The White House has announced that Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro will visit with President Trump on March 19th for bilateral discussions. The media are framing the visit around the ongoing crisis within Venezuela; however, there’s also an important element as it relates to the panda dance.
President Donald Trump and President Jair Bolsonaro both have a strong nationalist perspective and share a common geopolitical outlook.
Yes, it’s true the turmoil in Venezuela is a likely top issue for discussion, but the U.S. and Brazil are now aligned with a commonality toward China…. and it just so happens the U.S. and Brazil are #1 and #2 in production of China’s number one import, soy beans.
China has an almost unquenchable thirst for soybeans, which are crushed to make cooking oil and used in the protein-rich animal feed ingredient soymeal. The U.S. is the worlds largest producer of soybeans at 108 million metric tonnes. Brazil is the second largest producer with around 87 million metric tonnes.
In July 2018, when China initially wanted to strike back against the U.S. for import tariffs, Beijing initially tried to boycott U.S. soybeans and purchase their needs from Brazil and Argentina; However, that didn’t last too long. There’s just not enough global production of soybeans to supply all of China’s needs without the U.S.
At a critical juncture in the U.S-China trade negotiations; and with China seeming to slip back into manipulative dragon-mode recently; the timing for a Trump and Bolsonaro summit couldn’t be better…. almost, well, as if it were by design.
Bolsonaro was elected in 2018 and his upcoming visit to Washington comes as Brazil’s border with Venezuela has become a flashpoint in the ongoing political crisis facing the oil-rich country and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Brazil has sided with the U.S. in supporting Venezuela’s opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the legitimate head of state.
Food and medicine shortages under Maduro’s rule have caused a flood of Venezuelans to flee across the border into neighboring countries. The U.S. has sent relief supplies to the region but the political and economic crisis shows no signs of ending soon.
According to the White House, Trump and Bolsonaro are also expected to discuss trade issues and military ties between the two countries. (read more)
In the dance with the dragon, always watch the more subtle gestures.