The US Is Losing Power and Influence Even In Its Own Back Yard

Politically, economically and geopolitically, the sands are shifting in Latin America — and not in Washington’s favor!

If you’re trying to win the hearts of minds of millions of people living in countries neighboring your own, many of which your government has not exactly treated well over the decades, it’s probably not a good idea to call them corrupt. Yet that is exactly what the head of US Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, did last week. In an interview with Politico on Friday, he accused China of taking advantage of widespread corruption in Latin America to further its own interests (not that this is something the US would ever do or has ever done):

PRC state-owned and private businesses often exploit pervasive corruption in the region to undermine fair contracting practices and circumvent environmental compliance. A common tactic they use is to provide lucrative pay offs to local officials in exchange for favorable deals.
To be sure, there are legitimate aspects of these activities that provide needed investment to a region still recovering from the impact of Covid-19. It’s incumbent on all of us to forge a way ahead that recognizes the important role [China] can play as part of a rules-based international order.
But here is the friction: The PRC does not seek fair competition based on rules. It seeks to create dependencies, not trusted partnerships. Through its deepening economic ties and coercive influence, Beijing is vying for key support from regional partners on U.N. votes and backing for Chinese appointees to multinational institutions. Ultimately, Beijing wants to create a global system in which authoritarian regimes are viewed as legitimate forms of governance. A system where the rule of law, human rights and free speech are stifled. A system where international norms are manipulated for its own benefit, and it’s happening now.

Obviously, the rules-based system of which Faller speaks is the current one in which the US remains top dog and gets to dictate the rules. By gaining more influence within that system by ramping up its public diplomacy — and in return gaining “key support from regional partners” — the Chinese are breaking not only rules but the spirit of the game, especially if they are paying off local officials in exchange for favorable deals (something the US would never dream of doing).

While Faller may bemoan Beijing’s predilection for authoritarian regimes, the reality is that no country has done more to undermine and ultimately topple democratically elected sovereign governments in Latin America (and elsewhere) than the US. In the past 12 years alone Washington has supported two successful military coups in the region, one in Honduras in 2009, the other in Bolivia in 2019.

Unlike the US, China generally does not try to dictate how its trading partners should behave and what sorts of rules, norms, principles and ideology they should adhere to. What China does — or at least has by and large done over the past few decades until now — is to trade with and invest in countries that have goods — particularly commodities — it covets, including, it now seems, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

In Latin America and the Caribbean it has worked a treat. China’s rise in the region coincided almost perfectly with the Global War on Terror. As Washington shifted its attention and resources away from its immediate neighborhood to the Middle East, where it frittered away trillions of dollars spreading mayhem and death and breeding new terrorists, China began snapping up Latin American resources. Governments across the region, from Brazil to Venezuela, to Ecuador and Argentina, took a leftward turn and began working together across various fora. The commodity supercycle was born.

China’s trade with the region grew 26-fold between 2000 and 2020, from $12 billion to $315 billion, and is expected to more than double by 2035, to more than $700 billion. In the last 20 years China has moved from an almost negligible position as a source of imports and destination of exports within the region to become its second trade partner, at the expense not just of the US but also Europe and certain Latin American countries such as Brazil whose share of inter-regional trade has fallen. According to the World Economic Forum, “China will approach—and could even surpass—the US as LAC’s top trading partner. In 2000, Chinese participation accounted for less than 2% of LAC’s total trade. In 2035, it could reach 25%.”

A Case in Point: Peru

When Pedro Castillo was finally named president of Peru after almost two months of delaying tactics by his opponent Keiko Fujimori, one of his government’s first acts was to arrange a sit down with the Chinese ambassador and executives of two of China’s largest mining firms, both with multi-billion dollar interests in Peru. Among the topics under discussion was the option of strengthening Peru’s free trade agreement with the East Asian superpower.

“At present, technical teams of Peru and China are working, through virtual means, on the optimization of the FTA between both countries,” said Roberto Sánchez, Peru’s Minister of Trade and Tourism, adding: “Bilateral relations with China are extremely important”.

China is already Peru’s biggest trading partner and has been since 2014. Around 30% of the Andean country’s exports go to the Asian giant. And that number is growing fast: the volume of Peru’s exports to China increased by 38% year on year between January and March.

