Taiwan’s Representative To The U.S. Slams China For Using Pelosi’s Visit As A Pretext To “Manufacture A Crisis”

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Taiwan’s Representative to the United States Hsiao Bi-Khim appeared on CBS’ Face The Nation to discuss House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to her country, which has caused an uproar in China. Rep Bi-Khim slammed China saying it was using Speaker Pelosi’s visit a pretext to “manufacture a crisis.”

Rep(0:24): “We have been living under the threat from China for decades, and we cannot let their ongoing threats define our desire to make friends internationally. If you have a kid being bullied at school, you don’t say, ‘you don’t go to school’, you try to find a way to deal with the bully, and that’s exactly what Taiwan is doing, working on making our society stronger and more resilient, fortifying our defenses so that we have means of managing risks. The risks are not posed by Taiwan, nor are they posed by the United States, the risks are posed by Beijing.”

Asked whether Taiwan is worried about a full scale military invasion from China, Rep Bi-Khim said (1:11): “The Chinese have not renounced the use of force. They have been intensifying threats towards Taiwan that is not only on a military level, it has involved a hybrid toolkit of public disinformation, cyberattacks, economic coercion, they have a broad toolkit that we have become more and more accustomed to. Again, that is not going to change our determination to defend our freedom.”

Asked whether she thought China’s military exercises at the Taiwanese coast following Speaker Pelosi’s visit were a drill, Rep Bi-Khim said it appears they have been preparing for this for a while, even before Speaker Pelosi decided to visit Taiwan.

Asked whether she had any assurances from the Biden administration that the U.S. will provide Taiwan with actual military protection as opposed to just providing them with weapons in the event China invaded, Rep Bi-Khim said (3:08): “We have a very strong security partnership that ensures the protection of our shared interest in the regional peace and stability”–which reasonable people will agree, is diplomat-speak for “yes”.

Asked about the criticism that Speaker Pelosi’s visit amounted to provocation, she responded (3:27): “I think the word provocation has only one place, and that’s with China right now. They are the ones that are provoking regional instability…Sometimes it’s hard for other countries from afar, to fully understand the feelings and perspectives of the Taiwanese people, and that is, for too long, we have been bullied, isolated, and surpressed, and banned from international organizations, so when friends come from afar, and wish to lend their support to Taiwan, we generally take that with gratitude.”

Asked about the reality that China’s invasion of Taiwan would be markedly different from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, given the fact that China is far more powerful militarily and economically, and thus difficult to sanction, Rep Bi-Khim said that was part of the reason Speaker Pelosi visited–to give them assurances of support. Rep Bi-Khim specifically said (5:11): “I think that was one of the messages that Speaker Pelosi was trying to convey, and that is, despite all challenges, we have friends in the international community who will stand with us.”

Asked about China’s threat to pull out of important global negotiations on climate etc, if it doesn’t get its way with Taiwan, and the effect that may have on other countries (discourage them from defending Taiwan), Rep Bi-Khim responded (5:50): “Are we concerned? Yes we are concerned about the disruption of these very important discussions on global issues that are matters of interest to not only the United States, but to China and everyone in the world, but the fact is, again, congressional visits to Taiwan have been going on for decades, and for decades it hasn’t prevented the United States and China from having constructive discussions on matters of mutual interest…” Rep Bi-Khim added that Beijing was using Speaker Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to “manufacture a crisis”, and finished with this powerful admonition: “If China is to evolve as a responsible stakeholder in the global community, it’s really up to Beijing to decide if China’s rejuvenation will evolve with international respect, or with international condemnation.”

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Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Interview On CNN’s State Of The Union Show

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Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese appeared on CNN’s State of The Union show (07/31/22) for a wide ranging interview that touched on among other things climate change, and specifically, his pledge that Australia will achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050.

