Tuesday, August 20, 2019

U.S. Response to China in Latin America

Carlos Roa at The National Interest takes a look at China's relations with Latin America and what the U.S. can do. FYI, ignore the annoying headline--it's not about "losing" Latin America (just Google "losing Latin America" to see what a click-baity cliché this is).

He makes one point that is especially worth emphasizing:

Washington’s political establishment will have to confront its own ideological assumptions—particularly those that inform its approach towards geo-economics. Doing so will require overcoming a long-held aversion to state-led economic initiatives and the notion that the free market holds unquestionable authority over matters of economics and finance. 
This hits the nail on the head. U.S. economic policy has been driven by expanding the private sector as much as possible in Latin America, which often cuts against what Latin American leaders want. Plus, the U.S. long ago lost credibility in this area given the state-led response to the 2008 economic crisis, which stood in sharp contrast to prior U.S. insistence that Latin America allow markets to readjustment themselves while millions suffered.

Roa goes into the ways in which China has increased Latin American indebtedness to its own advantage, pushed to increase Latin American dependence on Chinese suppliers, and increased its export of manufactured goods. What's worth pointing out here is that this is exactly what the U.S. has done in the past. We're mad now because the Chinese are using our own model, which for years tightened dependent ties. Now, as they loosen and Latin America becomes more autonomous, it's a source of frustration and a sense of "losing." It's now not just about being friendly again. It's completely rethinking how the U.S. relates to the region, which needs to be much more on its terms.


shah8 2:55 AM  

But don't worry, once we own Greenland...

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