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What the West still does not understand

by Ace Damon
Brazilian detained in Ecuadorian city tells how the protests are being

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The week began as a peculiar image. World leaders behaving like high schoolers on a "wheel" to make fun of a colleague who, let's say, is not the most popular in the class. French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, of Canada, Justin Trudeau, and of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte. They had a good laugh at the expense of US President Donald Trump.

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The four of them mocked the American hours after Macron said at a meeting celebrating NATO's 70th anniversary that the organization was brain dead. In short, that is to say that the United States had lost its natural leadership since its founding.

The joker, however, was Trudeau. The Canadian mocked Trump's "long" collective. The conversation leaked through the BBC broadcast system and provoked the wrath of the American. Trump no longer spoke to journalists and sent a message to the Canadian: "He has two faces."

Trump's bullying has a reason. He is unwilling to continue to pay the largest chunk of NATO spending without European partners paying at least the minimum provided by the military alliance statutes: 2 percent of GDP.

Trudeau Canada, for example, disburses the equivalent of 1.3 percent of GDP. The French Macron – like champagne, is very good foam. France occupies the third position in the ranking of the largest contributors, with a transfer of only 1.78% of GDP, and is one of the largest beneficiaries of the alliance. In NATO's defense, his behavior is similar to his environmentalist spirit. He presents himself as a savior of the Amazon and complains about those who do not meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the Paris Agreement, but are far from fulfilling their homework. It is behind Brazil in meeting the goals.

As the Allies headbang and take offense in the public square, NATO slows in the face of an evident military and geopolitical escalation from the East. The invasion of the Crimea region in Ukraine was the most conspicuous of Moscow's gestures in the region. Not to mention the threat of Islamic extremism that has become part of the daily reality of Europeans.

On another front, President Donald Trump has given ammunition to those who believe that the promised and expected alliances between the United States and Brazil are a one-way street in which only Brazil has given in and received nothing in return. On Twitter, he announced an increase in steel import tariffs from Brazil. As if that weren't enough, he accused his main ally in the region of manipulating the exchange rate to take advantage of the strong dollar. In the name of defending your farmers. Was it the fulfillment of his famous America first?

These are immediate and especially electoral effects, the creeping in Brazil makes perfect sense. But the United States is repeating the mistake that led to the substantial loss of relevance in the hemisphere and the opening of a paved avenue for China to advance in the region. There are those who think that your speech is only electoral and that when you count the surcharges you will find that they will do more harm to American industry than Brazilian industry. Brazil would be being used as a ladder for its electoral stage.

Hugo Chávez, when he set his feet on the Miraflores Palace in Caracas, designed a strategy of expansion and influence that led most countries in the region to orbit around his Bolivarian revolution project. Even Brazil shrank in relevance by submitting to the plans of the Venezuelan lieutenant colonel. Through cheap financing, oil donations and political support, Chávez has long managed to own the Organization of American States (OAS), founded the late Unasur, elected and helped to perpetuate several friendly presidents.

The United States, in turn, scorched by fame as an intervener, gave up the region. In the last few years before Trump's arrival in the White House, Americans neglected the emergence of Chavismo, were expelled from Bolivia, and lost their leadership and influence in the fight against trafficking in Colombia. Perhaps stunned by the Bolivarian knockout, they lost their way and turned their backs on those who should reach out and strengthen relationships. Latin America has practically disappeared from the State Department agenda.

Mauricio Macri received from Cristina Kirchner a shredded Argentina. Although censored as the one that would start an antibolivarian turn in the region, Macri got no help. Argentina received no special treatment and the country never took off. The economic fiasco account did not fall on who created it, but on who was unable to reverse it. And as bizarre as it may sound, the Argentines punished Macri by bringing Cristina Kirchner back to power. It's like calling the arsonist to put out the fire. It is the same as the PT wants to do in Brazil and what Evo Morales hopes to be for Bolivia, a country that is one step closer to the outbreak of a deep economic crisis.

It is by no means desirable for the United States to behave as
Chavez in the past. But the lack of engagement of the largest
power of the planet in helping its allies and thereby strengthening its
own network of influence. On the contrary. There has been a systematic abandonment
and unjustified from friends. Trump got rid of some body names
relations with Latin America, which in many cases clouded the perception of
of regional problems.

In terms of bilateral relations, there is no risk of an approximation project that since the moment of the Bolsonaro administration, still in transition, has been designed to be the axis of a foreign policy designed with economic ambitions, but derived from a identification of western values.

But in the international political aspect. Although the edge of the
President Trump take focus on his domestic politics. The effect is felt in
Latin America.

At the Chinese Embassy in Brasilia there was a climate of permanent tension over Brazil's alignment with the United States. That is why the Chinese government decided to invest in the conquest of PSL parliamentarians in an attempt to create a channel with pockets. In addition, it began to pour rivers of money to trigger proficient lobbyists in the intricacies of Brazilian politics. But less than a year later, the Chinese are celebrating. Do not hide from interlocutors in Brasilia that in arm wrestling will take the best. They see a road paved with American asphalt to achieve their goals in the region.

Last October, the foreign minister presented in Washington
a conference in which he made a remark that escaped the news.
Ernesto Araújo drew attention to the fact that the West never understood the
reasons that led to the victory of the Cold War. We almost always reduce defeat
from communism to economic issues. But Araújo draws attention to a fact that neglected
a systematic attack became vulnerable. The western values. Main
of them freedom.

While NATO high schoolers find themselves cleverly creeping into each other, or American diplomacy does not focus on what really matters around them, the new actors marching about the region know very well how to occupy these spaces and, above all, to heal wounds caused by internal crises. Faced with the global geopolitical board, only one side knows exactly what the game is. And it is not about the West.

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