Of Presidents, Knaves, and Memes

So the President talked officially to us the other night, about illegal immigration, the wall, and Democratic obstruction of the government’s mission to defend the people of the United States. He is right on all counts. And he hit the nail squarely on the head.

Schumer and Pelosi gave the Democrat’s response, and while it was a self-seeking partisan one, surprising no one, their delivery was incredibly bad. In fact, their appearance became an instant meme, which is never a good thing for your cause. Dov Fischer says this:

[I]n their every press conference and interview rejecting President Trump’s call for a wall along our southern border to help prevent and protect against human trafficking of women and children, the unbridled import of opioids, and the entry of criminals and terrorists into our country, the Democrats maintain that they oppose only the Wall but otherwise strongly support border security. Thus, they state that they prefer drones and hi-tech equipment instead of a wall because, they say, those more modern approaches will do an even better job than will an old-fashioned wall at guarding the border. In other words, they claim to be as concerned as is the President over the chaos transpiring along our porous southern border.

There are two ways to demonstrate they are lying. One way is by sitting and arguing back-and-forth with the other side endlessly, as in a cable news panel discussion. I have come to hate wasting my time watching those. When I have a few moments each day to grab some news on Fox, the only value-added from Marie Harf, Chris Hahn, and Jessica Tarlov is that, while muting them, they offer a few moments for me to check the channel guide or pay a bill or two. But there is a much quicker alternative way to cut through the muck and prove Pelosi, Schumer, and their gang a bunch of liars on border security: […]

So it all is a game. A joke, a lie. When they say they are for border security in every which way — everything, everything except for a wall — there is the truth, the proof. No need for a cable television-news panel debate. This does not take rocket science. If you install a home protection system, but then a crook evades the front-door camera or the home alarm or just defiantly smashes your front window and breaks into your home anyway, do you take the position that you will not shoot the invader or call the police — or first call the police and then shoot the invader — because, well, they got past the alarm, so…SANCTUARY! If you employ an insect exterminator — and, no, we are not comparing illegal immigrants other than MS-13 and opioid smugglers and human traffickers to insects — and if that exterminator does a great job, but you later see an ant or spider or silverfish that got past him, would you not squish it? Or do you look at that centipede and proclaim liberty throughout the land: SANCTUARY!

He’s right, the Democrats don’t give a damn about you, your personal security, that of your family, or anything else. The only thing they care about is their power. That is the ONLY thing that matters to them. That is why their response looked like a drug-induced meme.

“O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!”.

And, no doubt, the constant lying to us, and who knows, perhaps themselves, is how they have turned themselves into a joke, an automatic meme generator, of no real account, in governing the country.

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Selling Out the British

This is quite remarkable, not to mention rather horrifying. What Theresa May’s government is doing in their negotiations is nothing less than selling the UK’s sovereignty to Brussels (and you can easily see Berlin’s hand running the puppet that is the EU.

Britain is, of course, the fourth or fifth largest economy in the world, depending on how you measure, and many believe it is the second most powerful country in the world, second only to the United States, and the only other one able to intervene anywhere around the world.

Amazing, isn’t it? The people voted clearly to leave the EU, and the government has used that as cover to give them a worse deal, a similar influence on how they do things, but without even the (mostly sham) vote. One could call it selling their sovereignty, but one would be wrong – they aren’t getting paid, well probably May and the Civil Service have some golden prospects for their treachery, but we don’t know that yet.

There is, of course, a backstory, of how it got that way. Peter Hitchens lays it out as clearly as I have seen.

Amazing story, isn’t it? I’m pretty much convinced that the overall point is true. I don’t agree with every point, although some of that may be my prejudices speaking, of course. Specifically, I do believe in the special relationship between the US and the UK, although I’m not sure the British really do. Still, overall, he makes an excellent case.

Syria: Should We Stay or Should We Go?

I haven’t picked up on this before because it requires some thinking, so not a bad time for a discussion of it on New Year’s Eve, when we are thinking about the future anyway.