Chinese companies have poured just over $10 billion into Peru’s mining sector, according to government data. Peru’s new government has talked about raising taxes on the biggest mining companies, including Chinalco and Shougang Hierro Perú. That has not gone down well in Beijing. Hong Kong-based COSCO Shipping Ports Ltd is also building a huge port in Chancay, just north of the capital Lima, with a total investment of $3 billion. There are also ambitious plans for a transcontinental railway linking South America’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts from Brazil to Chile.

Peru is the second largest recipient of Chinese investment in South America, accounting for 21% of the total dispensed over the past 14 years. The only country to have received more is Brazil, accounting for 47% of all the money invested by the Chinese government and companies in the region. That works out at a total of $66 billion, just under half of which went toward financing energy projects.

Reaping the Dividends of Vaccine Diplomacy

A couple of days after his meeting with the Chinese ambassador and mining executives, Peru’s President Pedro Castillo received the first of two doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine. He called on the Peruvian people to do the same as the country’s public health authorities prepare to ramp up their inoculation program.

It is an example of how China is reaping the dividends of its vaccine diplomacy, including in Washington’s own backyard. Earlier this month, Beijing announced that Chinese vaccine developers had provided over 230 million vaccine doses to 18 countries in Latin America, including Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Peru, mostly through exports. In a virtual press conference with international press agencies, the director general of International Foreign Economic Affairs, Wang Xiaolong, said that China has so far provided 700 million doses to over 80 countries — “more than all other countries combined.”

While China was flooding Latin America with vaccines, Pfizer, one of three US vaccine makers whose product has been granted emergency use authorisation, was essentially shaking down countries in the region, demanding that they put up sovereign assets, such as federal bank reserves, embassy buildings and military bases, as insurance against the cost of any future legal cases involving Pfizer BioNTech’s vaccine. As I wrote for NC at the time, Pfizer’s bullying tactics put off some countries, including Brazil and Argentina. This opened up a rich vein of opportunities for other vaccine makers. Since then, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been made available through the GAVI Alliance’s COVAX scheme. Some countries in the region are planning to use the doses as booster shots.

China’s covid-19 diplomacy does not end with the vaccines. By late October last year, it had provided over 179 billion masks, 1.73 billion protective suits and 543 million testing kits to 150 countries and seven international organizations around the globe, reports TIME magaizne.

“The pandemic has opened up a diplomatic opportunity that China did not have before,” says Benjamin N. Gedan, a former South America director on the White House’s National Security Council. This has not gone unnoticed by Washington; the U.S. State Department’s J-Bureau – responsible for “elevating and integrating civilian security in U.S. foreign policy” – has been analysing China’s mask diplomacy to decipher where Beijing is attempting to gain influence, sources involved told TIME magazine.

Shifting Political Sands

China is not quite supplanting the US in Latin America just yet — the US is still top dog, particularly in Central America and the Caribbean — but it is eroding its influence. And the political sands in the region are not exactly shifting in the US’ favor right now. Even historically closely aligned countries such as Peru and Mexico are now governed by people and parties that are somewhat less disposed to US influence.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO for short) has banned GMOs from domestic consumption despite US protestations. His government has declared war on obesity and the processed food and sugary drinks companies that are fuelling it; it has demanded that large corporations, including American ones such as Walmart, settle their decades-long tax debts with the Mexican state; it has rolled back some of the sweeping energy reforms unleashed by AMLO’s predecessor Enrique Peña Nieto; and it even provided material support to Cuba during its recent travails.

Now, the AMLO government is suing US gun makers for contributing to illegal arms trafficking, which the government says has fuelled thousands of deaths in Mexico’s drug wars. A few weeks ago AMLO even called for the replacement of the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) with an institution that is not beholden to any one country (i.e. the US).

In the next 15 months general elections will take place in three of South America’s biggest economies: Brazil, Chile and Colombia. For the moment it’s impossible to predict who will win but there will almost certainly be plenty of drama. 

Colombia just witnessed its biggest protest movement in living memory, which forced the government to withdraw plans to raise taxes on the country’s struggling middle classes and to hike taxes on businesses instead. But that was after dozens of protesters were killed in Cali by the country’s highly militarised, UK-trained police forces. 

In Brazil, opinion polls suggest that Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva — known as Lula — should comfortably beat Jair Bolsonaro. But Bolsonaro has pledged not to stand down if he loses the October 2022 election to “fraud”, setting the stage for a dangerous standoff. If Lula does win and Bolsonaro doesn’t try to hang on to power — which is looking like a pretty big “IF” right now — it will mean that Latin America’s two biggest economies Brazil and Mexico, which account for roughly 60% of the region’s GDP, will be led by independent-minded politicians of a more or less leftward bent. That would probably not be welcome news in Washington.   

