Brazil under Bolsonaro: A Different Form of “Hybrid War”

Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil’s long-running Hybrid War crisis never really went away, it just took a few months for it to change form and turn against its original initiators after they failed to close the Pandora’s Box of regime change protest potential that they opened at the US’ behest.

The Bolsonaro government is coming under intense grassroots pressure as two crises continue to converge within the country and threaten to spiral out of the authorities’ control. An estimated 45 million people just participated in a massive strike over the weekend against the proposed neoliberal pension reforms that would increase both the age of retirement and contributions for ordinary workers, which tens of millions of people feel is unfair but which the state says is needed in order to fix the failing system that it inherited as a result of its predecessors’ corrupt mismanagement. Brazil has a history of seemingly irreconcilable political polarization between the Left and Right like all Latin American countries do, but this fault line was exacerbated to the fullest extent throughout the course of the long-running Hybrid War on Brazil, which was waged via the NSA-facilitated “Operation Car Wash” that served as a pretext for carrying out a preplanned pro-American regime change that represented the crowning achievement of Obama’s “Operation Condor 2.0” and made Trump’s “Fortress America” hemispheric vision possible.

In layman’s terms, American intelligence agencies meddled in Brazil’s democracy by selectively leaking purported evidence of serious corruption by the then-ruling party, which predictably set into motion a self-sustaining inquisitional cycle that led to Rousseff’s impeachment, Lula’s imprisonment, and ultimately Bolsonaro’s “dark horse” victory after he was presented to the people as the only non-corrupt candidate capable of restoring order out of the chaos that the socialists were blamed for causing. This externally triggered regime change was intended to create the domestic political conditions that were thought to make a Leftist revival impossible in the future and thereby indefinitely perpetuate the restoration of US influence in Brazil, with the Right’s victory legitimized at the ballot after the majority of the population was successfully led by these foreign-manufactured events to conclude that Bolsonaro was the only person capable of changing the system. Upon entering office, he did exactly as he promised and began to push forward his controversial neoliberal reforms that provoked the latest strike.

Bolsonaro and his US buddies obviously underestimated the Left’s resilience and therefore weren’t prepared for the massive pushback that this move provoked, but the public’s anger last weekend was also fueled by The Intercept’s leaked revelations that “Operation Car Wash’s” top judge and the country’s current Justice Minister colluded with prosecutors to convict Lula and therefore prevent him from running for President (which in turn greatly facilitated Bolsonaro’s rise to power). Many Brazilians had long suspected as much, but this was the first time that messages from a private Telegram group consisting of the regime change collaborators were made public to corroborate this theory. It’s important to point out that the conversation was leaked and not hacked, strongly suggesting dissident within the deepest ranks of the regime change movement for reasons that can only be speculated upon at this time but which nevertheless motivated the whistleblower to share the evidence in their possession with society in order to catalyze grassroots pressure against the government.

It’s therefore not an exaggeration to say that Brazil’s long-running Hybrid War crisis never really went away, it just took a few months for it to change form and turn against its original initiators after they failed to close the Pandora’s Box of regime change protest potential that they opened at the US’ behest. Bolsonaro’s rise to power was shady from the get-go and only made possibly by Lula’s conviction and the consequent banning of the country’s most popular political candidate from the presidential race, which has now been proven without any reasonable doubt to have been part of an actual conspiracy by some members of the permanent bureaucracy (“deep state”) against him. This throws into question the electoral legitimacy of Brazil’s latest leader and therefore sets up the scenario of having every one of his political moves invalidated if he’s ever removed from office on this pretext, including the controversial pension reform that he’s trying to push through. Naturally, the labor crisis is merging with the political one and creating a critical mass of regime change unrest.

Although some of the protesters are employing classic Color Revolution tactics during their anti-government demonstrations, this political technology isn’t black and white because it could conceivably be used by anyone in pursuit of any end. In this case, the nascent movement has the same regime change objective as its pro-American antecedent and is similarly relying on overwhelming popular support to legitimize its goals, albeit the defining difference in this Hybrid War is that it isn’t tied to any foreign power (both in terms of its inception and development unlike “Operation Car Wash”) except if one cynically traces its origin to the US’ NSA meddling many years ago. In fact, what’s happening in Brazil right now is nothing less than blowback against Bolsonaro after his conspiratorial US-backed rise to power and the consequent pension controversy that he’s since caused. The protest organizers want to return the country to the pre-crisis status quo of being led by Lula and the Left, though they might also embrace some mild reforms to appeal to the moderate Right that arose in recent years if they ever end up succeeding in reversing the effects of the US’ Hybrid War on Brazil.


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Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Articles by: Andrew Korybko

About the author:

Andrew Korybko est le commentateur politique étasunien qui travaille actuellement pour l’agence Sputnik. Il est en troisième cycle de l’Université MGIMO et auteur de la monographie Guerres hybrides: l’approche adaptative indirecte pour un changement de régime(2015).

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