Around 18 months ago, Sean Davis had some thoughts on the matter, which remain relevant.

There’s a pattern here, this is what we did in (and are doing) in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria, arguably even in Vietnam. We started something that for whatever reason we are not willing to finish.

Everybody, even Islamists, respects people who are willing to see the job through, but not those who come in rattle around for a while and hunker down, taking casualties for no purpose whatsoever, except perhaps the self-glory of politicians, military and civilian.

I think the most apt analogy may well be the British in India. It took them about 300 years to turn most of India from a feudal country into a semi-democratic democracy, note that time frame, 300 years, and they were only semi-successful. Afghanistan was part of the Raj, as well. We’ve been in Germany for 70 years, but we started there with a country that was not dissimilar from ours, and I don’t think the job is done there either.

Who succeeded in what is now Afghanistan? Not Alexander the Great, not the British, not the Russians. Who succeeded was Ghengis Kahn, and he did it by killing a large proportion of the population.

I wrote a series on Afghanistan back in 2012, you can find it here, here, and here. Nothing whatever has changed, except we’re doing the same thing in Syria, the applicable quote from the series comes from Mark Steyn:

In the last couple of months, two prominent politicians of different nations visiting their troops on the ground have used the same image to me for Western military bases: crusader forts. Behind the fortifications, a mini-West has been built in a cheerless land: There are Coke machines and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Safely back within the gates, a man can climb out of the full RoboCop and stop pretending he enjoys three cups of tea with the duplicitous warlords, drug barons, and pederasts who pass for Afghanistan’s ruling class. The visiting Western dignitary is cautiously shuttled through outer and inner perimeters, and reminded that even here there are areas he would be ill-advised to venture unaccompanied, and tries to banish memories of his first tour all those years ago when aides still twittered optimistically about the possibility of a photo op at a girls’ schoolroom in Jalalabad or an Internet start-up in Kabul.

The last crusader fort I visited was Kerak Castle in Jordan a few years ago. It was built in the 1140s, and still impresses today. I doubt there will be any remains of our latter-day fortresses a millennium hence. Six weeks after the last NATO soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there. Before the election in 2010, the New York Post carried a picture of women registering to vote in Herat, all in identical top-to-toe bright blue burkas, just as they would have looked on September 10, 2001. We came, we saw, we left no trace. America’s longest war will leave nothing behind.

That’s what I saw then, and its what I see now. I’m not sure who exactly benefits from wasting these brave young Americans (and Britons and Aussies too) but I have my suspicions and suspect you do as well, and they probably match well.

Later that year I wrote another piece on the way General Sheridan pacified the Shenandoah, under General Grant’s orders, remember this was a war by Americans on Americans. We knew how to win once upon a time.

[…] so Grant gave Sheridan some famous orders, amongst other things he told him to take the valley apart so thoroughly that “a crow flying across it will have to carry rations” which Sheridan did, even as Sherman was about to do to Georgia. He also dealt quite sternly with partisans, what we call guerrillas today.

So eventually the war ended and in 1870 Sheridan was in Europe observing the Franco-Prussian war. For some reason he and Otto von Bismarck struck up a friendship and von Bismarck asked Sheridan how to deal with the French guerrillas behind German lines. This was Sheridan’s answer:

 “The people must be left nothing but their eyes to weep with after the war.” He advised that the insurgents be hanged, their villages burned and their lands laid waste until they begged for peace.

We simply are not going to win hearts and minds, either in Afghanistan or Syria, so it comes down to win or lose, and losing includes bleeding casualties for ‘a forever war’ that there is no profit (material or otherwise) in winning.

“In war, there is no substitute for victory.” There wasn’t when MacArthur said it, there wasn’t when his father won the Medal of Honor fighting for the Union, there isn’t now, and there never will be. Sadly, endless war can be profitable for some people, and those people put their profit ahead of America’s best interests.

Houellebecq This

Illustration by Ricardo Martínez

Steven Hayward commented on PowerLine Saturday that about once in a generation Harpers publishes something worth reading. He is about correct.

