towards collapse


By Jose Luis Fiori e William Nozaki*

Today, the only question left is whether the disaster ahead will take the form of prolonged stagnation, accompanied by the destruction of industry and its labor market, or the pure and simple form of a collapse, with the progressive disintegration of the infrastructure. , public services and the social fabric itself

Simply connect two points to draw a line. In the case of the Brazilian economy, there are many points in the same direction, despite the fact that the authorities insist on ignoring them, deluding themselves with the idea of ​​a “return” that never existed and was never on the horizon. All this long before and regardless of the coronavirus epidemic, the oil price war and the global recession that is expected to occur, a sum that will make the situation much worse.

Today, the only question left is whether the disaster ahead will take the form of prolonged stagnation, accompanied by the destruction of industry and its labor market, or the pure and simple form of a collapse, with the progressive disintegration of the infrastructure. , public services and the social fabric itself.

All this is reflected in the meager growth of the Brazilian GDP in the last three years, but much more so in the continued decline in the economy's investment rate, which was 20,9% in 2013, and which today is 15,4%, the despite the coup d'état, the labor reform, the pension reform and the privatizations. Contrary to what was promised, the economy not only did not grow, but “capital flight” increases every day, which in the last three months is already greater than in all of 2019.

The hope deposited in international investors also dimmed with the news that, in 2019, Brazil simply disappeared from the Global Confidence Index for Foreign Investment, by the American consultancy Kearney, which indicates the 25 most attractive countries for international investors. The same index in which Brazil occupied the 3rda position in 2012 and 2013, having fallen to 25th in 2018, and from which it was simply eliminated at the time of the great ultraliberal reforms of Paulo Guedes, which were supposedly going to attract the big international investors.

This picture will only get worse with the new world economic crisis that is announced, with the advance of the coronavirus pandemic and with the beginning of a new price war in the oil industry. Private financial agencies and international organizations are already predicting a reduction in global investment of around 15%, and a drop in world GDP of around 1,9%, with the possibility of a global recession in the first half of 2020, which may extend into the second half, both in Europe and in the United States. Right now, what prevails is panic and uncertainty, but the worst may yet be yet to come.

All of this coincides with the US presidential election period, in which Donald Trump is seeking re-election. Since now, right at the beginning of the crisis that is announced, the American president seems to be losing support, according to a survey published by the newspaper Financial Times. And it is exactly here that President Trump's great “temptation” may be brewing and which could turn into a catastrophe for Latin America in the coming months. After all, it is at these times, especially in the case of an American president seeking his own re-election, that it is common to bet on some explosive “high content” initiative, as is the case of wars or military actions that make one forget the unfavorable agenda and that are able to mobilize the common sense of national identity and patriotism of Americans.

The problem is that the “menu of alternatives” available to President Donald Trump is quite limited, and it seems that there is only one option capable of unifying the establishment American, even co-opting the main leaders of the Democratic Party, that is, the siege, the naval blockade or the direct attack on Venezuela, in time to circumvent the epidemic, the recession and the crisis of its oil industry. This is what Donald Trump announced in his State of the Union address to the US Congress, even without going into detail. It should be noted that this was the only moment when he received a standing ovation, and jointly, by all congressmen, republicans and democrats.

It is precisely here, in the preparation of this American military operation, that President Trump's dinner at his beach house, with his Brazilian vassal, whom he visibly despises, but who has been giving him everything he has is requested – including the new RDT&E military agreement, which should serve as an “umbrella” for all joint military actions in the near future, including tensions with Venezuela. This is an Agreement that began to be negotiated shortly after the 2016 Coup d'Etat, by the US Department of Defense together with the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, and which has just been signed by Brazilian representatives, in an emblematic way, directly with Commander Craig Faller, head of US Armed Forces Southern Command for Latin America and the Caribbean.

On the occasion of the signing, Admiral Craig stated: “We signed a historic agreement today, which will pave the way for even greater sharing of experience and information. We work very closely with the allied nations”, he also made explicit references to Venezuela and Bolivia (see newspaper Economic value of March 08, 2020).

It is interesting to draw attention to the role of General Braga Neto, who participated in the negotiations for this Agreement and who later became Commander of the General Staff of the Brazilian Army, before recently assuming the Civil Household of the Presidency of the Republic, joining General Luiz Eduardo Ramos, who was the Head of the Southeast Military Command and now occupies the Government Secretariat, as visible heads of a “paramilitary” government that already has 2.897 members of the FFAA, allocated in numerous federal public administration bodies, much more than that throughout the military dictatorship of 1964 (according to the Portal 360).

