China Learning to Tango…and Salsa…and Mambo…
An interesting collection of posts and articles has recently surfaced regarding China’s increasing role in Latin America. First, this article from the Council on Foreign Relations, which is a general overview of how China is using “soft power” to obtain greater influence over African and Latin American countries. Then, this recent blog post from Matt Cooper on the Portfolio Magazine website, which highlights a recent Organization of American States meeting that he attended where China was the primary sponsor and representatives of all of the key Latin American and South American countries were present. The third recent piece that I have come across on this topic is Tim Johnson’s post on his China Rises site highlighting the fact that increasing numbers of Latin American countries are breaking ties with Taiwan because according to the post, Taiwan is not providing these countries with significant enough financial incentives and China is.
If one takes these three perspectives on the issue as a whole it becomes clear that the Chinese government is purposefully expanding their influence and presence in Latin America, which will undoubtedly bring the country significant political and economic benefits. What is so skillful about the maneuvering is that it is done discreetly and “softly” enough that it generally stays below the radar. That is, of course, until China’s economic and political ties with the region reach the level one sees in Africa and the New York Times finally feels compelled to run a 5,000 word piece on the topic.
Regardless, the growing relationship between China and the United States’ many neighbors to the south, including the emerging international economic force that is Brazil, is something to keep a very close eye on.