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An End to U.S. Hegemony? The Strategic Implications of China's Growing Presence in Latin America
Francisco De Santibañesa a Department of War Studies, King's College, London, London, UK

To cite this Article De Santibañes, Francisco(2009) 'An End to U.S. Hegemony? The Strategic Implications of China's

Growing Presence in Latin America', Comparative Strategy, 28: 1, 17 — 36 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/01495930802679728 URL:

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An End to U.S. Hegemony? The Strategic Implications of China’s Growing Presence in Latin America
Department of War Studies King’s College, London London, UK
The lack of attention that the United States is paying to Latin America, on the one hand, and the growing levels of economic and political influence China is gaining in the Southern Cone, on the other, are increasing the number of disputes between states and allowing governments to distance themselves from Washington. This scenario might allow Beijing to obtain new allies in its global competition with the U.S. and put an end to the latter’s hegemony in the Western Hemisphere—endangering, then, American security. If the United States wants to avoid this, it will have to increase its links with states such as Brazil and Argentina.

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“. . . the American continent, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European power . . . ” President Monroe’s 1823 State of the Union Address.1 The passage above marked the emergence of the United States as a world power. Although in 1823 the young republic was not ready to impede Europeans from intervening in the Western Hemisphere, the Monroe Doctrine did set a strategy that would transform the U.S. into the only state able to maintain control its own continent.2 In effect, throughout the twentieth century the Western Hemisphere has accepted, explicitly or implicitly, America’s military domain over it. During World War I and World War II, for instance, no major nation dared to support an enemy of Washington, while many of them even fought at its side. Later, Latin Americans would oppose the Soviet Union under the political and military umbrella that was provided by the multilateral institutions the U.S. helped to create in the aftermath of World War II, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (IATRA), at a regional level, and the United Nations (UN) at a global level, to mention just a few. The American influence, however, was not limited to security matters. Latin American nations also received investments from U.S. companies, while their governments acquired, on a regular basis, credits from financial institutions in which Washington was the main shareholder. Even more, access to the consumer market of the United States fueled the growth of many economies, including those of Mexico and Brazil, while the dollar became the currency of choice both for individuals and central banks to save their assets. Naturally, all these links made Latin Americans vulnerable to foreign pressure. Then, the collapse of the socialism, as the only alternative to capitalism, created the conditions for the economic reforms of the 1990s. The Washington consensus—as the sum 17
Comparative Strategy, 28:17–36, 2009 Copyright © 2009 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC 0149-5933/08 $12.00 + .00 DOI: 10.1080/01495930802679728

The second part consists of a short description of the economic. Whether this will happen will depend. Even more. Actually. and political ties that the PRC has recently established with the Latin American nations. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is. The presence of China in the Western Hemisphere might. as a matter of fact. we might be moving toward a continent divided into two camps: a northern region that will remain under the economic and political control of the United States and a Southern Cone more inclined to join China’s sphere of influence.–Latin American relations even more. Meanwhile. is today. . This scenario would allow the PRC to counterbalance the American presence in Northeast Asia by having its own allies in the Western Hemisphere. the Bush administration has not paid enough attention to what is happening in the Western Hemisphere. military. some nations might be tempted to change their loyalties from the Americans to the Chinese in search of the financial and military resources they might need to strengthen their positions.S. is to bring to the attention of the reader the strategic significance of a region that. would endanger American security. becoming a more important trade partner for some of these economies than the U. de Santiba˜ es n of these policies were call—promoted free trade and the reception of investments from the developed world. But now the status quo seems to be changing. once unleashed. the flow of short-term capital to the region and threaten the stability of entire countries. as the number of visits paid by Chinese political and military officials shows. especially those situated at its Southern Cone. The White House’s agenda toward the area has been reduced to discussing subjects such as drug trafficking. to a great degree. making them less dependent of the Americans. As a result of the reduction in Washington’s involvement in the region. just in a few hours. Finally. These transformations strengthened U. might someday become critical. decisions taken by the Federal Reserve Board could reduce. proposals in international forums. while the political and military links between the continent and China have also gained momentum. Next.S. The more specific aims of this study are to analyze how the developments explained above are affecting both regional security and American long-term interests. consistently has been overlooked by academics and policymakers alike. although not urgent. a review about the events that have marked the American retreat from the region is presented. disputes among Latin American states have grown dramatically. China’s increasing demand for commodities is promoting the economic growth of many Latin American nations. From then on. The first section discusses some of the literature in the field of international relations that might be useful in analyzing this issue. be seeding the field for a series of political alliances that. then. in recent years. recent history shows us that to preserve this condition. If this trend continues. this work evaluates some of the strategic options Latin American states face and the policies Washington could implement if it wants to prevent them from establishing an alliance with China. on the willingness American policymakers to implement a coherent and active policy toward their hemisphere.3 Latin Americans have reacted to the lack of a stronger commitment by reducing their links with the American economy and opposing U. indeed. illegal immigration and a—modest—expansion of free trade.18 F.S. The main objective of this article. the Western Hemisphere. distracted by the Iraq War and its fight against al Qaeda. Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 Global Context One of the most important aspects of the international system is the fact that United States is the only state that controls the region of the world in which it is located—in this case. This article suggests that the strategic consequences of these new developments.

