Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Is NATO Going South?

Is NATO Going South?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization may be headed south, all the way down to Brazil. The President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, who in order to demonstrate his independent stance in the world decided to stop by CIA headquarters in Washington D.C. before having a chat with President Trump. This is very reminiscent of Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko making sure US forces march on their “independence” day parade or when he has to meet visiting US counterparts on their boat of the coast of “his” country.

Since the CIA is in many ways the king maker of Latin America this seems like an unwise PR choice unless he is very certain that foreign support is vastly more important than seeming to be an independent nationalist Brazilian figure like he claims to be.

And speaking of Brazil’s independence, to the surprise of nearly everyone in the media, punditry and analysis sphere Trump said rather plainly that he “is seriously looking at NATO membership or some other formal alliance with Brazil”. This could obviously just be Trump’s loose lips and desire to be liked by the person sitting next to him and the latter of the two options could mean pretty much anything. “Formal alliance” is vague at best. The former of the two options, Brazil joining NATO, is much more tangible and thus is a far important undertaking if it were to occur. So what would happen if Brazil joined NATO?

From an ideological/philosophical standpoint Brazil joining the security organization would fundamentally shift its purpose and meaning. NATO was formed at the moment the afterglow from an Allied victory in World War II started to fade as a means of ganging up against a Soviet nation that was so destroyed by the war it was still scrambling to get people fed and into living space after most of European Russia was annihilated by the Nazis. Turn the clock some decades forward and a Non-Communist Russia was never allowed into NATO and never will be. NATO is an anti-Russian alliance. Whether this is good or bad is up to the reader but the fact is that it was born for this purpose and continues to exist primarily for this purpose today. NATO’s largest military exercises since the end of the Cold War had Russia as the bad guys not random gents in the Arab world.

NATO is also the allied armed force of what Russians call “the Golden Billion”. This implies the roughly one billion people who live in the US/Canada + EU, essentially the wealthy West. If we look at a map of Europe, besides the useful-during-the-Cold-War Turks who technically have territory in Europe, this becomes very clear. NATO is the army of “The West”.

So how would Brazilian membership change these two dynamics?

Brazil and Latin America cannot gain anything from NATO in terms of joining up to fight against the Russians because the Russians at present and for the foreseeable future are unable to take back even a marginal percentage of the massive territory that they lost when they choked in the Cold War. Russia is also so vastly far away that preparing for some sort of traditional invasions by Russians in Brazil is insane to say the least. Also, what exactly can Brazil do to help stop a Russian invasion of their former territories from the other side of the world, with no bases in Europe and no means to fight an inter-continental conflict? Can Brazil contribute to fighting Russia? No.

If Brazil and Latin America begin to join NATO this means that the focus will no longer be as an anti-Russian organization, but as something with a much more broader focus. Ironically, if NATO had made a major change of focus in the 90’s, Russia would have voluntarily joined it long ago during that upbeat naive and submissive time period.

In conclusion, it needs to be stated that this could also be a move to create Trump’s supposed plan for a “Fortress America” by shifting US influence towards Latin America. If there is any truth to this plan, then shifting NATO south makes perfect sense. From a business standpoint if Trump is really going to force NATO member countries to play for upkeep “+50%” for US bases on their territory, then this could just be “expansion of Trump’s business into new markets”.

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