In addition, from an economic point of view, it deserves attention in this recent period the way in which Defense policy and spending have grown, contrary to the ultraliberal economic policy of the Ministry of Economy. Suffice it to say that it was exactly in the recent period of 2019-2020 that the Brazilian Ministry of Defense had its highest historical budget, R$ 115 billion on average. And just the Empresa Gerencial de Projetos Navais (Emgepron), linked to Defense and the Navy, was capitalized at R$ 7,6 billion, undergoing a project to review its performance and scope that allows it to coordinate and execute strategic projects not only the Navy, but also the Army and Air Force.

Along these lines, it should be noted that the RDT&E agreement itself seems to have been just one more step away from a strategy that has already gone through other previous agreements with the North American FFAA, such as the Master Information Exchange Agreement (exchange of military technological information), the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (logistical support and military services) and the Space Situational Awareness (of use of outer space and air for “peaceful purposes”).

Several military movements that seem to converge and coincide with the document recently released by the FFAA, in which they define, based on their own discretion, the scenarios of Brazilian defense policy until 2040, with the choice of France as Brazil's main strategic enemy. A choice that surprised those less informed, but which seems perfectly consistent with the central and immediate objective of the concern of the Brazilian FFAA, which is Venezuela, and now also Guyana, due to its recent discovery of immense oil reserves. off-shore.

In addition, the choice of France as the main enemy facilitates the probable future denouncement of the military cooperation agreement between Brazil and France, around the construction of the first Brazilian nuclear submarine, which will probably be replaced by a new joint project with the United States itself. . It is within this same perspective that the agreement already signed with the US for the release of launching rockets and satellites at the Alcântara Base, for the sale of Embraer to Boeing, for the transformation of Brazil into a preferential extra-NATO ally, the which means, at the limit, the progressive transformation of Brazil into a “military protectorate” of the USA.

Moreover, it is within this same “final offensive” against Venezuela, announced by the United States and supported by Brazil, that one can understand the appointment of General Mourão to the unified command of the Council of the Amazon, from which all civil governors were excluded. of the region, who are thus kept away from all types of information and decisions, even in the event that Brazil is summoned by the North Americans to guarantee the Amazonian siege of the Venezuelan border. A situation that seems increasingly feasible after Brazil withdrew its diplomats and consuls from the border cities of Venezuela, and after the Brazilian government notified several Venezuelan officials and diplomats that they must leave Brazilian territory within 60 days. An unprecedented diplomatic rupture, which usually only occurs in the case of military escalations or preparations for war.

Given the characteristics of American society, it is not impossible that this military offensive – very likely – could “save” the election of Donald Trump, in a context of strong economic recession. The same can be said about the Brazilian “paramilitary” government, which could start to govern by “decree” and over the National Congress, in the event of a “national security emergency” of this type. However, if Brazil wants to obey and follow behind the United States, those responsible for such foolishness must be clear to themselves that they will be entering into a type of international conflict in which Brazil has never participated, directly involving the three largest military powers. of the world system.

It should also be clear that Brazil does not have the armaments or the financial and logistical capacity to face the Venezuelan armed forces, unless it restricts itself to the same symbolic, subaltern and punctual role that it had alongside the States. United in World War II, and in the invasion of Santo Domingo, in 1965. But, if later on – and this is very likely – the Brazilian FFAA receive and learn to use the most sophisticated American weaponry that must be passed on to them by the new RDT&E agreement , and decide to use it against a Latin American neighbor, it would be very important that those gentlemen who intend to take a decision of such gravity, on behalf of the Brazilian people, are very clear about what they are doing and what the consequences of their act of vassalage will be. , for the long term history of Brazil and Latin America.

Because they will be responsible, before history, for having brought war on a large scale to a continent that was always peaceful, and for having contributed with the United States to transform this region of South America into a new Middle East. With the difference that, in this case, Brazil will not be given the place that Israel occupies in American foreign policy. On the contrary, it is more likely that Brazil will become a new Iraq of Saddam Hussein, which was used by the Americans during a decade of war against Iran, and which was later destroyed by the United States itself. In much the same way that the United States used the Taliban in its war against the USSR in the 80s and then bombed them for 20 years before bringing their young people back home, leaving behind a completely shattered Afghanistan.

* Jose Luis Fiori is a full professor at the Graduate Program in International Political Economy (IE-UFRJ); Researcher at the Institute for Strategic Studies on Oil, Gas and Biofuels (INEEP)

*William Nozaki is a professor at the São Paulo School of Sociology and Politics Foundation and technical director of the Institute for Strategic Studies on Oil, Gas and Biofuels (INEEP)

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