Beijing might try to do the same in the Western Hemisphere by selecting a key ally to disrupt America’s regional hegemony. An action that might be defensive in its nature. have mentioned Mexico.China’s Presence in Latin America 19 and prevent other states from achieving regional hegemony. Washington still considers these states to be potential rivals.10 But a conflict between China and the U. will depend on the balance of power between these two states and the other members of the international system at a given time. any Latin American state dare to defy American power and establish an alliance with China? Stephen Walt’s balance of threat theory provides a good starting point to answer this question.5 Furthermore. The first objective of China in its search for security is to become the hegemon force of Northeast Asia. But things are now changing. In fact. each state will decide either to balance or to submit to a raising state.S. American participation in World War I and World War II. and Argentina as three states that.S. the first Gulf War can be interpreted as an effort by the Untied States to put a stop to Iraq’s attempt to transform itself into the hegemonic power of the Middle East. perceiving itself as a victim of the system of alliances created by Washington in Northeast Asia. Beijing is establishing alliances in the Middle East with nations that the United States describes as “rogue” states.4 Although the Soviet Union did represent a challenge to American hegemony for a time. power. China’s raising power. After making its own calculations. however. states that the PRC has increased military spending by 10 percent every year since 1996. might. and this is making its neighbors feel threatened. and however well calculated these steps might be. Whether a state will choose to balance an emerging hegemon. reach Latin America. Thus. If China continues to grow at rates similar to those that permitted it to multiply its GDP fourfold since 1978. there is always the danger that growing misconceptions and misperceptions about the nature of the actions states are taking might create high levels of uncertainty. The role played by the British Empire . might not be limited to Asia or the Middle East and could.–Chinese relations is Asia.11 Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 Conceptual Mark Would. while the U. at least. be perceived by Taiwan as an offensive move that can start a war that was not wished by anyone.8 The most difficult region for U.7 But this process might create conflicts. such as China’s construction of a large submarine fleet. in the latter conflict. experts in the field of international relations—or. to prevent Japan becoming the hegemon of the AsiaPacific..9 Nevertheless. In the same way. in this way. the Chinese economy will eventually reach and even surpass the American one. with the only exception being 2003. continues to grow at smaller rates. those who consider themselves realists—have thought about disputes among states in terms of power.12 Traditionally.S. could be explained as a calculated effort to prevent Germany from becoming the European hegemon and. Taiwan.6 China’s militarization is a natural consequence of the need it has to protect its interests from potential rivals. Washington has intervened in world affairs. The 2006 Department of State’s Quadrennial Defense Report. they believe. eventually. and Australia all have taken steps to strength their military alliances and balance. might be able to balance U. A sign of this phenomenon is that the U. China’s links with nations such as Iran make the U.S.S. Authors such as John Mearsheimer. feel increasingly uncomfortable. the United States ultimately was able to prevent the emergence of a major rival throughout the twentieth century. While these dealings might come solely from the necessity China has to obtain more oil to maintain its economic growth. for example. for example.S. in the future. for instance. Brazil. China’s economic success is also being translated into political and military power. and that this will ultimately result in a conflict.

S.20 F.”13 Walt proposes four variables to measure the perceived levels of threat that a state poses to another: its aggregate strength (size of its economic capabilities. the geographic variable mentioned by Walt plays a determinant role in the formation of alliances. and offensive intentions. and so forth). to elaborate “a refinement of balance-of-power theory. Once this calculation is made. The case of the U. is different. geographical proximity. where security threats historically have not been high. A very weak state located next to a powerful nation. but this is even more the case in the Latin American context.—has made states in the Western Hemisphere accept American supremacy. in the Latin American context.14 What. If the Soviets had chosen to install nuclear weapons in Africa. the reaction of each state will differ.15 However. First. and China present to Latin America? Before answering this question there are some factors that should be noted. Thus. Washington will always prioritize the strategic aspects of its relations with Latin America because it knows that there is always be the possibility that one of its southern neighbors might.S. This imbalance of capabilities—together with the inexistence of an alternative world power with which to join forces against the U. states will not only try to balance against security threats but also against the possibility of losing their independence to major powers. two of the factors used to measure perceived levels of threat—offensive intentions and offensive capabilities—are closely related to proximity. In this way. Close political and cultural proximity may allow a state to penetrate another state’s political system and modify that nation’s foreign policy. The second point to be made is that geographic proximity should not be understood only as impacting the ability of states to move military forces from one place to another. If we apply Walt’s concepts to our own case study we will see that China and Latin America do not represent a security threat to each other. Walt believes that states do not decide to balance others by measuring their power but by calculating the level of threat they present. de Santiba˜ es n during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries could be considered a classical example of offshore balancing—joining other states to defeat either France or Germany when they had gained too much power on the continent. they are located too far away from each other for that to happen. population. represent a real threat to its national security. It was the proximity to the American coast that made the deployment of arms so dangerous. it is usually easier for a state to exercise its military strength over a country that is located near its borders. states will decide how to act. Let’s take the example of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. in fact. someday. Stephen Walt proposes a different approach. more significant. are the levels of threat that the U. states are able to become a force in the political systems of other nations. A state will show itself more offensively inclined toward a nation that is located closer to home than to a more distant one because the threat that a neighbor presents is. offensive capabilities.S. In a similar way. In this way he tries. While the most powerful states will be able to present some resistance to Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 . in his own words. Furthermore. might have no other option than to bandwagon—accepting the other state’s superiority—as the only possible way to protect its own security. while a more powerful state located further away might decide to balance the rising power by forming an alliance with other states. generally speaking. These kinds of actions might take place through the provision of funding to political parties or NGOs that share similar worldviews to those that are defended by the external power. In effect. Latin Americans also feel threatened by the giant they have to live with. the American reaction would have been quite different. but also as the level of political and cultural proximity between states. then. The asymmetry of power between the United States and its hemispheric neighbors is simply too important. a critical event because of the short distance that separates Cuba from the United States. for example.

In fact. in practice the power gap between the U. however. Trade theory allows us to understand why the economic relations between China and Latin America have grown so much. The overwhelming superiority of the U.S. in this way.. and that is hegemonic stability theory. the less powerful and the closer a Latin American state is to the American frontier the more it will tend to remain an ally of the U. and the other states had made true multilateralism impossible. Indeed. In short.. Overall productivity would increase and. Then it would be able to trade those same products for others that come from other nations and satisfy. In the Western Hemisphere. For instance. did not want to. under free trade. Take the present situation. it should be noted that. Sino-Latin American links. due to their exports to the Asian nation. seeing their patterns of trade being drastically modified. the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS) comply with this condition. indeed. Political and military relations have also gotten stronger with the passage of time. Although the rules of these institutions are supposed to give a similar weight to each of the member states. China’s Growing Presence in Latin America Although the emergence of China as a world power has been one of the most discussed topics in recent decades. The first of these institutions was created in 1959 with the goal of providing funds to foster economic development. perceive the PRC as a real threat to their development. the world economy would make important gains because without trade barriers each state would specialize in the goods that it produces best. have not been restricted only to trade. But there are other kinds of public goods that could also be provided by a hegemon. if that hegemon did not exist the cost of providing these goods would be too high. There is another theory of international relations that might bring some light to the question this paper tries to answer. Charles Kindleberger has studied the evolution of states through history and concluded that a hegemonic power can provide public goods that are beneficial for other states. Public goods can be delivered in a series of ways. and international security is one of them. . can use international organizations to serve this purpose as long as they remain under its control. including indirectly. the Great Depression was possible because there was no hegemon able or willing to stabilize the international economic system—Great Britain was not able to do it and the U. the demand of its population. with it. First of all. As a result.S. But let us focus first on the economic side of this partnership. has taken important steps toward the reduction of trade restrictions.S. while some countries in the region are enjoying remarkable rates of economic growth. during the last decades. global wealth.S. not much attention has been given to the dramatic changes this phenomenon is provoking in Latin America. while the second one has the aim of preserving the security of the hemisphere through the collective action of its members. a hegemon. the presence of hegemons explains the periods of economic stability that were reached during the pinnacle of the British Empire and during the American hegemony. such as Mexico. those that are weaker—either because of their poor economy or weak military—have no option other than to submit. while the most powerful states that are located further away from the hegemon will enjoy more independence in their behavior. others. such as the U.16 Instead.17 The international community has accepted the rationality of this argument and.S. Many economies are.China’s Presence in Latin America 21 Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 American pressure. military over all its potential competitors—together with its ability to deploy troops anywhere—discourages states from starting military campaigns with the goal of regional domination.