That article, written by Michel Houellebecq, whom you may remember as the author of Submission a novel about the Muslim takeover of France, a frightening dystopic novel, that too many felt all too real and likely. Do read the full article In Harper’s, linked above.

In this article, he tells us why Trump is a good president, for us and for the world, while making just about everybody crazy. How fun! Yep, he does me as well.

In all sincerity, I like Americans a lot; I’ve met many lovely people in the United States, and I empathize with the shame many Americans (and not only “New York intellectuals”) feel at having such an appalling clown for a leader.

However, I have to ask—and I know what I’m requesting isn’t easy for you—that you consider things for a moment from a non-American point of view. I don’t mean “from a French point of view,” which would be asking too much; let’s say, “from the point of view of the rest of the world.”

On the numerous occasions when I’ve been questioned about Donald Trump’s election, I’ve replied that I don’t give a shit. France isn’t Wyoming or Arkansas. France is an independent country, more or less, and will become totally independent once again when the European Union is dissolved (the sooner, the better).

The United States of America is no longer the world’s leading power. It was for a long time, for almost the entire course of the twentieth century. It isn’t anymore.

It remains a major power, one among several.

This isn’t necessarily bad news for Americans.

It’s very good news for the rest of the world.

My response is a bit of an exaggeration. One has an ongoing obligation to take at least a modicum of interest in American political life. The United States is still the world’s leading military power and unfortunately has yet to break its habit of mounting interventions beyond its borders. I’m not a historian, and I don’t know much about ancient history—for example, I couldn’t say whether Kennedy or Johnson was more to blame for the dismal Vietnam affair—but I have the impression that it’s been a good long time since the United States last won a war, and that for at least fifty years its foreign military interventions, whether acknowledged or clandestine, have been nothing but a succession of disgraces culminating in failures.

See what I mean? The worst part is, he’s got a point, it’s not all that easy to argue with that view of the United States, is it. Here is why we are seeing the death of the Neocons, such as the Weekly Standard, that had the urge to spread ‘democracy’ all over the world, ready or not (mostly not, in fact), leading to trillions of dollars wasted, thousands of American casualties, and millions of civilians dead. What have we accomplished?

Trump is pursuing and amplifying the policy of disengagement initiated by Obama; this is very good news for the rest of the world.

The Americans are getting off our backs.

The Americans are letting us exist.

The Americans have stopped trying to spread democracy to the four corners of the globe. Besides, what democracy? Voting every four years to elect a head of state—is that democracy? In my view, there’s one country in the world (one country, not two) that enjoys partially democratic institutions, and that country isn’t the United States of America; it’s Switzerland. A country otherwise notable for its laudable policy of neutrality.

The Americans are no longer prepared to die for the freedom of the press. Besides, whatfreedom of the press? Ever since I was twelve years old, I’ve watched the range of opinions permissible in the press steadily shrinking (I write this shortly after a new hunting expedition has been launched in France against the notoriously anti-liberal writer Éric Zemmour).

The Americans are relying more and more on drones, which—if they knew how to use these weapons—could have allowed them to reduce the number of civilian casualties (but the fact is that Americans have always been incapable, practically since aviation began, of carrying out a proper bombing).

But what’s most remarkable about the new American policies is certainly the country’s position on trade, and there Trump has been like a healthy breath of fresh air; you’ve really done well to elect a president with origins in what is called “civil society.”

President Trump tears up treaties and trade agreements when he thinks it was wrong to sign them. He’s right about that; leaders must know how to use the cooling-off period and withdraw from bad deals.

You know, I find it difficult to disagree profoundly with him. Oh yes, my viewpoint as an American means my slant is different, but in many ways, he’s not far off my truth either. And yes, that is an indictment of the foreign policy that we have followed since the end of the Soviet Union. He ends the article with this.

Silicon Valley and, to a lesser degree, Hollywood will have to cope with the appearance of formidable competitors; but Silicon Valley, like Hollywood, will hang on to important sectors of the market.