Asked whether Australia’s 2050 goal will be thwarted because of reluctance by India, China and the United States to come together, and address climate change with the urgency it deserves, PM Albanese responded(video at 0:38): “Well, I certainly hope not, and I’m very optimistic. At the Madrid NATO Summit, I had discussions with world leaders and also of course at the Quad leaders meeting, and I regard people as being very prepared to take much stronger action. There’s a greater recognition now as well, that dealing with the challenge of climate change represents also an economic opportunity. We will see the greatest transformation that we have seen in our economy since the industrial revolution, with the shift to clean energy, and clean energy will of course see jobs being created at the same time, something that the Biden administration recognizes, something that our European friends certainly recognize as well.”

Asked about the growing threat from China, and specifically, a troubling poll that shows 75% of Aussies believe China will attack Australia within the next 20 years, PM Albanese responded (1:44): “What we are preparing for is strengthening our alliances. We want to have good relationships with China and cooperate where we can, but we’ll stand up for Australian values where we must, and that is my approach to the relationship with China. Clearly it has changed in recent years. Under [President] Xi, China has become more forward-leaning, more aggressive in the region. We have strategic competition.”

Asked whether Australia would defend Taiwan if it was invaded by China, PM Albanese punted, saying he did not want to deal with hypotheticals. He then went on to say(2:38): “Australia supports a One China policy, but we also support the status quo when it comes to the issue of Taiwan, that people respect the existing structures which are there. I believe that clearly is in the interest of all parties, and I have taken the view as well, that it is not in the interest of peace and security, to talk up those issues of potential conflict.”

Asked what Australians think about “the health” of democracy the United States in light of the ongoing January 6th investigation, PM Albanese responded (3:57): “Democracy in the United States remains strong. The United States remains a beacon for the world in terms of democratic nations, I firmly believe that. And whilst the assault on democracy that we saw on January 6th was of real concern to all those who hold democratic processes dear around the world, the fact that you are having an open and transparent process, these hearings are being broadcast to the world, indeed underlies, in my view, the strength of U.S. democracy, the strength of those institutions.”

Asked what America can learn from Australia regarding how to deal with gun violence, PM Albanese responded(5:26): “In Australia we had a bipartisan response to the Port Arthur massacre, and we haven’t had once [mass shooting] since, and I just say that people should look at our experience. It’s up to the United States as a sovereign nation what direction it takes of course, but the truth is that Australia’s experience shows that less guns, particularly less automatic weapons, the less crime occurs, and the less tragedy occurs.”

Asked whether he supports the growing sentiment among Aussies to break away from the Queen of England and become a republic, PM Albanese responded(6:24): “Well, I do support a republic, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the Queen, who has presided over the Commonwealth for 70 years, it’s quite an extraordinary achievement. Our priority this term, is the recognition of First Nations people in our constitution. Our history didn’t begin in 1788 with the arrival of the British First Fleet, it goes back some 65,000 years with Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people, the oldest continuous civilization on the planet. It should be a source of great pride, and my priority is getting that constitutional change done first.” Hmm, very interesting.

Bottom line folks, interviews with world leaders are always interesting(at least to Your Truly-a nerd), because they give you a glimpse into how others view/deal with the same issues confronting us here in the United States. I think reasonable people will agree that by far, the biggest takeaway from PM Alabanese’s interview, is how politicians in Australia came together to stump out mass shootings after the Port Arthur massacre(1996). Simply put, there is zero excuse for the nonsense we get from Congress, when it comes to addressing gun violence in the United States. Zero!!

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TSMC Chairman Discusses Semiconductor Chip Production & Possible China Invasion Of Taiwan

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Mark Liu, the Chairman of Taiwan Semicondictor Manufacturing Company(TSMC), the most valuable company in Asia, and tenth in the whole world, appeared on CNN’s GPS show (07/31/22) to discuss the growing global shortage of semiconductor chips, and efforts by his company to ramp up production in the United States. TSMC is building a $12 billion advanced chip manufacturing plant in Arizona, thanks in large part to subsidies from the recently passed Chips Act. As expected, the interview also delved into growing global concerns about a possible invasion of Taiwan by China, especially given what is currently happening in Ukraine.

