Sunday, November 13, 2011

The US and Latin America

Charles Shapiro at UCSD's Institute of the Americas has an op-ed in the Miami Herald about how the United States ignores Latin America. I recently commented on another similar type of argument, and have the same reaction. I do not agree that Latin America's reaching out to Asia and other parts of the globe have much to do with the United States. That process was occurring regardless of what the U.S. did.

One of my objections to these arguments is that they implicitly (or perhaps even explicitly) suggest that if the U.S. had somehow paid more attention, it could have prevented China from becoming more influential. I don't see how. Does anyone really believe that if the U.S. Congress had ratified the Colombia FTA in 2006, that China would be less influential?

Such an assertion is too U.S.-centric for my taste. China wants commodities and will pay well for them. The United States cannot do anything about that capitalist reality. If George W. Bush had paid tons of attention to Latin America, that reality would not have changed one iota.


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