Against this backdrop China has decided to concentrate most of its foreign direct investment in Latin America in three countries: Mexico, Chile and Colombia. All three are traditionally closely aligned with the US — none more so than Colombia, which thanks to the US’s disastrous drug-eradication program Plan Colombia has received more US military aid than the rest of Latin America combined. But Beijing is also showing an interest. Last year, 77% of all Chinese investment in the region went to Mexico, Chile and Colombia. By contrast, between 2010 and 2014 Argentina and Brasil attracted six out of every ten dollars invested by Chinese companies in Latin America.

Given Mexico’s geographic location and the sheer scale of its trade with the US, which accounts for over 80% of all its exports, there’s no way that China will be able to supplant the US. But it can chip away at the edges, by pouring investment into Mexico’s logistics, services, telecommunications and transport sectors, which is what it’s doing. And Mexico would like nothing better than to reduce its over-sized dependence on its northern neighbor. As for Chile, it is already in thrall to China, which purchases around 35% of all its exports. Again, that number is increasing.

Reversing the Trend

What can the US do to stop or reverse this trend? Quite simply, it can try to invest more and trade more with countries in the region, and most importantly in ways that are mutually beneficial — not like the deals Pfizer is offering, or the latest generation of trade deals with their investor-state dispute settlements that have already robbed Latin America of billions of much-needed dollars. 

The US has done this before, albeit a long, long time ago. To a certain extent, it cemented its domination of the global economy after World War 2 by doing something similar to what China is doing right now: investing in countries that desperately need the money. The US Marshall Plan, which won the hearts and minds of millions of battle-wearied Europeans, was all about rebuilding infrastructure in war-torn Europe.

But countries face a different type of disaster today. Covid-19 has ripped asunder entire economies, destroying an untold number of jobs and businesses. Many are hanging by a thread. Nowhere is this more true than in Latin America, which has just 5% of the world’s population but accounts for a quarter of all Covid deaths. The region’s healthcare systems are bursting at the seams. According to a survey of health services in the region, 97% of participating countries and territories reported disrupted health services while 45% reported disruptions in at least half of their health services.  

“Soon, COVID-19 will not be the only health crisis demanding countries’ attention,” warned Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne.

Even before Covid, Latin America was steeped in economic problems. Now, those problems — including rapidly rising public debt, surging youth unemployment (a record 23% at last count), soaring inflation and stagnating growth — are much bigger. Many of Latin America’s cash-strapped governments simply cannot afford to provide the sort of fiscal or monetary support programs being rolled out in more advanced economies. In the coming months and years many of them will need outside help. But who will it come from? And what strings will come attached? 

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33 comments

  1. Michael

    What can the US do to stop or reverse this trend? Quite simply, it can try to invest more and trade more with countries in the region, and most importantly in ways that are mutually beneficial — not like the deals Pfizer is offering, or the latest generation of trade deals with their investor-state dispute settlements that have already robbed Latin America of billions of much-needed dollars.

    I strongly suggest readers with an interest in Latin America become familiar with Bolivia after the 1952 revolution – and then see if something similar happens to Peru’s shiny new leftist government vis-a-vis Chinese investment in the mining sector.

    The US has done this before, albeit a long, long time ago. To a certain extent, it cemented its domination of the global economy after World War 2 by doing something similar to what China is doing right now: investing in countries that desperately need the money. The US Marshall Plan, which won the hearts and minds of millions of battle-wearied Europeans, was all about rebuilding infrastructure in war-torn Europe.

    Yeah, it is not quite this simple, but nothing ever is. Apart from Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, much of Latin America has not been – nor is likely to be – amenable to the policies that rebuilt a largely (culturally and politically) homogeneous western Europe.

    This is not to say it is impossible someone comes along, recognizes there are regional distinctions in “Latin America,” and formulates a distinct concept of “developmental aid” that goes beyond infrastructure, industrialization, and resource extraction. Just that I would be extremely surprised if such a thing happened in my lifetime.

  2. WIlliam Hunter Duncan

    Our own government in DC treats flyover country like a banana republic, so I am not optimistic these elite can recover positive influence in South America particularly. We can’t even do Covid diplomacy among our own people. China has the upper hand because what it is doing in Central and South America is good for China. The US is losing influence because our gov, corp and bank can only conceive of what is good for themselves. If there is next to no plan out of DC to do anything meaningful about, say, opioid addiction in the hinterlands, I think it is fair to assume, they would never deign to make of Central and South America peoples anything but drug addled debt serfs.

