Trump suggests admitting Brazil to NATO alliance

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President Trump said Tuesday he plans to designate Brazil as a major non-NATO ally and raised the possibility that the South American nation could eventually join the NATO alliance.

Trump announced his intention to upgrade the status of the relationship between the U.S. and Brazil during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden alongside Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. 

Trump said he would make Brazil “a major non-NATO ally or even possibly, if you start thinking about it, maybe a NATO ally.” He acknowledged he would have to talk to “a lot of people” about admitting Brazil to the group.

{mosads}NATO would have to invite Brazil to join. Currently, the only Latin American nation affiliated with NATO is Colombia, which became one of the alliance’s “global partners,” meaning it would not necessarily have to engage in military action.

Trump has criticized NATO in the past over disproportionate burden sharing.

In the meantime, Brazil will receive major non-NATO ally status. Trump said the designation will “greatly advance security and cooperation between our countries.”

“President Bolsonaro, I will tell you that we’ll be consulting and talking a lot,” Trump said. “We’ll be working on all of our both problems and assets, and we’re making tremendous strides. We had a great meeting today.”

Sixteen other countries have major non-NATO ally status, including South Korea, Australia, Argentina and Kuwait. The designation makes it easier for those countries to purchase U.S. weapons and collaborate on other security issues.

Trump added during a press conference that he backs Brazil’s effort’s to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Tuesday marked Bolsonaro’s first visit to the U.S. since his election last year and his inauguration in January.

Bolsonaro has earned the nickname Trump of the Tropics and has attempted to align himself closely with Trump’s style and policies. The Brazilian leader has echoed Trump’s “fake news” line of attack toward the press, and his campaign slogan of “Brazil First” also mirrored Trump’s “America First” tag line.

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