China will scale back its overweening ambitions. This outcome will be the hardest to achieve, but in the end, China will limit its aspirations, and India will do the same. China has never been a global imperialist power, nor has India—unlike the United States, their military aims are local. Their economic aims, it’s true, are global. They have some economic revenge to take, they’re taking it at the moment, which is indeed a matter of some concern; Donald Trump is quite right to not let himself be pushed around. But in the end, their contentiousness will subside, their growth rate will subside.

All this will take place within one human lifetime.

You have to get used to the idea, worthy American people: in the final analysis, maybe Donald Trump will have been a necessary ordeal for you. And you’ll always be welcome as tourists.

And that’s not a bad outcome at all, in my mind.

Treason is an Ugly Brexit

So Theresa May’s Brexit is not Brexit bill is supposed to be voted on tomorrow. There are many reasons it should be defeated, and she should be replaced. Here’s one:

From Melanie Phillips, with links to the source documents:

Three days ago, a letter of great importance about Mrs May’s faux-Brexit deal was sent to MPs. The importance lay not just in what it said but who was saying it.

The authors were the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, and the officer who commanded the British forces in the Falklands War, Major-General Julian Thompson.

Both men are committed to Britain leaving the EU. Both are horrified by the way the Prime Minister is betraying not just the 2016 referendum vote but the interests of the United Kingdom.

Neither man can be said to be extremist, xenophobic or stupid, the characteristics that so many Remainers attribute to those who voted to leave the EU. Both men are instead conspicuous British patriots who have devoted their lives, formidable intelligence and unmatched experience to the defence of their country.

Presumably it was for that reason that last month No 10 Downing Street singled these two men out for reprimand when its rapid-rebuttal unit sought to combat the swingeing criticisms of Mrs May’s deal by a range of eminent signatories. The names of Dearlove and Thompson were on this list, but only they were thus addressed. It was the first time that the Prime Minister’s office had ever administered a public dressing-down to a former head of MI6.

On Friday evening, saying that this riposte revealed “a worryingly poor understanding of the issues”, Dearlove and Thompson published a detailed rebuttal of Number Ten’s claims on the Briefings for Britain website, a letter sent to MPs and a 12-point summary rebuttal.

Their account of how this shocking deal would compromise Britain’s security, with the last paragraph highlighted, should be circulated as widely as possible.  Given its importance, I reproduce the 12-point rebuttal (published on the Reaction blog) in full below. [as do I. Neo] You can access the more detailed version on Briefings for Brexit here.

DEARLOVE AND THOMPSON 12 POINTS

1 The ‘deal’ surrenders British national security by subordinating UK defence forces to Military EU control. No 10 reveals complete failure to understand the legally prescribed general principle of EU association and Military EU documents.

2 The ‘flexible partnership’ is not on offer: only subordination to the inflexible pooled law of the EU. The defence documents show that if the UK participates in EU defence it accepts 3rd country associated status. Officials have been caught acknowledging in private that the Government has known about these strict EU participation criteria since Theresa May authorised joining the Military EU defence frameworks between November 2016 and June 2017. These participation criteria include adherence to the full scope of EU defence policy plus structural engagement as a rule-taker on intelligence, space, financial contributions and the European Defence Agency. Understanding this, Sam Gyimah MP resigned as a Minister, prompted by his engagement with the Galileo satellite programme.

3 The EDA’s Dirk Tielburger confirmed that there would be ‘no flexibility’ in the participation rules for the UK if it took part in the European Defence Fund. The MOD’s head of science and technology Dr Bryan Wells said in early 2017 that the UK would require a proximity to EU rules and structures which ‘resembled that of Norway’ if the UK were to stay involved in EU Defence Fund projects.

4 Norway voted clearly not to join the EU. The Norwegian elite therefore engineered de facto membership as a rule-taker only.  The UK Government has consistently said that the UK aim was for a relationship even more restrictive than Norway’s. On 29 November 2018, Government called for ‘the broadest and most comprehensive security relationship the EU has ever had with another country’. The “Kit Kat Tapes” reveal that the UK Government seeks ‘no gap’ in its application of obligations under the Common Foreign and Security Policy after the UK has let the EU.

