Brazilian military leaders consider France to be their country’s biggest threat over the next 20 years as a result of disputes surrounding the Amazon rainforest, according to a leaked document published by Brazilian media this weekend.
The document, published by left-wing newspaper Folha de São Paulo, allegedly detailed the view of many of Brazil’s senior military officials that France could demand a United Nations intervention within the next two decades to gain control of indigenous lands within the Amazon rainforest.
France borders Brazil through its possession of French Guiana.
Entitled “Defence scenarios 2040,” the 45-page-long document is allegedly based on interviews with 500 highly-ranking army officers, who gave their perspectives on the challenges facing Brazil’s national security. The interviews were allegedly taken as research to write Brazil’s upcoming National Security Strategy, to be published in the summer.
The French embassy in Brasilia jokingly praised the “limitless imagination of its authors.”
“We learned from the press that France appears in a report by the Brazilian Ministry of Defense as a future threat to Brazil,” the Embassy said in a statement. “Armed forces in all countries often carry out this type of scenario analysis exercise. However, we welcome the limitless imagination of the authors of this report.”
— France au Brésil (@franceaubresil) February 7, 2020
“The fact is that Brazil is our main strategic partner in Latin America and France has maintained daily, close and friendly cooperative relations with the Brazilian Armed Forces for decades,” it continued.
Folha claimed that the document included other “somewhat delirious hypotheses,” including the prospect of a coronavirus attack against the 2039 Rock in Rio music festival by “Southeast Asian ultranationalists.”
Tensions between Brazil and France broke out last year after French President Emmanuel Macron attacked his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro over his supposed lack of response to images of wildfires across the Amazon, while also insisting that the international community should be allowed to intervene in an attempt to reduce their impact.
Macron proposed a $20 million donation from G7 states, an offer firmly rejected by Bolsonaro. Chief of Staff Onyx Lorenzon accused the French leader of having a “colonialist” mindset and failing to address problems in his own country. There are various French military operations taking place around the world, principally across the Middle East and Africa, where it is supporting U.S.-led efforts against the Islamic State and its various terror proxies including Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab.
— FRANCE 24 (@FRANCE24) February 9, 2020
The document lists four separate strategic scenarios where countries could present a military threat to Brazil, all of which are based on the closeness of the country’s relationship with the United States. Among the identified scenarios include a military conflict with the Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela, a military intervention of Bolivia’s Santa Cruz de la Sierra aimed at protecting Brazilian farmers, and a potential conflict with China over Beijing’s increased interference in Latin American affairs.