Monday, December 17, 2018

Joe Biden's Take on Latin America

Joe Biden has an op-ed in Americas Quarterly about the erosion of U.S. leadership in Latin America. I can quibble with his argument (e.g. excessive focus on the "geopolitical rivals" thing and how virtuous we are is not the best way to think about China and Russia) but there are a lot of good points. Terrible immigration policy is a problem. Antagonizing allies makes no sense. Undermining CICIG is a major policy failure. I also agree with this assessment about Venezuela:

Yet, even sensible efforts by this administration to exert pressure on Maduro and Ortega have been undermined by politicization, faulty execution and clunky sloganeering. Stronger diplomatic efforts and intensified sanctions on Venezuela have been clouded by saber-rattling and misguided efforts to engage with coup plotters. Similar responses to the civil unrest and state repression earlier this year in Nicaragua produced little in the way of results as that country settles into an intolerable “new normal.” This administration has demonstrated its willingness to capitalize politically on crises, but actions like its continued deportation of Venezuelans and the attempted revocation of “temporary protected status” for Nicaraguans demonstrate little concern for the Venezuelan or Nicaraguan people.
The Trump administration has been committing lots of own goals that were all preventable. Regional "leadership" is a vague term but at a minimum it should mean genuine desire to make people's lives better. The U.S. has not always been good at this, or at least its vision has been twisted. But with the Trump administration it seems absent.

Incidentally, it appears to be a coincidence but Biden published this op-ed on the same day four years ago that the Obama administration announced its major changes in Cuba policy. So much has changed since then.

Boz also took a look at it.


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