If you want to know where Trump's America is headed, pay close attention to where Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro is going as he takes office today.
Brazilians signaled a desire for a radical shift in the country’s course when they elected the far-right lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro as their next president in October.
It didn’t take long for profound changes to start taking hold.
In the weeks leading up to Mr. Bolsonaro’s swearing-in on Tuesday, his embrace of a conservative movement that rejects discussion of gender or sexual orientation in schools thrust classrooms to the front lines of culture wars.
Under his direction, Brazil pulled out of hosting the 2019 United Nations summit meeting on climate change and began backtracking from its role as a global exemplar of environmentally sustainable development.
And on the foreign policy front, Mr. Bolsonaro courted the United States and picked a fight with Cuba, which responded by rescinding a program that had sent Cuban doctors to remote corners of Brazil since 2013.
There is considerable uncertainty about how closely President Bolsonaro will resemble the gruff, indignant and uncompromising candidate who ran as a political outsider and pulled off a long-shot victory by promising to dismantle a culture of corruption and use draconian means to restore security.
All of this should sound very familiar.
“I would rather they murder 200,000 thugs,” the future president is seen saying about the police in a clip that is part of the expletive-laden video.
Over the weekend, Mr. Bolsonaro announced he would issue an executive order allowing civilians without a criminal record to purchase weapons to keep at home or work for self-protection.
The policy would mark a significant departure from Brazil’s onerous rules for gun ownership, and experts said it would probably exacerbate carnage in the country, which last year had a record 63,880 killings. A poll released on Sunday by the research firm Datafolha found that 61 percent of Brazilians were opposed to relaxing gun ownership rules.
Mr. Bolsonaro’s promises to ease weapons regulations have already meant brisk business for gun ranges as aficionados sign up for practice. They also boosted the stock price of Taurus Armas, Brazil’s main gun manufacturer.
The image captured the high hopes Mr. Bolsonaro and his team have for closer ties with the United States: After Mr. Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo Bolsonaro wrapped up meetings at the White House during a November trip designed to lay the groundwork for a relationship, the president’s son wore a “Trump 2020” campaign hat.
The Trump administration has returned the praise, calling Mr. Bolsonaro a “like-minded” leader on whom Washington hopes to rely as it tries to curb China’s growing influence in the region and put more pressure on Venezuela’s authoritarian government.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will lead the American delegation at Mr. Bolsonaro’s swearing-in ceremony in Brasília.
That should tell you everything you need to know right there. Trump showed Bolsonaro how to get to the top, now Bolsonaro will show Trump how to bring his enemies to the bottom. Fascism is on the rise across the world, and America is on the wrong side of history.
So is Brazil.