Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Latin America in Middle East Terms

As a Latin Americanist, it is frustrating to have a congressional representative who thinks of Latin America primarily in terms of being a staging ground for Iran. His latest Facebook post asserts that Iran has a "footprint" in Latin America as well as in the Middle East. He actually argues that the Iran deal will increase the Iranian threat to the U.S. in Latin America. In general, he has viewed Latin America almost exclusively in Middle East terms.

Fortunately, I think this particular view is not widely shared--there are plenty of proponents but they're (currently) at the margins. Beyond the lack of evidence, though, there is the troubling tendency to propose Latin America policy without thinking at all of Latin America. This is a very Cold War-esque way of thinking. Whether or not a particular policy makes sense takes a back seat to whether it fits a prevailing narrative in some other part of the world. This leads to gross inflation of threat perception, which in turn leads to more bad policy.


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