Opinion by Michael Royster
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After reading Ernesto Araújo’s public address upon his installation as Brazil’s Foreign Minister the Curmudgeon is worried that the Bolsonaro administration is mired in the past.
What prompted this concern was an article in The New Yorker, where the author Nicholas Lemann explained how the TV series “Vice” misunderstood the nature of Dick Cheney’s conservatism:
Cheney’s conservatism, at heart, … might be called threatism. Powerful, determined, immensely destructive forces—the Soviet Union, radical Islam, the domestic left—want to destroy American freedom and democracy. Complacent politicians, especially liberal ones, are incapable either of understanding this or of summoning the will to combat it. For the small cadre who do understand, it is imperative to use power quietly, expertly, and aggressively.” (emphasis supplied)
The Curmudgeon believes that Bolsonaro and Araújo share a Cheney-esque view of the world. They maintain that climate change is pseudoscience, promoted by Marxists to hinder western nations’ efforts to develop economically. Araújo has defined “globalism” as “economic globalization piloted by cultural Marxism [which is] anti-humanist and anti-Christian” whose ultimate objective is “to make men slaves and God irrelevant”.
Consider the parallels between Araújo’s “globalism” and Cheney’s “threatism”. Araújo’s list of “powerful, determined, immensely destructive forces” replaces the Soviet Union with China, but leaves in radical Islam and the domestic left, while adding climate science.
If left uncontested, these threatening forces will, Araújo holds, ineluctably lead to the paramount threat: the “socialists” will complete their takeover of Brazil, eliminating freedom and democracy, aided by “complacent politicians, especially liberal ones, incapable of understanding this….”
Happily for Araújo’s worldview, Bolsonaro has assembled a “small cadre” of those who do understand — at least a third of his cabinet members partake of this Tupiniquim version of “threatism”; most of them still support the 1964 military takeover of Brazil’s civilian government.
The threats used by the military fifty years ago were Fidel Castro’s subversion of Brazil’s Northeast, Paulo Freire’s educational theories brainwashing Brazilian children, and Catholic “base communities” implanting the “inverted values” of “socialist” doctrine.
Nothing much has changed in fifty years.
Bolsonaro has chosen to replace Fidel Castro with Venezuela’s Maduro as his favorite socialist bête noire. He recently promised to eradicate Paulo Freire’s educational philosophy from Brazilian schools. He proposes measures to ensure that “inverted values” are not enshrined in Brazilian legislation.
Jair Bolsonaro attended AMAN, Brazil’s West Point, graduating in 1977. Most of his professors there were ideologues of the Cheney variety, installed by the military overlords after the 1964 coup d’état. Given that pedigree, it is hardly surprising that “the Captain” recognized Araújo as a fellow member of the “small cadre” and made him one of his first appointees.
The Curmudgeon does not believe in basing foreign and domestic policy upon antiquated “threats”. Fidel Castro was never a threat to Brazil; neither is Maduro. Paulo Freire’s educational theories are better known outside Brazil than domestically. The so-called “inverted” values include respect for homosexuals, women, descendants of slave communities and indigenous people.
To repeat. The Curmudgeon is worried about the direction the Bolsonaro government is taking, because it seems to be heading back into an unsavory past rather than into the future.