As it currently stands, the whole world relies on TSMC for the supply of advanced semiconductor chips, and as concerns grow about a possible invasion of Taiwan by China (especially after Russia-Ukraine), many in the tech world fear that their industry could be turned upside down without a free TSMC.

Asked what would happen to the chip industry if China were to invade Taiwan, Chairman Liu said even though the production of advanced semiconductor chips is critical to the Taiwanese economy, the chip industry/economy would be their least concern because such an attack would upend the world’s rules-based order, and dramatically change the geopolitical landscape.

Asked whether China may be interested in invading Taiwan so it can have total control of TSMC, one of the world’s most valuable assets, Chairman Liu responded (video at 3:15): “Nobody can control TSMC by force. If you take a military force, or invasion, you will render a TSMC factory non-operable because this is such a sophisticated manufacturing facility, it depends on the real time connection with the outside world–with Europe, with Japan, with the U.S., from materials, to chemicals, to spare parts, to engineering software diagnosis, and it is everybody’s effort to make this factory operable, so if you take it over by force, you can no longer make it operable.”

Asked about the so-called “TSMC shield”–this notion that because mainland China relies heavily on TSMC for it’s high end chips, it may be hesitant to invade–Chairman Liu responded (video at 4:45): “Our[TSMC] interruption will create great economic turmoil on either side–in China because, suddenly their most advanced components supply [will have] disappeared…it is an interruption, I must say, so people will think twice on this.” It appears Chairman Liu agrees with the “TSMC shield” theory. He then added that we should draw lessons from the Russia-Ukraine war because as we can see, there are no winners. Russia is suffering, Ukraine is suffering, and the rest of the world is suffering as a result of the war. China’s invasion of Taiwan would be no different.

Asked to explain how Taiwan has managed to grow at 5% per year for five decades straight–the so-called “Taiwan miracle”, Chairman Liu said a lot of it had to do with the fact that the Taiwanese are generally, very peaceful people. He said that since 1949, when the island transformed from authoritarian rule, they have managed to live peacefully. He also added the education system as another reason for the “Taiwan miracle.” Apparently, university education in Taiwan is available to anybody who wants it. As a result, 80% of adults in Taiwan are college educated.

Bottom line folks, as host Fareed Zakaria correctly put it, Chairman Liu is probably the most important man in the world, that you don’t know about. All in all, a fascinating interview, with a fascinating business leader, from a fascinating island, which I hope, the world does everything, to shield from an invasion by China.

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Is Moldova Putin’s Next Target After Ukraine?

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CNN’s GPS show(07/24/22) aired a very interesting interview featuring Natalia Gavrilita, the Prime Minister of the small eastern European nation of Moldova, which shares a border with Ukraine. PM Gavrilita expressed her increasing fears that after Putin is done with Ukraine, he may set his eyes on her country, Moldova, because Moldova, like Ukraine, is on a rapid path towards E.U. integration.

The Russia-Ukraine war has had such an adverse global impact, that any talk of a possible Russian invasion of another country, should be cause for concern, not only for the United States, but for every democracy-loving country.

PM Gavrilita began by giving a brief introduction of Moldova, saying (1:13): “Moldova has had a troubled history in a complicated region, and it has not only been part of the Soviet Union, it has also been part of Romania between the first and second world war. The majority of the population is Romanian speaking, but we also have Ukrainian, Russian, Bulgarian, and Gagauz, which is a Turkish speaking minority.”

She went on to tell host Fareed Zakaria that like Ukraine, Moldova is rapidly moving towards E.U. integration. She specifically said(1:43): “In the last elections, the people have voted massively for a pro-European majority, for going the course of democratic institutions, fighting corruption, ensuring the respect for human rights, and striving towards the European integration course, so achieving candidate status for E.U. integration has been a significant victory for Moldova, one that people have waited for for a long time, but it is very unfortunate that it happens in such a complicated context in the region, and such horrible times for Ukraine.”

