Brazil's Bolsonaro takes a number for a US military base
So much for Mitt Romney's claim that the U.S. has alienated its allies.
Actually, they're lining up, and not just to be friends, but to ask for U.S. military bases stationed on their soil.
When was the last time you heard of nations lining up to ask for U.S. military bases? Not under President Obama, that's for sure.
The latest is Brazil, whose new president, Jair Bolsonaro, put the idea on the table. The Russians over at RT News, naturally, noticed:
Brazil's newly-sworn-in right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has said that he might consider hosting a US military base in the future and called a Brazilian embassy move to Jerusalem a done deal in a new interview on Thursday.
Bolsonaro, dubbed the 'Trump of the Tropics' for his rhetoric, uncannily similar to that of US President Donald Trump, lived up to his nickname as he floated the idea of welcoming US soldiers on a permanent basis, reiterated his support for Israel, while calling Venezuela 'a dictatorship' and Russia its enabler.
In an interview with SBT broadcaster on Thursday, Bolsonaro said that while he considers physical presence of foreign forces a symbolic move in a globalized word, he is open to the idea of hosting US troops on Brazilian soil.
Brazil joins other nations that have requested military bases, starting with Poland, which offered to call its potential base "Fort Trump," and to pay for it themselves, too. That interest is not hard to understand, because Poland has the Russian bear at its door, the bear is growling, the bear is bothering other nations, and the bear has been there before. It makes sense for the plains-covered country that always gets run over to have some big, bulky American troops in the vicinity to ensure that the bear thinks twice.
There's also Greece, which has also asked for a beefed up U.S. military presence on its soil. Like Poland, the Greeks are concerned about Russia, because Russia has been cozying up to Greece's arch-rival, Turkey, and the Greeks don't think anything good will come of it. More U.S. troops would be a fine thing from the Greek perspective.
Macedonia, meanwhile, has niced up to rival Greece (they had been fighting about the name of the place) because Macedonia wants to be a full member of NATO, not having to worry at all about Russia once the deed is done.
Sure enough, Brazil has stated that it's thinking about a base, precisely because of Russia, too. According to RT:
A retired army captain, Bolsonaro referred to the Russian military as the "Soviet" troops, arguing that "nowadays the power of American, Chinese and Soviet armed forces reaches out to the whole independent world."
More to the point, Brazil is not happy about Russia cozying up to Venezuela to set up a military base, at a time when tens of thousands of Venezuelan refugees are spilling over into Brazil. A nation that has a lot of money to throw around on weapons of war playing pattycake with the Russian bear and selling itself out for a Russian base can only be bad news for Brazil, even as the whole show seems to be aimed at checking the United States. No wonder Bolsonaro's talking early about a U.S. base on Brazilian soil, getting the idea out there.
When thugs threaten to take over the nightclub, it's natural to want a bouncer handy.
Compare it to this: my sister, whose house was nearly gobbled up in the Lilac Fire of a year ago in California, watched the horror of the fire spreading through her neighborhood on the television news (it's never a good thing to see your house on TV news), but she knew it would make it through as the cameras focused on the palm trees in front of her house on fire. What she saw was the big, fat, gargantuan CalFire truck loaded with water parked in front of her driveway. The fire truck's wonderful presence right there at the front door ensured that her house made it through when most didn't. Her house was like a military base.
That's a little reported story from the annals of the Trump foreign policy of strength. Up until now, all we had ever read was that U.S. bases are bad and locals don't like them. It was all activist bee ess, but it was the narrative we got.
Here's a far more realistic perspective from Joseph Boyle, a poster on Quora:
It makes sense, because U.S. military bases are reassuring for nations in all sorts in areas with bears on the prowl. All rich countries have them, and that wealth is at least in part the result of having a stable security picture. U.S. troops are sensitive to local needs and act professionally, never hurting the places. Now with President Trump in office, the U.S. has more allies than it knows what to do with, lining up to seek a U.S. military presence. And with Trump in the saddle, our friends and allies can see that the time to ask is now.