved in the international payments system, SWIFT, headquartered in Brussels but supervised by the Central Bank and by the US Departments of State and Justice.

For this reason, it is interesting to resume the path of analysis and discussion of Brazil's strategic alternatives, as it was before the right-wing "declining" of the country's political and ideological panorama, and the dismantling of the state promoted by the ultraliberal fanaticism of the Brazilian financial elite. . The world has changed, Euro-American supremacy is being questioned, and it is more likely that we will have a new geopolitical world order in the next decade. The weight of the internal destruction promoted by the extreme right and the size of the challenges and external threats brought by the polarization caused by the war are greater than in the past, but the open opportunities are great and it seems to us that the strategy suggested in 2014 is still valid . Otherwise, let's see.

In the 2014th century, Brazil took a huge step forward and underwent a profound and irreversible transformation from an economic, sociological and political point of view. At the beginning of the century, it was an agrarian country, with a weak and fragmented State, and with an economic and military power much inferior to that of Argentina. Today, in the second decade of the XNUMXst century, Brazil is the most industrialized country in Latin America and the seventh largest economy in the world (it was, in XNUMX, but no longer is, it dropped to twelfth after the coup and the ultraliberal shock); it has a centralized State, a highly urbanized – albeit unequal – society and is the main international player on the South American continent. Furthermore, it is one of the countries in the world with the greatest growth potential ahead, if we take into account its territory, its population and endowment of strategic resources, above all if it is able to combine its export potential of commodities with the sustained expansion of its own industrial and technological park.

All of these are unquestionable facts and achievements, but which placed Brazil in front of a new set of international challenges, and today, in particular, the country is facing an extremely complex dilemma. The very dimensions that Brazil has acquired and the decisions it has taken in the recent past (with the exception of the ultraliberal period) have placed it at the core of power in the “world kaleidoscope”: a small number of States and national economies that exercise – to a greater or lesser extent – a gravitational effect on the entire system, and which are capable, simultaneously, of producing a “growth trail” in their own regions.

Whether they like it or not, these countries create “zones of influence” around themselves, where they have a greater political responsibility than their neighbors, while they are called upon to take a position on events and situations far from their regions, which did not happen before of his rise. At the same time, countries that join this small “club” of the richest and most powerful countries have to be prepared, because they automatically enter a new level of competition, increasingly fierce, between the very members of this “nucleus” who fight each other to impose, throughout the system, its objectives and national strategies of expansion and growth.

At this moment, Brazil can no longer retreat without paying a very high price. But (as it ended up retreating between 2016 and 2022) now, in order to move forward, you must have an extra dose of courage, persistence and inventiveness. It will also have to have clear objectives and close coordination between the agencies responsible for the country's foreign policy, involving its diplomacy and defense policy, articulated with its economic policy and the policy of global dissemination of its culture and values. And what is more important, Brazil will have to sustain a consistent and permanent “strategic will”, that is, a social and state capacity to build consensus around long-term international objectives, together with the capacity to plan and implement actions in the short and medium term, mobilizing the relevant social, political and economic actors, facing each particular situation and challenge.

More difficult than all this, however, Brazil will have to discover a new way of asserting its leadership and international power, inside and outside its immediate influence zone. A path that does not follow the same route as the great powers of the past, and that does not use the same arrogance and violence that Europeans and North Americans used to conquer, submit and “civilize” their colonies and protectorates.

Secondly, like every country that rises within the international system, Brazil will have to question, in an increasingly incisive way, the established institutional order and the great geopolitical agreements on which it is based. But it will have to do it without the use of weapons, and through its ability to build alliances with anyone, as long as the country maintains its objectives, values ​​and sovereignty, always aiming to expand and conquer new positions in the political and economic hierarchy. International. This objective no longer obeys any type of nationalist ideology, much less any type of military textbook; it obeys a “functional” imperative of the “capitalist interstate system” itself: in this system, “those who do not rise, fall”.[1] But, at the same time, “those who go up” have to be prepared, because they will inevitably be attacked and disqualified in an increasingly intense and coordinated way, inside and outside their borders, if they do not submit to the strategic will of the former power holders. global.

And this is exactly what happened after the 2016 coup, which led to the dismantling of the State, the backwardness of the economy and the moral destruction of Brazilian society. And it could happen again at any time in the next decade, if the Brazilian government is not permanently attentive and makes the same mistakes as in the past, understanding that, although political scientists do not like or dislike it, international politics can also be read as a complex network of “conspiracies” that end up turning into coups d'état, as happened in Brazil in 1964 and in 2016, and as also happened in Ukraine, in 2014. In this sense, it is better to learn from history so that history does not become repeat, because in this case it will be with increasing aggressiveness and destructiveness.

* Jose Luis Fiori Professor Emeritus at UFRJ. Author, among other books, of The Myth of Babel and the Struggle for Global Power (Vozes).

Note

[1] Elias, Norbert. The Civilizing Process. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar Editor, v. 2, p. 134.


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