5 Paul Johnston, the UK’s representative on the Political and Security Committee, said “We’ve deliberately been more descriptive than prescriptive. What we hear from the other side is sometimes rather – sort of – technical, legalistic: ‘Well you don’t understand about third country relationships’.

6 The idea that the Government will be able to create a ‘flexible framework’ is contradicted by the principles of EU defence autonomy. The clear, binding and published obligation to submit to CSDP alignment has been deliberately obscured. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK can be only a rule-taker in defence and security. Cyprus sought confirmation from the EU Commission that the proposed UK involvement in CSDP did not permit a decision-making role. The EU Commission wrote to Cyprus reassuring that UK involvement would not involve decision-making. The UK would be involved solely as a rule-taker.

7 Most serious of all, while knowing the truth, the Government has, for more than one year, refused to confirm that the UK would be subject to a structural and institutional relationship with the EU on the sharing of intelligence. However, the Government’s paper on security produced by Cabinet Office on 28 November 2018 finally confirms that this structural, institutional relationship would in fact be created. American and Five Eyes allies are quite clear that a structural relationship with the EU in the intelligence area will harm our key alliance, contrary to No 10’s assertion otherwise.

8 No 10 states:”The UK is leaving the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, the European Defence Agency and all other EU defence structures. There will be no subordination. We will retain full sovereign control of our armed forces, and will decide when and where we wish to cooperate”. This is complete and dangerous nonsense. The insistence on UK involvement in the EU’s defence programmes stated throughout the exit agreements, plus four separate Government policy papers before them, mean that the Government is putting the country into a position where EU participation criteria are inescapable. On the European Defence Agency, Government has said it wants a ‘cooperative accord’ placing the UK into ie under EDA programmes and initiatives.

9 In contrast to the alternative offered by the WTO, the Withdrawal Agreement will disadvantage UK defence industries and the UK Government as Europe’s largest purchaser of defence equipment. If we leave on World Trade Rules, WTO will grant the UK entry to the Government Purchasing Agreement exemption for defence equipments which will give both global free trade and greater certainty to the UK defence sector. No 10’s stated position is the opposite of the truth.

10 The EU has developed new frameworks and programmes which have the potential to duplicate and detract from NATO in 20 separate areas from science and technology to logistics, airlift and eventually emergency chain of command. President Macron’s Verdun interview in particular, and Mrs Merkel’s European Parliament speech, make plain that Military EU is intended as a rival to US power and therefore to NATO. Any institutional, structural relationship with the EU on the sharing of intelligence brings the risk of breaking the Five Eyes Alliance and therefore an inevitable threat to British national security. The Technical Note on Exchange and Protection of Classified Information of 25 May starkly displays the danger, revealing that, on its misguided misunderstanding of what it implies, the Government places intelligence exchange at the core of its offer to “build a new, deep and special partnership with the EU…fundamental to cooperation across the future partnership” (Cls 1-2). Given that, unlike Canada or the USA, the UK will be compelled to apply the EU’s CSDP, the EU Global Strategy (the EU’s flagship document that was agreed by the UK at EU Council) will rule. This document calls for a hub-and-spoke intelligence arrangement between the EEAS, EU INTCEN and the intelligence capabilities of the CSDP states.

Although the Government’s 28 November Security paper indicates the potential for non-classified information to be shared on an ad hoc basis, it is silent about the sharing of classified information. It conceals the expectations of the EU institutions with respect to the growing and gathering intelligence environment of the CSDP participant states.  These structural relationships threaten the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance that is the bedrock of western security. The Government has to choose between the anglosphere and wider world and structural subordination to Military EU. It has chosen Military EU which is absolutely the wrong choice. It is therefore an inescapeable fact that the Withdrawal documents pose a real and present threat to UK national security.