There is no other way to interpret PM Gavrilita’s remarks other than (I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course), Moldova’s rapid move towards E.U. integration comes at a time when Russia is increasingly suspicious of the West/NATO’s intentions. As a result, Putin is more likely to attack Moldova either during his invasion of Ukraine, or immediately thereafter, to prevent Moldova from joining the European Union. In other words, PM Gavrilita is simply sounding an early alarm bell, for a possible Russian invasion.

She went on to say this about her fear of a Russian invasion(3:35):“We are worried of course, this is a risk. It’s a hypothetical scenario for now, but if the military actions move further into the southwestern part of Ukraine, and towards Odessa, then of course we are very worried, especially considering that[Russian] troops[are already]on the territory of the secessionist Transnistrian region. We are doing everything possible to maintain peace and stability and to ensure that the fighting does not escalate.”

She went on to say that if Russia/Putin is allowed to get away with the annexation of large chunks of Ukraine, then no small country will be safe. She specifically said(4:26):“This is a very difficult position not just for Moldova, but for any small country, any country that relies on the rules-based international order. If a country can start an annexation war without any regard for international law, then in this sense, nobody is safe, and I think that a lot of countries are worried.”

Bottom line folks, the United States must develop a proactive approach when dealing with Russia and other adversaries. Where, as here, PM Gavrilita is sounding the alarm about a possible Russian invasion, the U.S. must do everything in its power to help Moldova prepare for any such eventuality. It’s better/cheaper to equip Moldova now, rather than after Russian tanks start rolling down their streets.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Europe appears to be churning out some very impressive female leaders lately–from Ursula von der Leyen, to Nicola Sturgeon, to Magdalena Anderson, to PM Gavrilita, who reasonable people will agree, was quite impressive on CNN’s GPS show. This begs the question: Is this the era of female/women leadership? The U.S. came very close (debatable point) to electing its first female president in 2016. Is 2024 the year the U.S. finally gets a female president? Hmm, Nikki Haley certainly thinks so. Oh, and by the way, Gavrilita is pronounced “Gavrilitsa”. Yeah, you didn’t know that.

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Senator Chris Murphy Wants U.S. Led Probe Into Shireen Abu Akleh’s Death

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Senator Chris Murphy(D-CT) appeared on MSNBC Prime(07/13/22) to discuss President Biden’s trip to the Middle East, and especially his trip to Saudi Arabia which has drawn condemnation, given Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s implication in Washington Post Columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder. During his interview , Senator Murphy also delved into another controversial topic, and that is, the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli troops.

An investigation conducted by the Israel government into Akleh’s killing concluded that IDF troops shot her by accident. Naturally, this conclusion has generated a lot of criticism from around the globe, and especially from press freedom advocates. Senator Murphy is calling for an independent U.S. led investigation into Shireen Abu Akleh’s death.

Asked by host Ali Velshi why it was important for the U.S. to conduct an independent investigation, Senator Murphy responded(video at 4:57):“Senator Murphy told host Ali Velshi(video at ):”First and foremost, any time an American dies overseas, we should apply the highest degree of scrutiny to make sure we get to the bottom of the story as to how an American citizen was killed, and in this case, given that it might have come at the hands of foreign security forces, that inquiry is even more important. We are simply asking that we do a thorough review that we are not confident the Israeli authorities have done themselves. So I think it’s important to get to the bottom of this even if the bottom involves some unsavory truths about what an important ally of the United States may have done, or elements of their security forces may have done to contribute to this American’s death.”