a higher proportion than from any other region of the world. and that country seems to be taking the steps necessary to do so. Moreover. Similarly. and $5 billion in the other. China has become a large exporter of manufactures to Latin America due to the comparative advantages its economy has in the production of goods that require large amounts of labor. imports from Latin America have grown 44 percent in each of the last four years. according to the Chinese minister of commerce.22 There are two joint ventures with Chilean mine companies. de Santiba˜ es n nations have concentrated their efforts on the goods for which they have a comparative advantage. in one case. clothing.23 Nevertheless. and soybean. The economies of China and those that are located in the Southern Cone of Latin America are particularly compatible with each other. their northern neighbors are confronting important challenges. Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 Political and Military Links But are these new economic ties. in a few years China will become the largest trade partner for most South American nations.19 The phenomenon can also be appreciated by analyzing bilateral trade figures. In effect.18 Recent trade data shows the magnitude of the changes that are taking place.21 Nevertheless. while with Argentina it went from fourteenth to fourth and in Brazil from sixteenth to third. Latin America is the region of the world. in exchange. First is the fact that the benefits that come from trading and receiving investments from the PRC might be opening a window of opportunity for Latin . The progressive openness of the global economy is then making commercial relations between these two partners look more and more as trade theory would predict: China is expanding the export of its manufactures to Latin America and importing. If the present trend continues. that represent an investment of $2 billion.1 billion the PRC can invest more. in 2004 it had already become its third-largest.20 Furthermore.22 F. with reserves reaching $795. commodities and natural resource-based manufactures such as copper.5 billion worth of goods from Latin America in 1990 to importing $22 billion in 2005. and toys. how will this happen? There are at least two factors to be considered. On the one hand. an hour worked in China is less expensive than one hour worked in any Latin American country. While most countries in the Southern Cone are benefiting from China’s new role in the world economy. as they also cannot compete with lower Chinese production costs. Mexican producers are suffering from competition with Chinese firms that have been able to take away from them large sectors of the American market and now are even penetrating Mexico. Latin America enjoys comparative advantages in the production of goods that require less labor and more use of the natural resources that are so abundant in that region of the world. Most Latin American leaders have also expressed an interest in Chinese foreign investment. such as textiles. outside Asia. China’s emergence as an economic power does not represent good news for all Latin American nations. By the end of 2004. positive for most nations. Chinese stock investment in Latin America had already reached $4. China has gone from importing only $2. trade flows are now reflecting this fact.62 billion. a figure that represents 14 percent of the total stock investment by the PRC outside its frontiers. Other Central American nations seem to confront the same problems. for example. iron-ore agglomerates. that receives the most Chinese investment. China also went from being Peru’s sixteenth-largest trade partner to reaching the second position. ever going to be translated into political commitments? And if they do. Chinese companies have signed important agreements with Latin American firms to extract and then transport commodities to China. While in 1990 China ranked as the thirtieth-largest commercial partner of Chile. indeed.

Western leaders do not have similar tools. friendly cooperative. fear of economic sanctions has been enough to make governments renounce the possibility of balancing Washington. is “widespread and growing every day. looking for a secure supply of the commodities its economy needs to maintain its growth rate. the economic resources Beijing Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 . Second. Latin Americans should.24 Even more. by strategic priorities. throughout the Cold War.25 Moreover.”26 However. The Chinese phenomenon. for instance. Yet. more time than President Bush spent in the region during that period. When they were in power there was no state able to offer an alternative alliance. In fact. mainly because Chineseproduced military equipment often is of low quality. General Bantz Craddock. unable to become a real substitute to the American presence—its economy was not particularly compatible with the Latin American. facilitate their movement away from the American sphere of influence. Zeng Qinghong.S. Chinese military authorities had undertaken twenty missions to Latin America. China’s Vice President. then. the PRC seems to be interested in settling broad agreements with other nations.S. be ready to compromise with the Chinese if they want to continue receiving the economic benefits that come from dealing with the Asian country. might provide the energy and the commodities the Chinese economy needs to survive. tend to be mercantilist. is entirely different. more than Dick Cheney spent during his entire first term in office. The possibility that a conflict with the U. The nature of the political relations with the new partners should then be strong enough for them to resist American pressure to join a sanctions regime. On China’s side of the relationship. as we have seen. given their desire to become more independent from the main “threat” they face. the links between the elaboration of economic and political policies are stronger in China than in the Western World. This new partnership could. The official system of cataloguing states as cooperative. such as oil. governments have had no other option than to bandwagon the U. In effect. one day. a natural outcome. President Hu Jintao spent a total of twelve days in Latin America. The number of state visits paid by the Chinese authorities to Latin America represents a clear sign of how fundamental this region has become to Beijing. This gives a certain leverage to the Chinese authorities when they have to address political questions with foreign dignitaries. the way the Chinese government decides to allocate investments abroad is guided. such as Salvador Allende in Chile and Juan Domingo Peron in Argentina. many times. Forces in Latin America. To conclude. might end with commercial sanctions on China creates incentives for its leadership to look for alternative trade partners that. because of the more fundamental role that private firms play in establishing economic relations with foreign states and individuals. says Craddock. while Latin Americans paid nine visits to the PRC. the attitudes toward commodities.S. there are political reasons for China’s interest in Latin America. The presence of the Chinese armed forces in the region. the Soviet Union remained a weak economy. saw their economies suffer important setbacks. through 2004. in effect. And those who have tried to do it anyway.China’s Presence in Latin America 23 Americans to end their historical dependence on Western markets. there are ways by which profitable economic relations might strengthen the political links that exist between partners. testified to the U. visited Latin America a total of nine days.S. On the other hand. Senate that. the possibility of receiving direct military assistance from China may not be particularly attractive to the armed forces of Latin America. Until now. Commander of U. In fact. In 2004. In effect. China’s poor endowment with natural resources makes Beijing particularly vulnerable to the imposition of sanctions. Rather than relying on fluctuating international prices. and despite all its apparent power. or strategic partners—with the implication that this has for the allocation of economic resources—is a clear sign of this practice.

