At The Financial Times: John Paul Rathbone on the demise of Brazilian leftism, a comment By Political Cynic

Should a regular reader of the Financial Times be at all surprised by the the title of John Paul Rathbone’s essay ‘Demise of Brazilian leftism will reverberate across the Americas’ or the sub-headline: ‘Latin Americans no longer tolerate corruption as they once did’ ?  Mr. Rathbone doesn’t offer ‘Global Insight’, but the usual Financial Times’ party line of the dangers of ‘Leftism’ real, imagined, conjured out of an abundance of imagination/magical thinking! But consider this line of argument as a functional apologetic for the eighth year after the financial collapse of 2008, and the various failed iterations of Austerity.  But what does the Economist, a once sister publication to the FT, have to say about the issue of the impeachment of Rousseff, some selective quotes:

How she exits the Planalto, the presidential palace, matters greatly. We continue to believe that, in the absence of proof of criminality, Ms Rousseff’s impeachment is unwarranted. The proceeding against her in Congress is based on unproven allegations that she used accounting trickery to hide the true size of the budget deficit in 2015. This looks like a pretext for ousting an unpopular president. The idea, put forward by the head of the impeachment committee, that congressmen deliberating Ms Rousseff’s fate will listen to “the street”, would set a worrying precedent. Representative democracies should not be governed by protests and opinion polls.

The failure is not only of Ms Rousseff’s making. The entire political class has let the country down through a mix of negligence and corruption. Brazil’s leaders will not win back the respect of its citizens or overcome the economy’s problems unless there is a thorough clean-up.

The Economist argues that the corruption of Brazilian politics is real and needs to be addressed, but that the impeachment is not the proper political vehicle to address the pervasive problem. I have relied here on Glenn Greenwald’s essay from the Intercept :

Mr. Greenwald has lived in Brazil for eleven years, while Mr. Rathbone files his report from Miami. Mr. Rathbone, as he widens his political perspective including other  Western hemisphere nations, and quotes from  Kevin Casas-Zamora of the Inter-American dialogue, a Washington think-tank:

Michelle Bachelet (Co-Chair, Chile), Carla A. Hills (Co-Chair, United States), Enrique V. Iglesias (Co-Vice Chair, Uruguay), Thomas F. McLarty III (Co-Vice Chair, United States), David de Ferranti (Treasurer, United States), Peter D. Bell (Chair Emeritus, United States), Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Chair Emeritus, Brazil), Ricardo Lagos (Chair Emeritus, Chile), Alicia Bárcena (Mexico), Brian O’Neill (United States), Francis Fukuyama (United States), Pierre Pettigrew (Canada), L. Enrique García (Bolivia), Jorge Quiroga (Bolivia), Donna J. Hrinak (United States), Marta Lucía Ramírez (Colombia), Marcos Jank (Brazil), Arturo Sarukhan (Mexico), Jim Kolbe (United States), Eduardo Stein (Guatemala), Thomas J. Mackell Jr. (United States), Martín Torrijos (Panama), M. Peter McPherson (United States), Elena Viyella de Paliza (Dominican Republic), Billie Miller (Barbados), Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico)

A very distinguished assortment of respectable of politicians, Neo-Liberal and otherwise, Business people, academics and even the utterly notorious Straussian Mr. Fukuyama.

The strategy here is to enumerate the sins, indeed misdeeds of a Leftist government, and then widen the focus to include the other failed or failing states, as object lessons. All this designed to appeal to a readership who are in the thrall of the Hayek/Mises/Friedman Neo-Liberalism, heavily garnished with the literary/political chatter of sociopath Ayn Rand: it is a reliable formula!

Political Cynic

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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