To be sure, Latin America has never belonged to the US, but its history of political involvement in the region, essentially choosing leaders from its embassies, is on the wane. As countries have steadily chosen stable and democratic governments, economic engagement has worked to build the region’s reputation anew. “China is now Latin America’s second-largest trading partner and rapidly closing the gap with the US. India is showing keen interest in the region’s energy industry, and has signed export agreements in the defense sector. Iran has strengthened its economic and military ties, especially in Venezuela.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The US has been unwise to reject growing political ambitions from states like Brazil, which offered to broker nuclear arms talks between the US and Iran before President Obama declined the invitation. “Gone are the days when military muscle and the politics of subversion could secure US influence – in Latin America or anywhere else. A world power today is one that can combine economic vigor and a popular culture with global outreach on the basis of shared interests.” The US is still in a better position than any other nation to maintain and strengthen ties with its neighbors to the south.