Furthermore. General Craddock expressed his concerns that these rifles might. 24 Sukhoi Su-30 jet fighters and 53 helicopters and to establish a Kalashnikov factory to produce assault rifles and ammunition. Bush Administration to create the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canada. The ruling party. In addition. such as Russia and France. Bush. Bush and his son. unsuccessfully. government had maintained a more active policy toward its own backyard. which states that an attack on one member should be considered an attack on all. Grenada in 1983 and. a new institution that would allow democratically elected heads of states to meet every four years. was ready to invade neighbors that might represent a threat to its security. de Santiba˜ es n might provide to its new allies could be enough for them to purchase first-rate weapons from other countries. In fact. After all. the PRI. Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 .S. Vicente Fox. After leading a difficult fight in Congress.27 Reports also indicate that Argentina is currently negotiating its first-ever purchase of Russian weapons—Mi-17. allowed a candidate of the opposition.29 President Clinton continued to promote close relations with Mexico but ignored most of the other states in the region. Of course. had a strong incentive to become involved in events taking place throughout the Western Hemisphere. Venezuela has agreed to buy. Cuba in 1962. other nations wanted to follow Mexico’s successful path and to sign free trade area agreements with the U. a new era of economic and political collaboration emerged. as happened in Chile and Guatemala. as it did in the Dominican Republic in 1965.S. With the end of the Soviet Union.28 This development. Moreover. one day. the Clinton White House signed NAFTA—a free trade agreement (FTA) among the U.S. Mi-35M helicopters and high-speed missile boats. The U.W. and Mexico—and provided Mexico with the incentives that it needed to modernize its political and economic systems. to win a fair election for the first time in Mexico’s modern history. Steps were taken by the George H. and successfully pressured Argentina and Brazil to dismantle the nuclear programs that their militaries had been running for years. has indeed been the cornerstone of the American security system in the Western Hemisphere since it was signed in 1947.S. the Western Hemisphere with no nuclear powers aside from the U. The American Retreat Since the end of the Cold War the U. This treaty. the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (IATRA) promoted military collaboration with the other American states. for a total of $3 billion.S. would not have taken place if the U. end up in the hands of the Colombian guerillas. have already signed important contracts in the area. therefore. the Bush administration also provided debt relief to many nations through the 1989 Brady Plan.. As long as the Cold War lasted.W. George W. More than a calculated decision. leaving. for example. the U. was marked by a sustained decline in the level of attention paid by American officials to the political and economic issues that concern most Latin American states. plots were organized to overthrow governments that showed sympathy for the communists. has lost much of its influence over Latin America.S.S. the period between the presidencies of George H. Russians. as many others. this retreat has been the result of Washington’s inability to produce a broad and coherent policy toward the region. the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the Summit of the Americas.. among others. NAFTA also opened new markets to Mexican producers while importing fiscal and monetary institutions that attracted more foreign direct investment to that country. this was one of the many theaters in the global struggle between Washington and Moscow.24 F. but complaints from trade unions and other interests compelled the Clinton administration to ignore their wishes.

for example—but evidence seems to indicate that this was not the case. rivals.17 percent of its GDP. let Argentina fall into default and suffer the most severe recession in its modern history. Luiz Ignacio Lula Da Silva. Kirchner stated that. 2001. the presidents of Argentina and Brazil.S. and on conducting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush administration focused its attention on fighting terrorist networks. the destination of U. under the leadership of the then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. the collapse of industry. what it was to be a dependent country. in that way. such as al Qaeda. Latin American leaders interpreted this special treatment as a sign of how unwilling the United States was to deal with their problems. A possible justification for this policy would be that the White House simply had a different view of how to deal with financial crises in emerging markets—trying to avoid the risk of moral hazard. could be the benefits of supporting the United States? After the Argentine crisis criticism emerged about the nature of the fiscal and monetary policies the IMF had asked Latin American countries to implement as a prerequisite for receiving its loans. are providing large amounts of financial Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 . While U. ranks last among the twenty-two members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). changes in behavior were restricted only to Argentina. In this context. what the carnal relations were. such as Venezuela.S.–Latin American relations happened after September 11. Nestor Kirchner and. The U. then. Argentina knows what it has to do. after receiving pressure from the U.31 The tight policies demanded by the IMF were. NGOs or directly from one government to another. assistance to Latin America has been restricted to support for the poorest states. In fact. the most dramatic change in U. However. Another of the tools used by major powers to change the behavior of less-powerful states is to provide funds for their development.S. the real cause of the economic crisis suffered by emerging markets in recent years. security. Later. to obtain the approval of the IMF. Argentina had become one of Washington’s closest allies in the region. indeed. so the argument goes. while the Argentine situation was similar to the one Mexico had gone through in 1995—a devaluation that might be followed by a default of sovereign debt—the Bush administration. now they would not need the support of the U.34 From a political perspective. more independence to implement the fiscal and the monetary policies they wanted. Following a similar rationale.S. changed. the White House overlooked Latin America because it did not perceive it as presenting an immediate threat to U. the U. which meant subordinating ourselves to policies to which we did not have to subordinate ourselves.S.33 More specifically. The Bush administration did provide financial support to Turkey when this country was going through similar circumstances. made its lack of commitment clear by the way it managed two financial crises. decided in 2006 to pay their entire debts to the IMF and gain. have. without taking into consideration the most powerful ones. the George W.S. “with all respect to the countries of the world and to the United States. This sign was even stronger due to the fact that. due to Argentina’s unwillingness to join the FTAA. this policy does not make much sense. This can take place through the participation of international organizations. with spending for development assistance of only 0.”32 The perceptions about the benefits of maintaining close links with the U. what hunger is. This approach would also have important consequences for American interests.China’s Presence in Latin America 25 Nevertheless.30 Indeed. What.S. of production and of exports.S.S. With terrorist attacks having occurred on American soil. during the 1990s. While in 1994 the Clinton administration made every possible effort to provide Mexico with the financial package its economy needed to avoid a complete debacle after the devaluation of the peso. Washington’s unwillingness to support Argentina in 2001 created the conditions for a major crisis.