    1. William Hunter Duncan

      Oh, and of that last part, desperate peoples crossing our southern border illegally, to be exploited here by elite, to labor arbitrage our deplorable debt serfs.

      1. lance ringquist

        the author skips over GATT, which was the trading system after WWII. GATT was not free trade. bill clinton got rid of GATT and replaced it with corporatism, the W.T.O..

        at least trump tired to pull the teeth of the W.T.O, and get rid of investor state settlements that almost always favor the so called “INVESTORS”

        biden ran right back to the corporate w.t.o. to deny vaccines to the poor. reestablishing the rules based economy.

        this is GATT: Compensatory tariffs might be added to products from countries that do not maintain international standards of environmental protection, wages, health and safety standards, and social safety nets, thus encouraging higher standards for all people everywhere.

        Truman was a populist: Of course I believe in free enterprise but in my system of free enterprise, the democratic principle is that there never was, never has been, never will be, room for the ruthless exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few.

        “Is the answer to withdraw from global trade, as the free traders have caricatured our position? No, it is to go back to a system like the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which promoted trade but was flexible enough to allow countries policy space to develop and to preserve their intricate social contracts by preventing commodity dumping, environmental dumping, and social dumping.

  3. Lambert Strether

    We couldn’t engineer Maduro’s overthrow in Venezuela (though I have not seen English-language coverage of what Maduro has been doing internally; I have a vague notion he moved right).

    Nor could we engineer an uprising in Cuba.

    Not a good record, compare to our past performance. Perhaps we can invade Grenada again.

    1. The Rev Kev

      At least this time around there won’t be a Grenada military to deal with nor pesky Cubans to boot.

    2. ChrisRUEcon

      Leave the Spice Island alone! ;-)

      Once was horrid enough … I lived through that from the behind a southern Caribbean lens.

      America as the world’s arms dealer is going to prove short-sighted, but the money – $700B+ military budget – is too good to pass up at the moment for the war profiteers. I am disappointed in China to a degree, because I think they still have not done enough to stitch together alliances in the Americas. The only good reason I can see is that they perhaps don’t want to show too much of their hand, and cause direct confrontation in places like Venezuela and Cuba. However, I think the path being plod by the likes of Peru and Bolivia will be a blueprint for expansion of China’s influence in the region. Much is being written about Bretton woods because of the recent anniversary (end of July), but international money, and the way it currently works is the most crucial piece to upending US hegemony IMO. Venezuela still does not have control of its USD foreign reserves, which the US gave that fetid puppet Guaido control over (via Reuters). This is what has to stop. While I’d prefer a supranational/global-community currency (not under US control) as a more permanent solution, I’ve been toying with this idea: what would happen if a nation decided to transfer the lion’s share of its US reserves to China, in exchange for equivalent yuan? Could China serve as a US dollar reserve broker of sorts? Need to buy oil? Pay China from your yuan reserves and have China buy in USD and ship to you (China as global #Amazon, LOL). I know … feel free to tell me I’m smokin’ the good (or perhaps bad) stuff … but a country can’t defend against America’s ability to strangle its economy if it’s dependent on US reserves – unless, perhaps, that country is China.

      1. lordkoos

        “Venezuela still does not have control of its USD foreign reserves”

        The Bank of England has refused to repatriate Venezuela’s 31 tons of gold, no doubt being pressured by Washington to do so. It is the blatant theft of the wealth of a sovereign nation.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          Yes. Exactly. #SameSame

          State sanctioned extortion.

          And again, this is where China is being sheepish, as opposed to throwing its weight around. Now that the UK is on its own, China could bring pressure to bear on the UK (on Venezuela’s behalf) and drive a wedge between UK/US. And so … we wait.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    The best thing the rest of the world can do for South and Central America is not give it aid or investment, but leave it alone. There is more than enough resources and knowhow in the region for most of the countries to develop themselves in an economically sustainable manner. Even ‘good’ investment from China or elsewhere tends to be in the form of resource extraction and its very arguable whether this actually does most countries more harm than good unless they have very strong institutions to capture the foreign currency generated for internal development, and most Latin American countries lack those institutions – to a large degree because the US never had any interest in seeing them develop. Repeatedly, we’ve seen leaders who had a clear idea of what needed to be done undermined or deposed by the US or its local puppets.

