Obama And Latin America

No doubt Latin and South America are crucial areas and economies for United States interests. With an important free-trade deal on the table with Colombia (and possibly Panama), Brazil as an emerging power and a stable, modern Chile, the region shouldn't be ignored. Unfortunately for America, like in Africa, China (and even India) is a competing actor and President Obama's recent trip there may have done little to solidify the American position.

From World Policy Institute:

“He has not inspired the region,” said Birns, “and this trip will be forgotten in a millisecond.” After one day back in Washington, it seems that it has.

Indeed, no sooner had he left Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff sided with China and not the United States concerning Libya.

Obama sprouted the usual fluff towards South America. One gets the feeling it was more dazzle than substance. It was long on rhetoric and short on actual proposals and solutions for different issues.

"To lead military action in Libya with vague declarations about democracy and freedom from Rio leaves much to be desired in terms of leadership. Gary Sick, a senior research scholar at the Middle East Institute at Columbia University, said that no country can serve as a model for democracy for another country. “Egypt can’t be a model for Yemen; Bahrain can’t be a model for Libya.” He added that South American democracies certainly couldn’t be a model because in addition to political differences, “it’s a totally different culture.”

I agree. What's happening in the Middle-East is particular to that region and its people. It can inspire but it can't be a "model."

Still, one can't under estimate the visit. Despite the fleeting speeches, South America was eagerly awaiting some attention from the U.S. Enough for Argentina to have been miffed about the fact Obama skipped visiting Buenos Aires.


  1. What is democratic in one country may not be in another. Power and the exercize of power are contingent upon every country and it's citizens culture and traditions. No model is exportable. Trying to impose the U.S. way is a losing proposition as was trying to impose the Russian way as they have painfully found out.
    In the U.S. and Canada the British way evolved from a common trunk into systems yet alike but different. Other regions never had that seed implanted or if put in contact with it rejected it.

  2. I agree, although the Americans invented their own system with little British Parliamentarian elements. To the Americans, the British were tyrants.

    We assumed the British position...not surprising since we were once expected to take over the empire.

  3. Maybe the Foriegn Office dreamed of it but I doubt any truly Canadian government ever entertained that dream.

  4. Actually, it's the British who believed that.

    We just were to colonial and allergic to greatness to try and give it a go.

    Plus we were too small in the end.

  5. I was walking about Britain's Foreign Office not ours.

  6. Misunderstood. Apologies.

    It's all moot now anyway.


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