Bottom line folks, Israel has been, and remains America’s closest and dearest foreign ally. Ordinarily, Yours Truly would be inclined to accept Israel’s explanation of Shireen Abu Akleh’s death at face value but where, as here, the death in question is of a U.S. citizen, Yours Truly has no choice but to agree with Senator Murphy, that the United States needs to conduct its independent investigation. however unpleasant the results may be. Israel and the United States will forever remain close friends, so there’s no harm in finding out the truth behind Shireen Abu Akleh’s death. The Biden administration owes her family the truth regarding the circumstances of her death overseas.

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Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro’s Interview On Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Show

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Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show (06/30/22)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro sat down with visiting Fox News host Tucker Carlson (06/30/22) for a wide ranging, and quite interesting interview, that covered issues such as his upcoming reelection fight, China’s expansion into Latin America, COVID, Christianity, the media, LGBTQ rights, and even a pitch by Tucker Carlson to Bolsonaro to allow Fox News in Brazil (yeah, he really did that, I promise).

President Bolsonaro and Hungary’s President Viktor Orban, are two notable world leaders who have struck a resonance with Trump’s wing of the Republican Party, which appears to be on a path towards Christian Nationalism. Yours Truly was therefore very interested to hear what President Bolsonaro had to say regarding a whole host of issues, and so should you.

The first topic of discussion was Bolsonaro’s very interesting, even miraculous rise to the presidency. Here’s how he described it (video at 5:22): “My election itself was almost a miracle. I had nothing going for me to be elected. I was just an isolated member of Congress, known as the lower segment of national Congress in Brazil. I conducted my campaign anchored on a Biblical passage John 3:33–‘Thou shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ The media never gave me any visibility or space, much to the contrary, they attacked me all the time throughout the campaign. On 09/06/2018, on the eve of the election, I suffered an attempted assassination. Doctors said my survival was a miracle. The same is true for my election, and a very important factor which you may perhaps not be aware of, is the fact that Brazil is a country that upon taking office as the President, the incumbent President surrenders strategic positions in the cabinet and political parties, including the cabinet ministries, state banks, state companies. I did not do that.”

Bolsonaro then went on to attack his left wing opponent, Lula da Silva, using strikingly similar attacks you hear Republicans in the United States leveling against Democrats. Bolsonaro, for example insinuated that the left was planning to rig the upcoming elections, that they are using the pandemic to bring down his administration, and importantly, that if the left defeats him, they will never lose any election again after that–an argument strikingly similar to the one used by former President Trump during his 2020 reelection campaign, and after his loss to Joe Biden. Bolsonaro then went on to list a long laundry list of Republican-like attacks against Lula/the left wing; that they want unfettered abortions, they are soft on crime, that the left is anti-freedom, that the left wants to disarm the public (Brazil’s “second amendment”, I guess), that the left wants amnesty, that the left is manufacturing opinion polls which show him losing, so as to suppress his vote. Very interesting indeed.

Asked how he plans to win reelection despite what Tucker Carlson characterized as “the entire Brazilian media” against him, Bolsonaro responded (11:25): “Yes, there is the weight of the media against me. True, but social media has been doing a great job in Brazil. My social media channels are the most interactive in the world. I believe that today we have 40% of the population who has not yet expressed their voting intentions. Most of the voters we believe, will vote for me in the elections.”

Tucker then pulled the quintessential “shameless plug” and pitched Fox News to President Bolsonaro (11:49): “Why is there no Fox News in Brazil? CNN is here, you got over 50 million votes in the last elections, CNN’s a political player here, so is Globo, but there’s no TV channel for your voter?” Bolsonaro responded to Tucker Carlson’s pitch saying (12:00): “Well if I could launch an appeal for you, I can only say that you will be the most welcome in Brazil. You will be an excellent counterpart to the other vehicles or outlets. There are very few media outlets that are really unbiased in Brazil.” Hmm, again sounds awfully similar to what Republicans say in the U.S.