among other things. all these developments are making Latin America increasingly less vulnerable to U. and Uruguay.S.39 Moreover. invasion of his country. Chavez has spent resources. Washington also has been unsuccessful in expanding free trade to the continent—and.S. this former lieutenant colonel in the Venezuelan Army has used the economic resources oil provides to his nation to finance an active foreign policy. Instead.S. Aside from a few minor victories.S. Rafael Correa. de Santiba˜ es n assistance to middle-income nations to gain their political support. became president of Ecuador on September 2007. Chavez has also done everything in his power to escalate a conflict with Colombia. President Chavez went so far as to characterize George W. The most colorful example of this phenomenon might be the emergence of Hugo Chavez as a leading political figure. Paraguay. mainly in the Andean region. Meanwhile. the European Union and China have started conversations to reach commercial agreements with Mercosur.. they exclude several major Latin American economies.S. a few months later. has been clear about how dangerous these developments are.40 The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.42 Furthermore. as a threat to the military balance of the region. The best proof of this might be that the date by which the Free Trade Area of the Americas was supposed to be signed has already passed. by providing shelter to that country’s left-wing guerrillas. in a speech to the UN Assembly. nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala reached a victory in the first electoral round of the Peruvian elections. To sum up.–Latin American relations the indigenous candidate Evo Morales won the Bolivian presidential elections of 2006 and.S. a close ally of President Chavez. the U. Brazil. although these agreements represent a positive development. to then lose against Alan Garcia in a close race. therefore. General Peter Pace. “There have been increases in government actions that are not friendly to us. to buy almost a third of the debt Argentina issued in recent years and to sustain Fidel Castro’s regime through the sale of subsidized oil.35 During his administration Venezuela has also denounced American policy in the region as imperialist and expansionist and has even alerted the world about a supposedly prospective U.S.” and said that Chavez “has also been sending money to other countries in South America to try to destabilize them or get elected those who he believes would follow in his footsteps.38 The Venezuelan government has even shown an interest in acquiring the know-how necessary to develop nuclear energy. Yankee Go Home From presidents who denounce Washington in every possible forum to a drastic decrease in the levels of influence the Pentagon can exercise over Latin American armed forces. the trade block composed of Argentina.36 More recently.26 F. in strengthening its links with Latin America. one of the closest U. an action that has been described by the U. political role in Latin American has suffered a dramatic decline. Bush as the devil. After calling for a profound change in the nature of U. something that when carried out would redirect South American trade toward these parts of the world.37 Furthermore. Since he became president of Venezuela in 1998. he is not the only one. Washington opted to approve a Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and a FTA with Chile. economic pressure. is the result of marginalized sectors of society—especially indigenous people—becoming part of their Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 . allies. has chosen to ignore its own interests and to focus only on the humanitarian aspects of assistance. The appearance of these new actors.S. Caracas has bought large amounts of military equipment. the U.”41 Although the president of Venezuela might be the most notorious leader opposing the U. something remarkable if we consider that Venezuela is one of the largest oil producers in the world.

was returned to the presidency by Nicaraguan voters in 2006. while considering China a “political. after more than a decade out of power. helped to cause a major blow to American foreign policy. Ortega. the refusal of the OAS General Assembly to elect the candidate the U. the political body Washington has traditionally utilized to promote its views and legitimize its actions.W. Morales in Bolivia and their connections with China . This view is palpable in the words of Morales: “I am fully convinced that if we in Latin America regain and exploit our resources. the George H. the election of a new secretary general in 2005 what marked the real turning point.45 In addition. the first time in the commission’s history that an American representative would not occupy one of its seven seats.”44 The institutional mechanisms the U. has lost influence over the OAS. for having supported oppressive ruling classes. the candidate sponsored by the U.S. It was. to a second place. A bloc led by the members of Mercosur imposed the Chilean Jose Miguel Insulza and relegated. Daniel Ortega. has said “we have concerns: Chavez. The positions taken by Mexico and Chile.46 This result would have been unthinkable years ago.–Latin American relations have also suffered important setbacks in recent years. the World Bank. the U.China’s Presence in Latin America 27 nations’ political systems for the first time in history. Republican chair of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.”43 Even more. The unpopularity of the Iraq War in the region is shown by the fact that only seven nations—of a total of thirty-four—supported the military action.S. we will live a better life than the one based on depending on the United States. Two recent events illustrate this development. proposed to occupy a place in the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. In 2003 Mexico and Chile voted against a proposal presented by Washington in the UN Security Council that would have allowed an immediate attack to Iraq and provided.S.S. Bush administration not only obtained support from most states in the region but also received a military commitment from Argentina. have lost $3. has used to maintain control of affairs in the Western Hemisphere also seem to be crumbling.47 This is a new scenario. But this is not all. ideological and programmatic ally of the Bolivian people. During Gulf War I. And. The Mexican government has formally withdrawn from IATRA in 2002 after denouncing its obsolescence and calling for a new agreement that takes better consideration of the problems the continent faces today.6 billion in military assistance since its government decided to join the ICC on October 2005. six were at the time negotiating a FTA with Washington and one. law that prohibits the participation of American military trainers in countries that form part of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has made it impossible for many Latin American nations to continue receiving that kind of support. international legitimacy for that action. Dan Burton. came very close to taking Mexico’s presidency.S. The military aspects of U. The increasing “disloyalty” shown by Latin American neighbors has also reached issues that are central to the Bush administration. . we need to pay particular attention to that. The Mexican armed forces. in fact. The passage of a U. This was. . was in the process of obtaining $600 million in military assistance. and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. the raw material necessary to produce cocaine. the leader of the Mexican left. this new generation of Latin American leaders has also expressed its willingness to veto any trade agreement with the U. First. These movements blame the U. in this way. and the IMF.48 In his testimony Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 .S. and eliminate any program that looks to eradicate coca. Colombia. for instance.S. therefore. in this way. Castro. for example.” The president of Bolivia also remarked on his desire to see American troops leave his country. and interfered in their countries’ domestic affairs.S. of those that supported it. however. taken natural resources away from them.

