29 October 2018   Leave a comment

Jair Bolsonaro won the Presidential election in Brazil with 55% of the vote on a platform of “Brazil before everything, and God above all.”  Simon Jenkins, writing an opinion piece for The Guardian, assesses the significance of his election:

“Brazil has been one of the world’s most exciting emergent nations, yet its evolution over 30 years from dictatorship to hesitant democracy seems to have stalled. Bolsonaro has exploited the oldest politics, that of self-interest, and also the newest, that of anger, polarisation and fear. Voters have stomached his distaste for gay people, feminism, rainforests and the rule of law, to rid themselves of a corrupt leftwing regime unable to contain street violence. A famously tolerant nation has opted for military and economic discipline.

“In any country, the apparent breakdown of social order will drive voters to extremism. This message has proved popular around the world, from Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, Viktor Orbán of Hungary, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, even America’s Donald Trump. Liberal values, however defined, will not survive when their defenders cannot transmit their virtues to voters.”

The South China Morning Post ran an article reviewing the likely policy changes under Bolsonaro.  We will have to see how Brazil changes under his leadership.

 

Jair Bolsonaro

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that she will step down as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) but not as Chancellor of Germany until 2021.  She will thus serve essentially as a lame duck for the immediate future.  The decision comes after two successive regional election setbacks for the party, indicating that German citizens, as well as members of her party, have reservations about her immigration policies.   Merkel has led Germany for the last 13 years and her role in European politics has been as a strong defender of liberal values.  With populist/right-wing parties gaining strength in a number of European states, it is probably safe to say that Europe is facing a very serious challenge to the vision of cooperation it has been pursuing for many years.  With Great Britain contemplating Brexit and Italy’s government dominated by euro skeptic parties, France’s leader, Emmanuel Macron, is the last leader of a dominant economy still supporting the EU.


The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Israel and Saudi Arabia have concluded a $250 million deal involving some of Israel’s most sophisticated intelligence systems.   
   The deal is remarkable since Israel and Saudi Arabia do not have diplomatic relations and the report indicates that it was brokered by a European state with inputs from the US and Great Britain.   Neither state wishes the information to be public which will make the training of Saudis by Israeli technicians very difficult.  But it is clear that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” since both states regard Iran as their central enemy. 

Posted October 29, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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