Asked how he felt about opposition to him, not only inside Brazil, but also from virtually all the neighboring countries, Bolsonaro gave this interesting answer (12:50): “Brazil is an economic powerhouse in South America. The 10 countries with which we have political, geopolitical, physical borders are not that economically strong as compared to Brazil. We are what you might describe as a cherry on the cake. If Brazil goes down or collapses, the whole of South America will go down, and be colored red(bloodshed) if you understand…”

The interview then moved to the topic that shot President Bolsonaro into the international spotlight, and that is, his opposition/refusal to take the COVID vaccine at a time when COVID cases were sky high in Brazil. This move endeared him to anti-vaxxer movements worldwide, but alienated him from Western governments who were at that time (height of the pandemic), desperately trying to get sufficient numbers of their populations vaccinated.

Asked why he refused to take the COVID vaccine, here’s how he responded (22:05 ): “As I said before, maybe I was the only head of state in the world who did not accept restrictive measures, or was against restrictive measures, and perhaps one of the few heads of state in the world who did not take the vaccine because I had already contracted the virus. The left was so worried about taking me out of office that they wanted me to take the vaccine, and I said well, ‘let me die, just let me die then and choose my policy.’ In South America we are the one country that best addressed the issue involving the need for vaccines, and we very properly and adequately equipped our hospitals with equipment and medications, and I believe we have pretty much turned the page there.”

To be clear, Bolsonaro’s argument was that he did not need a COVID vaccine because he had already contracted the virus. He therefore sought medications instead (including in Africa), that were being advertised at the time as cures for COVID. He says even though he was personally against the vaccines, he did make them readily available to the Brazilian public. He also said that part of his reluctance to take the vaccines, was the fine print from the vaccine manufacturers, which said they were not responsible for any side effects from their vaccines.

The interview then moved on to religion, and specifically, Christianity. Asked how he thought his opponent Lula and the left viewed Christianity, Bolsonaro responded (35:27): “The left wing, I mean the vast majority of them are atheists. They do not respect anything. They criticize priests and pastors and Lula himself has said that he will, if elected, he will place priests and pastors and the military in their rightful place, or in the right place in society. For instance, when the U.S. Supreme Court recently changed its understanding and ruling on abortion, the left wing in Brazil did not like that. We did like the new stance taken by the U.S. Supreme Court because we defend life from its very conception, but not so among the left wing people and Lula. Lula and the left wing, they often say that abortion is a matter of public health, and it is the woman that should decide. We believe that the life that has been given to a woman does not belong to the woman, and that is a stance espoused by our religion.” Hmm, interesting. Is this the TrumpGOP stance on abortion, too?

Asked about racism in Brazil, Bolsonaro, much like Republicans in the United States, blamed it on weaponized identity politics pushed by the left. He specifically said this about identity politics (38:17) :“It is a way to divide and conquer. Even before Lula took office in 2003, the left wing would already preach that, I mean, the division of people along identity lines such as Blacks and Whites, and employers and employees, and people from northeastern Brazil vis-a-vis southern Brazil. They have gained followers as a result of that approach, and the major divisionary split today is between employers and employees…and they say that, ‘hey you are not doing well today because of your employer’, and that divide approach or policy… has gained them at least one-fourth of the Brazil population. They have always been supported by at least one-fourth of the Brazilian population. My father-in-Law is…a Black man, and I am a blue-eyed White man. Racism is there in Brazil, yes, but not as it is often described. Most of our main football (soccer) players are, you know, people of African descent, no worries.”

The topic then shifted to gun control, where he was asked why he chose to make it easier for Brazilians to acquire firearms. He responded (39:25) :”I was unable to actually change the Brazilian law, but by means of a presidential decree, and also through ministerial orders, we interpreted the existing legislation as best as possible, and there has been a substantial increase in the number of people who legally own firearms in Brazil, and the consequences you see in the Brazilian media, is a drop in the number of people who are killed by firearms in Brazil. We understand that once people get armed, the crooks, the thieves will think twice before they break into other people’s property. If of course the number had gone up, I would be blamed, but just the opposite is going on today, and if reelected, if everything goes well, we will have a substantial support in Congress, and we’ll be able to pass laws on firearms, very much along the same lines as in the U.S.”