11 A minimally competent negotiation over the last two years should have hammered out a free trade agreement but did not do so. Therefore leaving on 29 March 2019 on World Trade Rules is now the only way. The UK Government passed up the opportunity to obtain a free trade deal with the EU by spending months messing around with the concept of a joint rulebook and common customs areas, being ambushed and bogged down by the entirely artificial Irish border issue and ceding the £39bn ransom without conditions.The way this deal and set of promises and future agreements has been composed is actively in conflict with the UK’s interests. In defence, foreign policy and intelligence, the EU finds itself given an unconditional de facto pledge preemptively by Mrs May to continue as a rule-taker only with a level of UK commitment which resembles the current relationship but without membership. The Technical Note of 24 May (Clause 25) states that a defence treaty containing the administrative agreements, intelligence deal and association agreements will be signed as early as possible in the transition as an international treaty under prerogative powers provided the EU believes that deal adequately commits the UK to the EU defence rulebook.

12 The EU will use defence industrial cooperation as a lever to coerce the UK via instruments which have scope to grow beyond recognition. The wider industrial and trade relationship can be used by the EU to force the hand of the UK to submit to incrementally increased levels of policy transfer in all other areas since everything is linked to everything else. There is absolutely no commercial or industrial gain for the UK from being in these structures since the WTO offers superior terms without need for negotiation or ransom.

Just as the EU will be empowered to demand concessions to escape from the ‘transitional period’ customs union once the UK has ceded sovereign power to do so to EU institutions – Macron has already spoken of access to our fishing grounds as his price – so the EU could demand yet deeper access to our defence and security assets as the price of release from the ‘backstop.’ Mrs May has already pre-emptively surrendered leverage from the UK’s defence and security assets as well as from the ransom payment and over independent escape from the transition period. Transferring defence sovereignty and compromising the crown jewels in our Intelligence relationships is a bridge far too far in the Cabinet Office’s stealthy efforts to lock the country into perpetual alignment with the EU.

Less than 50% of our export economy is linked to the EU, with which we run a £95 billion annual trade deficit. Only 10% of UK businesses actually trade with the EU. Most of the British economy has nothing to do with the EU and the people will not sell themselves into a colonial vassalage for the convenience of the 8% of the economy represented by ‘just-in-time’ manufacturers. As we stated the people are even less open to a transactional offer now than in 2016. World Trade Rules are to be welcomed, and there is nothing to fear in this. As we stated in the Message to the Prime Minister: “No risks are greater than Mrs May’s terms of surrender”. It is well established that the UK has no legal obligation to pay anything, especially not for nothing. It is therefore correctly named as a ransom and ransoms should not be paid.”

There is a word for what Theresa May is doing here, and in the old days it would have resulted in a trip to the Tower of London, and then a walk to Tower Hill. It’s an ugly word, not heard much these days. It is called treason.

For whatever reason she proposes to give the entire sovereignty of the United Kingdom to the EU, making it in effect, a colony. And for this, she proposes to pay the EU more than £39 Billion.

I note that this will also put a large hole in US and Commonwealth defense. The five eyes mentioned are the UK, The US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, who in intelligence matters work essentially as one. That understanding does not extend to any other country in Europe. Nor should it, they simply are not secure enough.

In addition, UK and US forces work seamlessly all around the world. Only with Britain would we have committed to placing entire USMC squadrons on their Queen Elizabeth class carriers, and spent years helping the RN train for large deck operations. That too, as near as I can tell, will end with this deal.

If I had a vote, it would be to do exactly as the citizens directed the government to do. To leave the EU on WTO terms. But this deal is so horrific, that even staying in the EU as present now, is better.

I’ll say this, Theresa May has done a remarkable thing. She has managed to unite Remainers and Brexiteers

If the Conservatives have the sense of a drunken donkey (which is questionable) by Friday Boris Johnson will be PM and Jacob Rees-Mogg Chancellor.

Update: I see on Guido that Sky News is reporting that the vote will not be heard tomorrow. Which settles nothing, although it does cement May’s position as Britain’s premier can kicker.

