16:20 GMT26 September 2020
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    The Brazilian president had a "private meeting" with US President Donald Trump. Sputnik spoke about it with Maurício Santoro, an international relations professor at Rio de Janeiro’s state university.

    Sputnik: Prior to the talks with President Trump, Mr Bolsonaro paid a visit to the CIA which no Brazilian President has ever done. What is the intention of this unusual visit?

    Professor Maurício Santoro: It is inappropriate for any president to visit a foreign intelligence organization, unless he or she is discussing something very specific in terms of security cooperation. Bolsonaro´s visit to the CIA is even stranger, because it was not part of the official schedule. Bolsonaro claims that it was a personal visit. I believe that they discussed actions about Venezuela.

    Sputnik: The CIA visit has already been slammed by some as putting Brazil in a submissive position. Is there a grain of truth to this statement?

    Professor Maurício Santoro: A few years ago there was a major espionage scandal, when Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was spying on Brazilian authorities, including then-president Dilma Rousseff. Brazil took the debate to the UN to discuss rules on Internet and telecommunications governance, against this type of surveillance. Wikileaks also showed many cases of American intelligence operations against major national assets of Brazil.

    Sputnik: Trumps says he is seriously looking into NATO membership for Brazil. How high are the chances that the bloc will grow beyond the North Atlantic region?

    Professor Maurício Santoro: There is a strong possibility that Brazil will become a major non-NATO ally of the United States. This is a status without many obligations, that basically allows its members to buy or receive military equipment from the Americans. However, it is highly unlikely that Brazil would join a military alliance such as NATO. Its goals are very distant from Brazilian national interests. Brazil would not gain anything fighting wars in Serbia or Afghanistan.

    READ MORE: Brazil's Bolsonaro Visits CIA on US-Friendly Tour to Cement Alliance With Trump

    Sputnik: What could be the fallout from Brazil's potential membership in NATO given the turmoil going on in Brazil's northern neighbour Venezuela?

    Professor Maurício Santoro: I do not believe that Brazil will join NATO. The national and regional reactions would be too strong against it.

    Sputnik: Trump and Bolsonaro plan to discuss the possibility of military intervention in Venezuela. How willing is the Bolsonaro administration to lend its hand to Washington in this matter?

    Professor Maurício Santoro: Although Bolsonaro may like the idea, the Brazilian Armed Forces will veto any kind of Brazilian engagement in a military attack against a neighbour. Even as a supply base. This is a serious pillar of Brazilian foreign policy since the end of the 19th century.

    READ MORE: Trump Says Discussed Reducing US-Brazil Trade Barriers in Talks With Bolsonaro

    Sputnik: Bolsonaro has been dubbed as the 'Trump of the tropics' and he instantly struck a friendly tone with the US. How could Brazil's cozying up towards the US change the geopolitical picture in Latin America and even globally?

    Professor Maurício Santoro: Many Brazilian presidents believed that their charisma or other personal qualities — such as ideological affinity with their American colleagues — would ensure a strong diplomatic relationship between Brazil and the United States. This was not the case. American protectionism and a general lack of interest in South America led to correct relations, but nothing more.

    The world has changed. During the Cold War, the majority of Brazilian exports went to the United States. Today, we are living in a global order increasingly multipolar. The US is the 2nd biggest trade partner for Brazil, but it buys just 12% of Brazilian products. Among the top destinations for Brazilian exports are many other countries: China, Argentina, Germany, The Netherlands, India, Japan, Chile, Mexico, Spain… Brazil needs a foreign policy that can deal with this diversity of interests and partnerships.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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