Everyone But the US is in South America

It would seem there’s a great power vacancy in Latin America and now, several powers are looking to muscle their way in. This represents a growing national security threat to the United States.

China hawks have long been concerned with Chinese involvement in Central and South America. Whether’s its economic aid, gaining potential control over the Panama Canal, or reaching out to diaspora communities, the Chinese are active in our backyard.

Recently, the Russia’s made a big, though largely meaningless show of force sending its naval forces (better at eliciting laughs than fear) to Venezuela. Russia was also apparently considering a nuclear deal with Venezuela. There was also some talk of stationing bombers in Cuba.

Speaking of which, let’s not forget potentially massive new oil findings in Brazil and Cuba (which the Canadians and Chinese are exploting).

Now, it would seem lesser powers are moving in as well.

The government of Iran is following the lead of new ally Venezuela by taking its anti-American message to Bolivia, an impoverished but strategically positioned country in the heart of South America.

A nemesis to U.S. interests in the Middle East for 30 years, Iran is now pouring millions of dollars of aid into Bolivia — including construction of a milk factory in Achacachi. Its real motive, however, is joining Bolivia and Venezuela to counter U.S. interests in Latin America, analysts said. ”Is Iran in Bolivia a nuisance to the United States? Of course it is,” said Abbas Milani, the co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. “Iran will try to shore up support for Bolivia’s president and help the anti-American message of its regime. And being in Bolivia will give Iran more pawns to play in its dealings with the Europeans and the United States.”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, a constant U.S. critic, brought Iran and Bolivia together, even though the two countries have little in common but natural gas, large stretches of desert and official antipathy toward the United States. His government flew Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Bolivian President Evo Morales in September 2007. Morales traveled to Iran a year later.Chávez has organized Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba into a trade and political alliance that regularly lambastes capitalism and U.S. influence in Latin America.

While this seems to be the equivalent of moving a pawn, it could potentially be a growing threat if it continues. Low energy prices, however, may limit Iran’s involvement. South America watchers will want to play close attention to continued Iranian involvement there (as Hezbollah already operates in the Triborder region) and pay attention to Nicaragua.

About Chirol

Sir Ignatius Valentine Chirol (1852 - 1929) was a journalist, prolific author, world historian, and British diplomat. He began his career as a foreign correspondent and later became editor of the London Times. After two decades as a journalist he joined Her Majesty's Foreign Ministry as a diplomat and was subsequently knighted for his distinguished service as a foreign affairs advisor. Additionally, he wrote a dozen books on foreign affairs including The Far Eastern Question (1896), Serbia and the Serbs (1914), The End of the Ottoman Empire (1920) and The Egyptian Problem (1921). He is generally credited with popularizing "Middle East" in reference to the Arabian Peninsula with his book The Middle Eastern Question (1903). "Chirol" is a US citizen and graduate student studying Defense and Strategic Studies and government contractor. As with the historical Chirol, he has traveled to over two dozen countries and lived abroad for many years. Chirol speaks English and German fluently with basic knowledge of manyl of others.
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3 Responses to Everyone But the US is in South America

  1. Alfred Russel Wallace says:

    Maybe the US isn’t in South America, but its oil companies are – ExxonMobil and Hess recently announced a major find off Brazil, for example.. http://royaldutchshellplc.com/2009/01/22/exxon-finds-oil-near-massive-brazilian-fields/

  2. R. Elgin says:

    There is also news of Jews in Venezuela which is disturbing. El Shiznic seems to be finding new ways of becoming a evil pest. Venezuelans are to vote in a referendum that could enable Chavez to extend his rule indefinitely and I am not sure the world is ready for this buffoon:

    As President Hugo Chavez intensifies his anti-Israel campaign, some Venezuelans have taken action, threatening Jews in the street and vandalizing the largest synagogue in Caracas — where they stole a database of names and addresses.

    Now many in Venezuela’s Jewish community fear the worst is yet to come. . . .

    nytimes.com/aponline/2009/02/06/world/AP-LT-Venezuela-Anti-Semitism.html

  3. ElamBend says:

    Sec. Def. Gate recently “stated”:http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-01-27-voa65.cfm that he finds Iran’s moves in S. America problematic:

    “I’m concerned about the level of, frankly, subversive activity the Iranians are carrying on in a number of places in Latin America, particularly South America and Central America,” said Secretary Gates. “They’re opening a lot of offices and a lot of fronts behind which they interfere with what is going on in some of these countries.”