    The lessons of development economics are quite clear – countries can develop rapidly in catch up growth with developed countries, but they can only do so by having firm control of their own resources, using outside investment for one purpose only – increasing internal productivity per person.

    1. David

      Yes, I wish that a few development economists would actually study, you know, history. They might find it instructive.

    2. lance ringquist

      quite well said, i am sure you know about this person,

      Franklin argued, the American manufacturers could not survive unless they were protected from low-wage competition

      GDP in america under protectionism was far superior for workers than billy clintons poor GDP performance

      To sum up, the free-trade/market policies are policies that have rarely, if ever, worked

      Few countries have become rich through free-trade, free-market policies and few ever will.

      under world wide protectionism, world GDP grew higher and more equitable than under free trade

      Dr. Ha Joon Chang plainly through historical records proves that free trade is bad for the poor and democracy

      http://www.profitatanyprice.com/2015/04/free-market-policies-rarely-make-poor.html

      Saturday, April 4, 2015
      Free-market policies rarely make poor countries rich by Dr. Ha-Joon Chang
      Thing 7
      Free-market policies rarely
      make poor countries rich
      by
      Dr. Ha Joon Chang
      (Book Excerpt from 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism)…

      1. eg

        “Free Trade” is a slogan, not a really existing thing (nor ever existed) since all markets are constructed and maintained via law, and the laws and their maintenance are human projects, not some naturally occurring thing somewhere “out there.”

        And “Free Trade” is reliably the slogan of empires for and by whom said markets are constructed — first the British and then the American. It is NEVER advantageous for developing nations, and that is no accident.

        1. lance ringquist

          that’s why the word free is so powerful to many people. they simply can see no downside to free.

          till now that is, free does not look to free today.

  5. Robert Hahl

    So China is using its dollars and presumably getting out of Treasuries, which people have said would cause interest rates to rise if China ever did that, but it is not happening. Also inflation is rising (due to China’s dollar spending?), and people have always said that would cause interest rates to rise if it ever happened or was expected to happen, but again no interest rate rise . As we used to say in New York – What gives?

  6. The Historian

    Whoa! Wait a minute here! Is Corbishley just playing a new tune on the old Manifest Destiny violin? No other country is supposed to play in our ‘back yard’?

    First of all, the Latin American countries are not in our ‘back yard’ any more than any other country. They are independent nations fully capable of making their own choices about how they want to live and who they prefer to partner with.

    Second of all, is this more of America’s old thinking that we always have to have an enemy to compete against? The Russian bugaboo is now mostly gone – except of course for the Clintonites – so now we need a new enemy? And China fits the bill these days?

    If China is able to bring more peace and prosperity to Latin American countires, more power to them. We certainly proved that we wouldn’t do it. But in any event, can we just stop interfering in those countries and allow them to make their own decisions? Seems like Corbishley thinks we still have to keep interfering – just in a different way.

    1. Nick Corbishley Post author

      No, that’s not what I meant at all, Historian. My apologies if I did not explain myself well enough. My wife and I have had covid for the past three weeks and are only now getting back on our feet. This is the first article I’ve written since then and my mind is still a little sluggish.

      I agree entirely with your statement that if China is able to bring more peace and prosperity to Latin America, that can only be viewed as a good thing. I also believe that trading with the US, Europe, Canada, etc, is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as those countries stay out of Latin America’s internal affairs — something I hinted at at the beginning of this piece but didn’t stress enough at the end. Trading with other countries is not the same as interfering with them, as long as the terms of the trade are more or less mutually beneficial. For Latin America the times of greatest prosperity have tended to occur when the attention of the colonial powers have been focused elsewhere, such as the first ten years of this century and during the second world war, when there was huge demand for commodities but all the fighting was taking place elsewhere. Unfortunately these periods tend to be short lived and interference from the colonial powers (whether from Europe or North America) inevitably resumes with a vengeance. The bright side, as Lambert hinted at, is that the US is getting less and less effective at regime change. And that can only be a good thing for Latin America.

      I’m going to put my brain to rest now.

      1. The Historian

        Thank you for your clarification. I am so sorry that you got Covid, but I am glad you are getting back onl your feet!