51 Not even the lack of WMD in the region seems to be secure anymore. however. In addition.S. And maybe the most dangerous development in this trend took place on March 2008 when the Colombian air force attacked a position held by a terrorist organization. in acrimonious terms. during a nineteenth-century war. Senate. military and their colleagues. from an American perspective. has provided training to approximately 1. But to modify the status quo in the region the Chinese would not need to reach a similar level of power to the one Americans enjoy there today.49 This institution. a d´ tente was finally reached. being one of the major links between the members of the U.S. China’s expanding links with the region.S. Indeed. on the other. are making this scenario more possible than ever before. military in their territory or. located in Georgia. To this dispute we have to add. such a scenario. Even more jarring. both the governments of Ecuador and Venezuela decided to send troops to the frontiers with Colombia.S. but the possibility of a military conflict e is still present. After this action. and China might get involved in a conflict for the control of Latin America.S. if the present rates of economic growth continue. as in the case of Venezuela. and the American disregard for what is happening there. After all. Brazil has not allowed inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to take a look inside some of its uranium enrichment plants. The amount of power the United States needs to remain the hegemon in the Western Hemisphere—and not just the most powerful state there—is enormous. the environmental effects that the construction of two paper mills in Uruguay might have on a river that is shared by both nations. inside Ecuadorian territory. such as Peru. keeps control of an air base in Manta—its only military presence in South America. President Correa announced. In fact. retains an even greater advantage. This assertion might sound audacious at first. and then might decide to take similar steps. call FARC. the gap in military and economic resources between these two nations is still enormous. is that Ecuador has offered this base to the Chinese and that other Latin American governments. lack of influence in the Western Hemisphere has been the growing number of disputes among Latin American states. Naturally.S. together with large amounts of land. on the one hand. that Ecuador would not renew an existing agreement with Washington by which the U. countries such as Argentina might interpret this action as a sign that Brazil has restarted its nuclear weapons program. and as long as it continuously represents a major potential threat to the security of these states and no .28 F. These two nations have been discussing. could take decades. have either rejected the possibility of allowing the presence of the U. de Santiba˜ es n to the U. The Bolivian government has demanded from Chile the exit to the Pacific Ocean that it took. the most significant sign of U. even more if we consider the military aspect of power. The path to end the American hegemony would.000 Latin American officers per year. the recent conflict between Argentina and Uruguay.S. with the overwhelming support of the national assembly.53 A more serious conflict is the one that confronts Bolivia and Chile.54 Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 A New Cold War? In the years to come the U. After numerous accusations between these states. the governments of Argentina and Uruguay have announced that they are not going to continue sending members of their military to the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). be a simpler one. in which the U. among others. accusing this country of acting as a proxy for the United States and warning about the possibility of a war.50 In addition. General Bantz Craddock stated that the new policy creates the incentives for states to invite members of the Chinese military to provide the kind of training that they used to receive from the Americans. have warned others—Colombia—about the possibility of going to war with them if they do so.52 However.

S. to invade or be involved. but whenever its views were not approved by the General Assembly the U. The assertion that the U. as a hegemonic power seems to have put an end to that bellicosity. But by winning just a couple of allies China might change this.S. therefore. How autonomous could these institutions be from the hegemonic power that proposed their creation in the first place? Are they going to be able to enforce their own rules if the main member does not want them to? The history of the OAS shows that this organization has been used by Washington to modify the behavior of states while. Charles Kindleberger has explained that the Great Depression was an outcome of the vacuum that took place between what was the pinnacle of British power and the emergence of the American supremacy.S.S. the U. was actively involved in dampening this conflict—as well as that of Malvinas—casts doubts on their ability to resolve major disputes.58 However. and as one of the four guarantor nations that signed the original peace agreement of 1942.57 There must then be an alternative explanation for the unusually small number of wars that have been fought in the region. Moreover. When the U. at the same time. would support its action. Some have noted. indeed. played an important role in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict that confronted Peru and Ecuador. that Washington is unable to restrict the behaviors of the states that are under its influence and to avoid. ensuring that the United States itself need not directly participate in disputes. The role played by international organizations in the resolution of conflicts and the cultural links that unite most Latin American nations have been mentioned as possible explanations. The fact that no multilateral organization. for it not to attack the continent. however.K.S.S. Latin American states might one day be able to initiate conflicts with their neighbors without having to worry about the restrictions the American hegemon imposes on them. With growing resources from their Asian partner. Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 . was unable to restrict the behavior of Argentina and Great Britain during the Malvinas War is not entirely accurate. a region where the asymmetry of power between the U. such as financial stability and international security might. such as OAS.61 This took place. in some way.56 There are. This argument is even truer if we consider what has taken place in the Western Hemisphere. to try to find a diplomatic solution to the dispute and.55 The provision of public goods. and the other states is so significant.S. the emergence of the U. influence—stronger here than in any other place.China’s Presence in Latin America 29 other world power shows the willingness or capacity to challenge this reality. Washington made it clear to London that it did want the U. for instance. Washington was able to legitimate its actions.S. for example.S. Realists would argue that international institutions are unable to enforce their own rules and are incapable of modifying the behavior of states. chose to ignore the organization’s wishes and act unitarily. This would prove. while wars among Latin American states were common in the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. authors who disagree with this thesis. In fact. was able to obtain support from the OAS.S. such as it did during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 or the invasion of the Dominican Republic of 1965. America will remain the hegemon. In effect. in this way.59 Furthermore. the peace enjoyed by Latin America in the last decades might be the result of U. military conflicts. when the U. Similarly. there is evidence that Argentina took possession of the islands in 1982 thinking that the U. decided to implement covert operations to destabilize governments (Chile in 1973 and Guatemala in 1954). that all the participants of recent conflicts in Latin American—the war between Argentina and Great Britain in 1982 for the Malvinas/Falkland Islands and the territorial dispute between Peru and Ecuador in 1995—were allies of the U. a close study of these arguments shows their weaknesses.60 It is then possible to argue that this war would have never taken place in the first place if Buenos Aires had known what Washington really wanted. be related to the existence of a hegemon. if a war ever started.

The other well-known argument that tries to explain the small number of wars fought among Latin American states is the heritage that unites them all—in fact.62 But this approach does not pass the test of time. that same year South America’s two largest states. This fact liberates Latin American leaders from having to consider security matters when calculating the possible benefits of forming an alliance with the PRC. security. Moreover.30 F. most Latin Americans can focus on economic issues. more specifically. Although harmful for themselves. territorial conflicts have remained alive. provides an important advantage to the Asian nation. been left alone. As Jorge Dominguez has noted. we appreciate an inverse relationship between levels of animosity among states and the American presence in the region. wars were common before the twentieth century. and.S. After almost going to war at the beginning of the twentieth century. where China has only positive things to offer. we realize that China and Latin America do not represent a serious threat to each other. and then again in 1978. Finally.W. On the other hand. but what makes this a dangerous scenario is the role that China might play in the region. such as investments and trade. As we have seen. decisions regarding maintaining an alliance with the U. Latin American nations might eventually be ready to defy Washington and break up the status quo by looking for the support of the PRC. then. A good example of this is the case of Argentina and Chile.”63 There must be another explanation. as Dominguez’s statistics show. Bush’s active policies toward Latin America. If we observe recent events in Latin American history. After September 11. both geographical distances and cultural differences are great. Even more. It is their shared identity. in the mid-1990s. indeed. these nations resolved all their territorial disputes in 1991. No one is there anymore to exercise the political and economic pressure that. sometimes. most of these societies are Catholic and speak Spanish. Not concerned about the threat that it might pose. de Santiba˜ es n in the invasion of other states (Panama in 1989 and Cuba in 1962). “There has been at least one militarized interstate dispute per year in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1991. It was only when Washington started its retreat from the region. the incapacity of its navy to project military power by sea. the argument goes. will be based both on security and economic matters. Brazil and Argentina. The asymmetry of power among the states located in the Western Hemisphere is simply too important for any inter-American institution to really work as a multilateral forum.S. or to provide logistical support to an enemy of a member state that had received the support of the organization (Argentina in 1982). If the American influence over the continent continues to decrease and China’s continues to rise. The weakness of the Chinese armed forces. the frequency of such militarized disputes actually increased in the second half of the 1990s. and because of the proximity that exists among the states that form the Western Hemisphere. a period when the cultural links among nations were as strong as they are today. that makes these states see each other as part of the same entity and to consider that any possible adversary should be located outside their region. But what rationale are Latin American states going to use to decide if they are going to follow this path? And what are they ultimately going to do? If we take a look at the world map. they might do so some day. and although they have not broken out in major wars. there is a paradox in all this. the Western Hemisphere has. is necessary to restrict the behavior of those leaders who want to use their country’s foreign policy as a vehicle to increase their popularity. In effect. created a common market that ended a rivalry that had lasted for generations. the increasing levels of rivalry among Latin American states should not necessarily represent a threat to U. another factor that Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 . And all this happened under the umbrella of George H. that rivalry between neighbors emerged again.

