Making Sense of Bolsonaro’s Foreign Policy at Year One

By Guilherme Casarões

Culture wars – not free markets – have been the driving force behind Brazil’s new diplomacy. That could change in 2020.

Controversy has been a frequent feature of foreign policy during Jair Bolsonaro’s first year in office. But while the Brazilian president’s nationalist and militaristic rhetoric might make him look like a character from a Latin American history textbook, the driving force behind Bolsonaro’s worldview isn’t always what it appears. Yes, he is a retired army captain and yes, there are many generals in his cabinet. But more than a military man, Bolsonaro is a culture warrior – and that is what mostly guides his approach to diplomacy.

Alongside education, foreign policy has been one of...

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