- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
EDITORIAL: Obama’s Brazilian model
Rousseff shows White House an authoritarian way forward
President Obama hosted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the White House on Monday. One syndicated news story published before the presidential parley asked, "What could Obama learn from Brazil President Dilma Rousseff?" The optimistic answer is: hopefully not much. This relationship is not in America's interest.
Ms. Rousseff is an exemplar of the anti-American hard left that is uniting in the developing world to check U.S. power. One of the main goals of her mission to Washington is to get Mr. Obama's seal of approval for Brasilia's ambition to acquire a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. U.S. support for this scheme would be self-destructive as Brazil would provide a reliable vote against American interests in the world body. Ms. Rousseff, a former communist guerrilla herself, is a strong supporter of anti-U.S. dictatorships such as the Castros in Cuba and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. She has backed the Iranian mullahs' efforts to acquire nuclear capability while leading a club of nations pressing for U.S. nuclear disarmament. If the planet is divvied up between those who are for us and those who are against us, Ms. Rousseff is on the wrong side.
Mr. Obama has nothing to learn from Brazil's leader on the economic front, either. Before she came to power last year, the South American giant finally seemed to be crawling into the society of serious nations. Although an old-school liberal himself, Ms. Rousseff's predecessor, former President Lula da Silva, took some big strides to improve Brazil's business climate and standing among investors by updating infrastructure, working collaboratively with international nongovernmental organizations and pushing a moderately pro-growth economic agenda. The perception of progress helped Brazil win the 2016 Olympic games and the 2014 World Cup, a crowning achievement for a soccer-mad people.
Ms. Rousseff has taken an abrupt fiscal U-turn, however, by clamping down on markets, instituting miles of new red tape and ramping up government spending. Like in Obama's America, the result has been dramatic economic decline. During the height of the Lula administration, confidence in Brazil's direction led to predictions of long-term economic growth rates of 5 percent and higher. But under the new statist direction of the governing coalition led by Ms. Rousseff's Workers' Party, the economy has tanked, with 2011's gross domestic product only growing by 2.7 percent, the lowest in South America.
Amazonian mischief is of interest to Americans because Brasilia's stranglehold on its people and economy offers a cautionary tale about the threat unrestrained government power poses to democracy. The increasing persecution of the conservative group Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) exposes the dangers of dissent in the rapidly secularizing world. Founded in the 1960s to fight communism and promote traditional values, the TFP - which is well-known in Washington circles for its active U.S. affiliate - is Brazil's leading opponent against leftist priorities such as abortion, censorship and regulations that inhibit private-property rights. Because it stands in the way of Big Brother, the government has gone after the TFP. Most recently, the Superior Tribunal of Justice, one of Brazil's upper-level courts, ruled in favor of a splinter group, the Heralds of the Gospel. The move, which occurred under strong pressure from church authorities including the Vatican's apostolic nuncio, is effectively gagging the TFP by handing its assets over to liberal dissidents.
This tale matters because Brazil is now the world's sixth-largest economy and a leader of the coalition of second-tier states looking to extract revenge for years of perceived Western "first world" imperialism. The narrative mirrors Mr. Obama's kneejerk "Blame America First" worldview. Brasilia also shows how left-wing bureaucracies mobilize to stifle dissent through censorship and confiscation of property when faced with public opposition. This week's confab between Mr. Obama and Ms. Rousseff was more than a photo-op for two leftists whispering about what the world could be if they had more power. It's about what the world is already becoming.
The Washington Times
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
By Joy Overbeck
Redemption by government is futile
Get Breaking Alerts
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
Recent Letters to the Editor
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Probe Boston teen's medical, custody case
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bundy support a modern-day Tiananmen protest
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An honorable president would resign
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bundy support demonstrates voters' distrust
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obamacare disasters were avoidable