One of the latest crazes is to argue that China is "challenging" the United States in Latin America, and this is something the U.S. government needs to address (exactly how is rarely explained). So Reuters cries out:
China's growing economic stake in the region may one day raise a threat to Washington's strategic dominance too as its deep pockets bring new friends.
They toss that "may" in there as a qualifier, but the overall tone is very clear. I am skeptical, and agree with those who argue that China cannot very easily displace U.S. influence, no matter how much money it throws at Latin America. Plus, China mostly wants commodities and market access for its goods, neither of which "raises a threat to Washington's strategic dominance."
But wait, the end of the article acknowledges that China is viewed warily in Latin America:
Brazil's new government under President Dilma Rousseff has already taken a much cooler stance toward China than her predecessor, aiming to address a lopsided relationship that has seen imports of Chinese goods quintuple since 2005.
Tensions also surfaced with Argentina last year when China, in apparent anger over protectionist moves, boycotted soyoil shipments for six months.
And Chinese companies often face challenges winning local support for their projects in Peru, which critics worry will cause pollution or use scarce water resources.
In other words, the story contradicts itself, but sadly the lurid headline about losing clout in Latin America is what many people will remember.