Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More thoughts on Latin American non-alignment

In response to yesterday's post, I received an email from John Hyatt, a former student of mine, who wrote that he thought Argentina might be another example of a country balancing Venezuela and the U.S. That is entirely logical.

It seems that the more hysterical the U.S. becomes about Chávez, the more Latin American countries have to gain, because it gives them leverage. Thus, a former UN Ambassador writes an Op-Ed (via The Latin Americanist) decrying the relationship between Chávez and Kirchner:

Kirchner must understand that any alliance with Chavez will be costly. The new Argentina-Venezuela axis should serve as a wake-up call to President Bush. Democracy is at risk in Latin America.

Kirchner can take this to the bank. The Bush administration already knows it has limited power to punish Argentina economically, and it needs allies in South America. So Kirchner can take Chávez’s money and even vote for him in the UN, then go to the U.S., talk nicely, and get something in return.

It reminds me a bit of World War II, when the U.S. courted southern cone governments because they had important natural resources (especially Chile’s copper) and were close to Germany. Argentina and Chile delayed declaring war, using their leverage as much as possible.


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