 

A New Old Ally?

This is interesting. From Pablo Kleinman writing in The Federalist.

Brazil, officially known until the late sixties as The United States of Brazil, was a close American ally before the start of the Cold War. In World War II, it contributed 25,000 troops to the Mediterranean theater, playing a very relevant role in the 1944-45 invasion of Italy. Its navy and air force participated in the Battle of the Atlantic from mid-1942 onwards.

At the end of the war in Europe, Brazilian troops had captured more than 20,000 Axis POWs and had almost 1,000 men killed in action. Brazil hosted at Natal the largest U.S. air base outside its own territory, and, at Recife, the U.S. Fourth Fleet. This while Argentina flirted with the Nazis and Mexico remained oblivious and even hostile to U.S. needs. Even though this was Brazil’s first foreign war, their contribution was so significant the United States offered the country the chance to take over an Occupation Zone in Austria.

The military governments that ruled Brazil in the ’60s and ’70s adopted nterventionist “developmentalist” domestic policies and a neutralist foreign policy that moved it away from its American alliance. The United States was partly to blame for this, as it sought to distance itself from Brazil’s military-led governments. After democracy was restored in 1985, the country’s foreign policy continued drifting further to the left, and even more so when it was governed by viscerally anti-American former Marxists between 2003 and 2016.

In the past few decades, Brazil participated with troops in important peacekeeping missions in the region, especially as the leader of the stabilization force in Haiti between 2004 and 2017. As the most important American ally in Latin America and the second largest country in the hemisphere, Brazil would be expected to further engage in – and lead – peacekeeping military interventions in the region, and to have a more bold and assertive, American-friendly foreign policy. An updated and beefed up Brazilian Armed Forces would be an ideal partner for the American military and could serve as an effective (and perhaps be perceived as a more legitimate) stand-in for U.S. troops at deploying a stabilizing force in trouble spots around the region.

Interesting isn’t it? I knew Brazil was an ally in World War Two and did some anti-submarine work, but not much more than that. It would be indeed nice to have a full-fledged ally in South America. And so, some of the possibilities.

What’s not very well known about Brazil is that, despite its colorful Latin ways, it shares a lot of common cultural traits and values with the United States, more so than any other country in Latin America. Brazilians look up to America, and the United States ranks as the number one destination of Brazilian overseas tourists. Since 2013, more than 2 million Brazilians visit the United States as tourists every year, despite a cumbersome and demanding visa application process.

Like America, Brazil is a profoundly Christian country. It has the largest number of Catholics of any country in the world (130 million, or 65 percent of the population), one of the largest numbers of evangelical, Pentecostal, and Baptist adherents (estimated at 44 million), and the third-largest representation of Mormons in the world. In fact, the American-founded and based LDS Church named a Brazilian apostle, the first from Latin America, to its Quorum of Twelve Apostles this year, the highest body of leadership in the church.

Besides being religious like Americans, Brazilians also have an entrepreneurial mentality, and they like both country music – they have their own style – and rodeo. Brazil currently has a higher percentage of entrepreneurs and small business owners than the United States does. According to a 2017 Pew study, Brazil is one of the most pro-American countries in the hemisphere, more sympathetic to us than both Canada and Mexico. This despite decades of widespread anti-American sentiment and indoctrination in academia, the media, and in government.

For well more than the past decade as a tech entrepreneur active in Brazil and as an activist in Latin American conservative and libertarian political circles, I have become convinced that Brazilians are not just ready, but would be thrilled to become America’s best friend in the region, especially if this increased their international stature and prestige.

Hmmm. Well, I can’t say he quite convinced me, even with Bolsonaro coming in as President, known as the Trump of South America, with cause. But he makes the case well enough, that we should surely look at it. After all, he is correct that we have far more in common than most countries.

And if you take a look at the map, they are right in the middle of where many of our problems in the hemisphere come from.

Certainly no harm in talking with them, and then seeing where it can lead. Friends (and allies) are where you find them.

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