U.S. Disengagement from Latin America: Compromised Security and Economic Interests

Posted on September 7, 2014 • Filed under: Latin America Mining, Latin America News, Politics, United States

U.S. Disengagement from Latin America: Compromised
and Economic Interests
Testimony before the
House Foreign Relations Committee
Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
March 25, 2014
Ilan Berman
Vice President
American Foreign Policy Council
Chairman Salmon, Ranking member Sires, distinguishe
d members of the Subcommittee:
Thank you for the invitation to appear before you t
oday to discuss the current state of
American policy toward Latin America, and the strat
egic costs that may be incurred by the
United States as a result.
Any serious discussion of this subject must start b
y acknowledging that Latin America has
historically served as a foreign policy backwater f
or the United States, one overshadowed
by Europe, the Middle East and Asia on the agendas
of successive administrations. This is
deeply counterintuitive, because by virtue of their
geographic proximity the countries of
the Americas are natural trading partners for the U
nited States. It is also dangerous, since
the region’s large ungoverned spaces and widespread
anti-Americanism have the potential
to breed direct threats to the United States. Indee
d, the criminal gangs and drug cartels
endemic to Central and South America are already vi
ewed as top tier national security
concerns by the U.S. intelligence community.
Nevertheless, inattention to the region
remains the norm within the Washington Beltway.
This state of affairs, moreover, is worsening. Sinc
e taking office, the Obama administration
has systematically disengaged from Latin America, s
caling back funding for key initiatives
(like the longstanding and highly-successful Plan C
olombia), failing to bolster important
military partnerships and arrangements, and equivoc
ating over political developments in
vulnerable regional states.
At the same time, budgetary cutbacks and fiscal au
sterity have
resulted in a significant paring back of the U.S. m
ilitary’s presence and activities in the
Americas. Read Full Document

Share This Story
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email