The topic then shifted to the Amazon rain forest, and specifically, whether it was being destroyed (deforestation) at an alarming rate causing global climate problems. Climate activists blame Bolsonaro’s administration for the deforestation. Here’s what Bolsonaro said when asked whether the Amazon was being destroyed at the high rates claimed by the news media (46:25): “No, that is not true. Two-thirds of the Brazilian territory are currently preserved, and remain pristine, just as they were back in the 1500s when this country was discovered by the Portuguese. The criminal acts that do happen, we will not deny that, are ultimately given too much visibility because there is a huge interest in making our sovereignty over the Amazonian region a relative fact, or perceived in a relative light. I met with President Putin and thanked him because on two occasions when this issue was discussed with other countries, he stated that the Amazon region belongs to the Brazilian people, not to anyone else. The Amazon region is as vast as eastern Europe. It’s huge, it’s wonderful, it’s just not possible to, you know, take care of every square meter in the Amazon region. There is illegal deforestation, yes, there are fire outbreaks, yes, but not at the rate that is announced out there. California itself always you know, catches fire, and it’s not given that much visibility, French Guyana likewise, I mean, you can’t possibly set a rain forest to fire, but there is illegal deforestation, yes, and we are working to tackle that.”

Asked about criticism regarding the Amazon, by celebrities-turned-climate activists, like Mark Ruffalo, Bolsonaro said (49:30):”These are people who do not understand anything about Brazil. I think these people have never been to the Amazon region, and I would actually invite them to come to the Amazon region, and overfly the region…They talk about the Amazon region because it’s trendy, it’s a fad. I mean, in Europe, if someone says that the Amazon region is not being devastated, they are politically doomed to fiasco. So, it’s politically good for them, you know, the criticism yields power, yields media visibility, yields votes, and that’s what celebrities feed on. They are not at all familiar with the Amazon region. They are not at all knowledgeable about the region, and the difficulty of investing in it. They just criticize it because it’s a fad.”

Asked whether he has enjoyed being President of Brazil, Bolsonaro said (50:30): “I must admit, you know, I first launched myself as a candidate, of course I intended to become the President, but I was all too aware of the challenges and the difficulties, and the experiences we have undergone, or I have undergone, I could never ever have imagined what it would look like, but I am comforted by the fact that the other candidate, the Workers Party candidate, Haddad, if he had won, Brazil would certainly be what Venezuela is today. So that’s a source of comfort to me, and that encourages me to say to the population that God is the one who has placed me where I am today…A message to the Americans–God, the homeland, family and freedom.”

The final topic of discussion was China, which Tucker Carlson said, was the primary reason for his visit to Brazil. Carlson contends that China is on a quest to colonize Africa and S. America–basically invest heavily in these regions and then take them over as colonies.

Tucker Carlson(58:50): “Given your natural resources, are you worried about the level of Chinese investment in Brazil.”

Bolsonaro:”I would very much like the Americans to also take part in more investments in Brazil. We of course have trade flows with China, and they have of course at least at first shown interest in ensuring their food security.”

Bottom line folks, I came out with the impression that President Bolsonaro is trying very hard to identify himself with the Republican Party in the United States, and specifically,, Trump’s wing of the party. His campaign message appears to be:“If you want Brazil to be God-fearing, rich, prosperous, and free, like the United States, vote for me. If Lula wins, Brazil will become a socialist nation and descend into bloodshed. I am the only one standing between Brazil and socialism/bloodshed, so vote wisely.” Will this campaign pitch be enough to earn Bolsonaro a reelection victory? Hmm, we’ll see what happens.

***Updated to include the fact that on 08/04/2022, Hungary’s President Viktor Orban addressed the CPAC Conference in Dallas, Texas. Orban and Bolsonaro appear to be playing from the same playbook re American conservatives–Christian Nationalism ***

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