The Great Brazilian Foreign Policy Realignment
If Jair Bolsonaro continues to push for privatization in infrastructure and a drastic reduction in red tape, then foreign investment will likely follow.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro recently visited Israel and unlike former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the last Brazilian leader to make such a trip, he did all the right things. Lula da Silva (currently behind bars on several corruption charges) avoided the customary trip to Yad Vashem (Israel’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust), which is de rigueur for visiting world leaders. He went, instead, to Yasser Arafat’s tomb, in Ramalah, he was asked to leave Israel and told not to return. Bolsonaro, by contrast, prayed at the Wailing Wall with Benjamin Netanyahu, personally thanked the Israeli military for their help during the search and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the Brumadinho mudslide, and signaled he will be opening a trade and tech office in Jerusalem.
This is the most recent move in the foreseen realignment of Brazilian foreign policy. Israel was Bolsonaro’s first stop outside the Americas. The visit was staunchly criticized by Lula da Silva’s former ally in the region: Hamas. If Bolsonaro seems chummy with Netanyahu, then keep in mind that the prime minister was the first Israeli leader to attend a Brazilian presidential inauguration. Lula da Silva had very different connections in the region; he infamously called Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi his “brother, mentor, and teacher.”