      2. Susan the other

        Get plenty of rest – there’s no substitute for it. We need our Latin America window. Love the point that Latin America does best when left to its own politics. And it is nice to see AMLO coming alive. The first rumor about the RR from Brazil to the Pacific had it going through the Amazon to Peru. I’m assuming it’s going to southern Peru/Chile now. The only disconcerting thing is that China is using industrialization and trade in resources to establish political relationships – which is a good thing only if it creates a virtuous circle of clean industry and good reclamation practices. Never a word on that. Nor on all that lithium in Bolivia. Nor on overfishing the Pacific by the Chinese. I did notice a quick blurb last week that (no doubt in exchange for our go-ahead on Nordstream) the Germans are now patrolling the South China Sea. What sort of environmental reparation work has China done in Africa? Wouldn’t they follow that same model in LA? I do wish the Chinese would start up an oxygen factory – an extraction business, maybe distilling all the O2 out of the upper atmosphere.

  7. Synoia

    China is shopping for raw material, in the same manner as did the US when it had the largest manufacturing sector on the planet. The US is now finding out that sending manufacturing offshore also exports influence. Demonstrating that the US’ Neo Liberal process has side effects detrimental to its influence.

    A forceful demonstration of decline and fall.

    I wonder what would have happened in Afghanistan if the US had focused on creating a mining industry in the country, coupled with a robust rail or road network to the Mediterranean.

    Essentially paving the silk road.

    1. lordkoos

      “I wonder what would have happened in Afghanistan if the US had focused on creating a mining industry in the country, coupled with a robust rail or road network to the Mediterranean.”

      That would have been actual nation-building, as opposed to a giant giveaway to the US military-industrial complex. If the US was truly interested in bringing prosperity to Afghanistan, they would have done as you suggested. Prosperity, as opposed to military conquest, would have had better odds of defeating the Taliban.

  8. John Zac

    A narcissistic sociopath only cares about its own well being. We never cared about these people and that sentiment translated into years of flawed self serving foreign policy and trade agreements. Now China is following a different path, maybe it’ll work but probably it won’t as I’m sure the US still controls enough to ultimately undermine any productive efforts

  9. Joe Well

    How much of this exporting to China is really a round-about exporting to the US by way of China?

    E.g., lithium goes to China to make batteries that go to the US.

    In terms of policy, couldn’t the US re-establish itself as number-one just by re-shoring manufacturing?

    1. JBird4049

      >>>In terms of policy, couldn’t the US re-establish itself as number-one just by re-shoring manufacturing?

      America’s formerly being an autarky with a massive, well-equipped manufacturing industry came from two centuries of economic policy to create it; fifty years of neoliberal off-shoring has destroyed it.

      So, I guess we are back to 1800 or so as a manufacturer. But yes, a competent, rational, uncorrupted regime would start re-shoring as much as possible.

    2. lance ringquist

      never will happen under nafta democrats because remember, this is the real comparative advantage, human and environmental degradation.

      the corporations are watching their wealth being siphoned away by a communist dictatorship, it does not matter to them, what matters is instant huge profits free of democratic control.

      of course the hand writting was always on the wall that this will be a failure for them, but like mice seeing a trap with cheese, they could not help themselves, as lenin predicted.

      when Deng was negotiating with bill clinton for free trade with china, he must have been stunned, comrade lenin was correct!

      bill clinton handed 200 years of american wealth and know how to china on a silver platter. today we see how well that’s worked for us, and i said back then, what bill clintons was doing since 1993 will be almost impossible to reverse, at least by conventional methods.

      we cannot even make a aspirin today, how can we decouple? but by bill clinton putting us in this position, and with nafta democrats back in control, their answer seems to be becoming apparent, war.

      which we cannot win either. like hitlers tanks running out of petrol, our military will run out of chinese made parts.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        How can we decouple? One step at a time over several decades.

        First, we abrogate and reject all Free Trade Agreements. We then change our actual behavior one commodity or product at a time.

        Ban foreign aspirin. That will clear the domestic market in aspirin for domestic makers of aspirin. And extend that principle from thing to thing, or category of things to category of things.

        If not starting with aspirin, start with something else. But start somewhere. And recognize that it will take decades to restore what it took decades to destroy.

        And if a thing is made in America, forbid the sale of the “foreign thing of the same kind” at any lower price than the American thing, to destroy the artificial price advantage.

        Just thoughts. But there are ways to do this if the population is united around the concept of creating and then defending a United States of Autarkamerica from foreign economic and trade aggression.

  10. Matt

    Can we stop talking about the “back yard”.

    You own your back yard. The USA does not own the Americas.

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