There’s something missing in Beijing’s relations with Latin America.
For those in the West who have lived the second half of the 20th century, being under the United States’ tutelage was a mere fact of life. As the great victors of World War II and uncontested rulers of nearly every international institution in the world – UN, IMF, World Bank, GATT, NATO etc. – North Americans have transformed Central and South America into their own backyard.
Now change is said to be underway. Recent columns from the New York Times and the Guardian have drawn attention to the underlying risks of Trump’s grand strategy, that America’s newborn absenteeism issues an invitation for China to take over as the world’s paymaster. NBC News commentator Janis Frayer argued that, since Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru have become so economically reliant on China, so will the rest of Latin America fall for Beijing sooner or later. In The Diplomat, Antonio Hsiang went as far as to contend that the United States is making China great in Latin America, given Washington’s withdrawal from TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and criticisms of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).