Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Putin Trolls Tillerson in Latin America

First China trolled Rex Tillerson. Now Russia is, with a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

The main takeaway is that the Monroe Doctrine continues to hold sway in Washington, even though it will turn 200 years old fairly soon, in 2023. The world has changed significantly over the years, but the America-for-Americans principle appears to be alive and well. 
Like President James Monroe in his time, Secretary Tillerson cited Russia to justify his conceptual framework, and so we would like to express our view of the region without arguing “by contradiction.”

Boom! The Russians know their history.

There's plenty of flowery nonsense in the statement.

Russia’s relations with Latin American countries are based on substantial shared interests, such as the commitment to the principles of multilateral diplomacy embodied in the UN’s activities, protection and assertion of national sovereignty, and promotion of sustainable development.

Yeah, right. The Russians are not known for their interest in diplomacy and protection of sovereignty, and ideology matters a lot, especially with Cuba and Venezuela, where Russia takes great glee in tweaking the U.S. But the Russians know better than Tillerson what history means in Latin America and they shove his nose in it.

The liberator (as he is referred to in Latin America) Simon Bolivar said that all states have the right to choose their own particular system of government, and other states must respect this choice. The Secretary of State will have the chance to read this eternally relevant quote, when he is in Bogota, at the main entrance to San Carlos Palace, which now houses the Colombian Foreign Ministry. It rings as true as ever today, including in relation to the situation in Venezuela and the dynamics of internal life in Cuba. The experience of half-a-century of US embargo failed to convince only the most obstinate individuals that sanctions pressure will not work against freedom-loving countries and peoples.

Mr. Secretary, make sure you get your historical references straight before the next trip.


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