Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The bidding war begins; Brazil, whose government once described climate action as a “Marxist Conspiracy”, is happy to stop chopping down the Amazon if they get a share of Biden’s two trillion dollar “stimulus”.

Brazil working with US on climate change and Amazon deforestation

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro had developed a close alignment with former US President Donald Trump and shared his disdain for climate change issues and international accords.

But that has changed now, according to Araujo, speaking remotely to the Council of the Americas hemispheric business forum.

“Something that was regarded as an impediment… is totally out of the way. We are now working together… as key partners towards a successful COP26 and fully implementing climate agreements,” Araujo said, referring to the COP26 United Nations climate summit scheduled for later this year.

Araujo had previously been seen as a climate skeptic, who had called theories of human-induced climate change a “Marxist conspiracy.”

Araujo said Brasilia was looking to forge an alliance with the United States based on the values of “democracy and prosperity,” with Brazil needing U.S. investment to transform itself into a modern market economy.

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How do people in Washington feel about rewarding expressions of international support with “investment”? Read what Obama’s former director of global engagement has to say about international money diplomacy;

America is going to need to spend massive amounts of money to rebuild its tarnished global reputation

BOB BRYAN MAR 6, 2021, 3:06 PM

  • The US global image has been deeply damaged by Trump and decades of skimping on diplomacy.
  • In order to rebuild America’s image, the government needs to be willing to spend tens of billions of dollars. 
  • Brett Bruen was the director of global engagement in the Obama White House and a career American diplomat. He runs the crisis-communications agency Global Situation Room.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

International influence isn’t something that comes cheap – even when you’re a super power. 

America’s badly blemished brand will only begin to get better if the government dedicates a massive amount of money to addressing the challenge. This is not even a one-billion-dollar problem. We are talking tens and probably even hundreds of billions. Despite the considerable price tag, it is both necessary and worth the extraordinary expense.

The US normally spends about two billion dollars a year on public diplomacy programs. These range from government-sponsored international media channels like the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe to foreign exchanges including the famous Fulbright scholarships. It also covers salaries for American diplomats and their staff to work at home and abroad in communications and cultural offices. 

At this particularly perilous point for our nation, we desperately need a massive infusion of funds into our public diplomacy programs, increasing the budget to at least $US10 ($13) billion per year. That would still be less than the cost of our newest aircraft carrier.

More military equipment will not return the respect we lost under President Donald Trump. In fact, as former Defense Secretary James Mattis put it, if State Department funds get cut, “then I need to buy more ammunition.” 

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I am not upset at Brazil for performing this backflip. President Bolsonaro’s track record suggests he cares as deeply about the welfare of the Brazilian people as Trump cares about the USA. If kissing Biden’s butt on international climate policy is a path to generating desperately needed US investment cashflows, I understand Bolsonaro and Araujo doing what they must.

But you have to wonder whether all those billions of taxpayer dollars Biden insiders want to spend on buying expressions of friendship deliver any actual value for the USA. All the smiles might make the diplomats look good, but what value does the USA receive?

From what Obama insider Bob Bryan said, President Trump thought it was mostly a waste of money.

via Watts Up With That?

March 8, 2021 at 08:21AM