After the creation of NAFTA. Brazil was. Brazilian producers compete both with the Chinese and the Americans in world markets. Nevertheless. as Brazil is the most powerful state in South America. This competition is so strong that Chinese firms have already taken important markets away from the Brazilians due to the lower costs they face in the production of manufactures—they are now even penetrating Brazil’s own markets. for instance. one day.66 Furthermore. while the U. Brazil has a relatively strong economy and a large population. in a world in which the provision of energy has become a major concern it is reasonable to think that Washington would never permit an oil producer located so close to its own borders to ever form an alliance with a strategic competitor.China’s Presence in Latin America 31 should be considered when studying future alliances is the image the U. something that makes it more capable of resisting American pressure than the average Latin American state. Indeed. the U. is a unique case because of the strategic importance of its oil. the second-most powerful state.S. Venezuela’s lack of a strong military makes the power gap between these two countries enormous. throughout the twentieth century. as Chavez does. The main reason for this is that the economic benefits Brazil currently obtains from maintaining close relations with the U.67 Similarly. has among Latin Americans. opinion polls in Mexico indicate that the population has a positive image of the U. might try to balance Brazil by choosing as an ally the global power that Brasilia does not select. is Brazil’s main provider of foreign direct investment (FDI). the easier it will be for the Latin American leaders to move away from the U. but without any serious attempt to balance the U. The level of threat potentially imposed by the U. Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 .S.S. the risks of doing so would be too high. Doing that would imply the possibility that.6 percent of its total exports. Caracas might decide to stop selling oil to the U. On the other side.S.S. competes with Brazil in the production of agricultural goods. Future governments might continue providing rhetorical condemnation to Washington.S. that Venezuela will not establish an alliance with China. for example. Argentina. China has recently become a great consumer of Brazilian commodities. and hurt. in this way. one of the main allies the U. to Brazil is intermediate.S. We should now analyze the situation of some specific states. and now sends that market 87. sphere of influence and approach China. such as soybean and iron ore. Mexico has taken full advantage of its proximity to the U.S.S.S. therefore. The lower the American image.S. the Mexican economy is more compatible with the American economy than with that of the Chinese. Washington would never allow for the existence of a competitor that shares its borders. Naturally. Moreover. might not be greater than those it could receive from establishing an alliance with China. Venezuela. A Survey of the Continent Everything seems to indicate that Mexico will remain a close ally of the U. Brasilia not only accepted American predominance over the Western Hemisphere but also participated at its side during the two world wars. the power gap that exists between these countries is simply too important for Mexico to even consider the possibility of balancing American power.65 As we move south in the continent things start becoming more complex. the American economy.64 Finally.S.—an approval rating of 53 percent—a fact that would facilitate the continuation of an alliance with Washington. had in Latin America. It should be expected. it’s not clear whether this will continue to be the case. the other states in the area will pay special attention to what this country decides to do and then choose their own alliances.

might endanger Chile’s successful insertion in the world economy.S. de Santiba˜ es n One of the most difficult cases to predict is that of Chile.. the remarkable economic compatibility that exists between their economies is creating the basis for a long-term partnership. China.K. respectively. The fact that this state has historically tried to balance American power and the remarkable compatibility that exists between its economy and that of China. that might be attractive to a China with an ever-higher standard of living. This animosity has its roots in Argentine history. During that time Buenos Aires also presented itself as the representative of European interests in the Western Hemisphere. Indeed.S. is Santiago going to do? The most probable scenario is that it will continue the process of economic integration with the world that it started in the 1970s and that has allowed it to growth at unusually high rates—Chile has already signed FTAs with the U. recent administrations have moved away from the American sphere of influence. after Cuba. and received. while Brazil is losing international markets due to China’s lower labor costs. Cristina Kirchner. When the British Empire controlled most international commerce. The wages Argentine workers receive have always been too high for this sector to become competitive in the international markets. trying to resist any attempts made by the U. in the way Argentina supported Ecuador during its recent conflict with Colombia. the creation of multilateral institutions similar to the OAS. approval rating of 57 percent demonstrates.S. Chile’s economy has similar degrees of compatibility both with the U. Moreover. for instance. and China.S. such as wine and leather. Political links with Washington and Beijing also have been close: Chile was the first Latin American nation. some of the main exporters of agricultural commodities. Argentina is already exporting large amounts of commodities to the PRC—mainly soybeans—while it is also an important producer of more sophisticated products.32 F. but relations with Washington also have been positive. makes Argentina the best candidate to produce a strong alliance with Beijing. its first and the third trade partners. due to Argentina’s neutrality during World War II. there are not many reasons why the South American country should remain under the umbrella of Washington and not move closer to China. as a U. the nation that feels the least sympathy toward the U. the capital its economy needed to continue growing.S. With a public positive image of the United States of only 32 percent. and remain until today. as the fact that they are. Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 .S. we find Argentina. To sum up. for instance. has taken decisive steps to side the country further away from Washington. Washington imposed strict economic sanctions that harmed Argentine finances after the conflict. In this sense.. to establish diplomatic relations and then to sign an FTA with the PRC. Both countries were. This country likely will try. on numerous occasions. in exchange. But with the ascendancy of the United States as a world power. Argentina is. Moreover. the new president of Argentina.68 It was only during the 1990s—and after decades of economic decline—that Argentina decided to establish a strategic alliance with the U. Argentina became one of the largest economies in the world. Argentina gained an economic competitor and political rival. The country exported large amounts of commodities to the U. What. to institutionalize its role as a regional hegemon—Argentina. of those that have been analyzed in this study. While not presenting a serious threat to its security. Argentina does not seem to confront a similar challenge. shows. This could be observed. A conflict between China and the U. to avoid having to choose among any of the great powers.S. but not that of the United States. the emergence of China as an economic power represents a great opportunity for Argentina. by far. however. therefore. then. in part due to the way Washington handled the financial crisis of 2001. and the European Union. At the opposite extreme from Mexico’s case. vetoed.

