Tuesday, November 27, 2018

DoD's Take on Latin America

Here is an interesting contrast. Secretary of Defense James Mattis talking at SOUTHCOM:

“To some who look around the globe, the last two years might have seemed like bad ones for democracy. But not so when I look at our hemisphere,” Mattis said. “From Ottawa to Buenos Aires to Santiago, we increasingly find an island of hemispheric opportunity and democratic stability, amidst a churning and ever-changing global sea.”
And then outgoing commander Admiral Kurt Tidd, who prefaced it by saying he would be more candid:
"Gang violence is rampant and growing across Central America, and is spreading from major South American cities into transnational groupings. Illegal armed groups and transnational organized crime are carving out tacit control of swaths of territory, pushing out state and local governments,” Adm. Tidd said. “This produced wide swaths of under-governed or semi-governed spaces, which have become centers of corruption, of economic hopelessness, of illegitimate power centers that have already eaten away at the fabric of many societies, co-opting ruling elites and businessmen.”
Mattis' take is not what you would call a common one. But I have also noted in the past how Tidd overemphasized Middle Eastern terrorism and Russia's threat in Latin America. What he says is certainly true in some places, but it's not everywhere. For Tidd, the glass is not half empty, it is totally empty and smashed on the ground.


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