The departure of one ally and the disappointment of another at the failure of another made the (non-party) President Jair Bolsonaro a little more lonely figure on the international stage last week.
Withdrawn from power after 12 years by the most unlikely political coalition ever formed in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the last and closest ideological partners of the Brazilian president.
In Peru, Keiko Fujimori, narrowly beaten by a left-wing opponent, would certainly give Bolsonaro a boost after Bibi’s defeat.
The Brasilia-Lima alliance could create a far-right axis in South America, with the potential to attract the interest of the struggling Colombian president, Iván Duque, and possibly even the new center-right Ecuadorian leader. , Guillermo Lasso.
It would be a barrier of geographic containment for socialist Venezuela in the north and a counterpoint to Argentinian influence in the south. Pedro Castillo’s virtual victory, however, in addition to breathing life into the Venezuelan dictatorship, leaves Bolsonaro without many options on whom to turn on the continent.
It seems comical to think that a little over two years ago, then-candidate Bolsonaro sought to model himself on Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, a businessman, representative of the moderate right and who accepts the rules of the democratic game.
Today, however, Piñera is looking to keep a safe distance from Bolsonaro, aware that his association with the Brazilian is negative for him internally. The same caution adopts another more moderate (or at least non-extremist) right-hander, Uruguayan Luis Lacalle Pou.
On the continent, Bolsonaro maintains relations with the Paraguayan Mario Abdo Benítez, whose economy is totally dependent on that of Brazil, and to a lesser extent, of the Colombian Duque.
The somewhat surprising victory of Ecuadorian Lasso, against two leftists, was celebrated by the Brazilian government, but it is still too early to identify an automatic roster.
In other parts of the world, the scene is no less melancholy for Bolsonaro. One by one, the allies left the scene, the most important being, of course, the American Donald Trump.
Before, the Italian Matteo Salvini and the Argentinian Mauricio Macri had already lost power.
In Europe, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who could face an unprecedented opposition coalition in next year’s elections, and the populist leaders of the Czech Republic and Poland are aligned with Bolsonaro.
The Polish case is emblematic, and its influence could grow with the Brazilian government with the vacuum created by Netanyahu’s departure.
Bolsonaro is an open admirer of the European country’s recent conservative actions in defense of the traditional family, opposition to abortion, and war on big tech companies for allegedly persecuting right-wingers.
Another pillar that Bolsonaro can still cling to is India, also with a nationalist and conservative government that uses the tactics of radicalizing discourse against opponents to keep its social base energized.
Like his Brazilian counterpart, Prime Minister Narenda Modi has been accused of downplaying the pandemic and neglecting to tackle the disease. He’s another who could become Bolsonaro’s new best friend now that Bibi is no longer on the scene.
Although he is currently isolated, Bolsonaro could reap good news internationally until the end of his term.
In France, ultra-nationalist Marine Le Pen will run for the presidency for the third time, and polls indicate that this is his best chance of victory, against centrist Emmanuel Macron.
In Italy, the government of Mario Draghi, with a technocratic profile, is politically unstable, and a new election could take place soon, with the possibility of the rehabilitation of Salvini, former deputy prime minister.
Even in Israel, contact with new prime minister, right-wing Naftali Bennett, could evolve into a close relationship, although the presence of leftists in his coalition should prevent a repeat of the camaraderie with Bolsonaro that previously existed.
After being removed from power by a vote, Trump remains active politically, dreaming of returning to it in 2024. His abrupt departure from the White House has not alienated the Trumpists from the pocketnarists, who are in contact, for example, in the part of Cpac, the largest conservative event in the United States, which already had a Brazilian edition.
In Israel, Netanyahu is expected to play the same role as the leader of the opposition, and ties with the Brazilian president must not be completely severed after years of intense interactions.
The difference is that Bolsonaro must now be careful to maintain relations with his exes, now in the opposition, so as not to offend countries with which Brazil has strategic interests. But, as we know, prudence in the diplomatic arena is not its strong point.