Indeed. Without these changes. the United States might lose both its influence and ability to settle disputes among Latin American states. Navy. Strong commitments should then be made. Moreover. the U. an increase in intrastate conflicts could create the incentives for states to look to China as a provider of the military and economic assistance they might need to resolve their own disputes. three ways by which this might take place. http://usinfo. while at the present time any great power that wants to land troops near American soil would have to pass through enormous bodies of water controlled by the U. Reinvigorating political institutions to which China has no access. while making it clear to the Chinese that it will not accept either their direct intervention in the domestic affairs of Latin America countries or the use of a proxy state to do the same job. such as the OAS and the Summit of the Americas..China’s Presence in Latin America 33 Conclusion Trade flows and geographical factors seem to indicate that we are moving toward a Western Hemisphere divided by two spheres of influence. This scenario. largely due to the economic benefits this partnership might provide. See extracts of the Monroe Doctrine in the U. in which states supported by one superpower confronted those that received the support of the other. What. not reduced.state. The approval of the FTAA or the signing of an FTA with Brazil and Argentina could reduce the present tendency that is showing China to be a more important trade partner than the U. American foreign policy has been too focused on Mexico and has not paid enough attention to what has been taking place at the Southern Cone. . just as it was almost two hundred years ago. do to prevent Latin American states from becoming allies of China and breaking its hegemony over that region? First. Moreover. it should recognize its past while the states located at the Southern Cone might have the incentives to establish an alliance with China. the existence of satellite states in Latin America would facilitate that task enormously. Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 Notes 1. the cost and difficulty of projecting military forces from other continents to the United States would suffer a drastic reduction.S. The northern-region nations will most likely remain strong allies with the U. does not need to become a reality if Washington chooses the right policies. should increase and redirect the funding it provides to the area in a way that better reflects its own interests. In exchange. This could eventually take place either by the foreign power providing assistance to native forces or by power settling its own military bases in the Hemisphere. Beijing would gain strategic partners in its conflict with Washington.S. would do part of the job. should the U. the American capacity to mobilize forces abroad could be harmed if its lines of sea communications (SLOCs) become vulnerable to the action of Chinese ships and submarines based in Latin America. might emerge. Finally.htm. a similar situation to the one we saw during the Cold War. Department of State Official Site. First. as is happening now. then. Since the end of the Cold War. Finally.S. The Monroe Doctrine would then become only an enunciation of distant wishes. Latin American states wishing to develop WMD would not have to face the restrictions the American hegemon now imposes on them. As some nations move toward China and others do not. If this happens.S.S. for many countries. But will a scenario like this necessarily harm the United States? There are. at least. political and military collaboration with these countries should also be strengthened.S. however.

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May 15. p..“Boundary Dispute in Latin America. 1996). 13. Downloaded At: 01:54 30 October 2010 .. see “El Ecuador Intensificara sus Relaciones Comerciales con Asia. For an analysis of U.. 2006. The Dominican Intervention (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. http://www. For more information about the conflict see Lawrence Freedman. Dominguez. 1932–42 (NY: Columbia University Press. Then. “Falling Out of Love. 60. For a history of these wars. Jorge Dominguez.S.html. London: Routledge.” Foreign world/la/displayStory. Morgenthau. 360–61. “History Helps Explain Bolivia’s New Boldness. 77 (Fall 2004): 67. 2000). 510–11. 8–15. 1989). vol. and after two months of war. 5 (Sept/Oct 2004): 2–7. The United States and Latin America Wars. only one war has taken place between Latin American states in the last eighty years: the one-month conflict between Ecuador and Peru in 1995. pp. and Likely Responses” in Jorge I. Dominguez. Politics Among Nations. 50 (Washington. Blood and Debt: War and the Nation State in Latin America (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.” National Interest vol. Abraham Lowenthal. Ira Straus. when a labor strike in Venezuela disrupted the oil supply to the U. 167–8. it did so. it is not clear whether this conflict had the number of deaths (one thousand) necessary for a dispute to qualify as a war. Jorge I. 83. Larry Rohter. Taylor and Francis Group. 55.” El Comercio. 58. 61. 63–65. 1992).S. pp.” The New York Times. Still. “The Venezuelan Oil Crisis. 67. For Chavez’s threats to Colombia. Ibid. eds. A3. Challenges. (New York: Routledge. 2003): p.” p. 56. 1939–46 (London: The MacMillon Press. see Miguel Angel Centeno.. A sample of what could eventually happen took place in 2004. The Future of Inter-American Relations. Some of the major wars in Latin American history have been the Cisplatine War between Brazil and Argentina (1825–28). 64. 57. The Official History of the Falklands Campaign 2 volumes. Argentina took possession of the Malvinas in 1982 after claiming its sovereignty for 150 years. see Michelle Billing. 1932–35). no. 65. the Triple Alliance War (Argentina. For this and all other polls. 59. Juan Forero. Central Intelligence factbook/geos/mx.latin. 54. David Scott Palmer. “Boundary Dispute. and Andres Serbin.cfm?story id=4249937. 2005). May 7. DC: United States Institute of Peace. and Uruguay against Paraguay. 2005. the government of Margaret Thatcher sent a task force to retake them.barometro. For the offer of the Ecuadorians to China.” in Guido Di Tella & Cameron Watt. the War of the Pacific (Chile against Peru and Bolivia.economist. pp. “The Future of Inter-American Relations: States. 68.36 F. Bryce Wood. 66. Manuel Orozco. ed.” Peaceworks vol. http://www.” The New York Times.cia. 2008. 2006. 2007. 25. 1865–70). Brazil. 63. 25. increasing gasoline prices. Dominguez. Mares. pp. Carlos Escude. “Emerging Proliferation Threats in Latin America. Argentina Between the Great Powers. World Fact Book 2006.” The Economist. de Santiba˜ es n 51. “Chavez Tells Colombia No to US Base. 62. “Gualeguaychu Journal: A Back-Fence Dispute Crosses an International Border. Francisco Rojas Aravena. August 4. 53. 2002). “US Political Desestabilization and Economic Boycott of Argentina During the 1940s. Indeed. dependency of Venezuelan oil. David R. November 12. February 13. see http://www.” The Associated Press. 1879–83) and the Chaco War (Bolivia against Paraguay.

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