Third, China’s incursions into Latin America risk leaving the region vulnerable to competing for geopolitical interests, particularly those of the United States. The fact that China is increasingly engaged in and empowered by Africa and Latin America is an opportunity for the US to take a more proactive approach and mitigate this vulnerability. While the US and China are turning to the classic pursuit of self-interest and cooperation, Latin America and the Caribbean have turned to China as a potential ally in their fight against what they perceive as an increasingly assertive China.
While the great powers “competition has focused on Europe, Russia, Asia, and China, it is equally true in Latin America, where China is aggressively using economic power as an instrument of economic power.
This means that trade in Latin America is not really a zero-sum game, and, with both the US and China making gains in the region in different sectors, there is room for both sides to grow. Indeed, we see that China offers Latin America not only opportunities to grow its economy, but also to create better jobs, raise living standards, and lower prices.
China is the world leader in e-commerce, and the growing trade imbalance between the parties makes it difficult to compete for export markets. Chinese investors tend to turn to established markets like the US and Europe, a challenge that hurts Latin America more than it hurts it. Latin American countries are on top, but some of the trade flowing into China could benefit both.
Despite its economic ties, China is not seeking, at least for now, to establish a direct economic relationship with the United States or any other country in the region. As a result, there is significant Chinese investment in Brazil and other Latin American countries, but not necessarily linked to the Chinese government.
There is also a need to assess the impact of China’s advance in Latin America in the broader context of Sino-American relations. So far, his actions suggest that China is playing a long game in Latin America, including several phased agreements in the region. In the long run, it seems that the US is able to rein in its economic forecasts for Latin America.
We believe that the rise of Chinese power should be viewed as something to balance and contain, and may go as far as to consider the impact of China’s expansion in Latin America on the US economy, but we should be careful. The region is a symbolic struggle best measured by the United States “continued hegemony over China, given its proximity to the South China Sea and its influence in the Pacific. Growing pressure from China and other regional powers such as Russia and Iran could transform Latin America. Bridging the Pacific Ocean is the challenge and opportunity that will shape the future relationship between the US and China in South America and the Asia-Pacific region.
The prospect of a Chinese military base in Argentina could prove a bargaining chip for the US, while Latin American support for China’s military expansion in South America and the Asia-Pacific region could bring greater economic benefits to the United States and its allies in the region.
But this stance is not easy to implement, because China does not seem interested in creating influence in all areas of Latin America. China wants to be able to focus on South and Central America, while the US cannot do the same with Chinese policy. Despite China’s interest in South America and the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America remains so divided as a region because China and the US are handling their respective political and economic interests in the region.
Finally, Latin American countries cannot blame China or the United States for their inability to manage their own foreign and economic policies. If China becomes Latin America’s preferred partner, it will show that US dominance around the world is also in jeopardy. However, the US can continue to do great damage to Latin America’s economic and political stability and to the stability of the region.
China – Relations between the US and China, already strained on several fronts, seem unwilling to add to the Latin American fighting. This calm would explain the US disinterest in the struggle between China and the United States for regional hegemony. We must also take into account the failure of the Washington Consensus and its inability to explain its failure.
The second conclusion is that the US has so far lacked the capacity to cope with China’s growing presence in Latin America. This is not a worry for advocates of diversification: China is the only great power in the Western Hemisphere with which the US can restart and improve bilateral relations by looking east. Argentina also offers the United States an opportunity to strengthen ties with the great powers of the Western Hemisphere, protect their national security interests, and send a strong message to China (and, by default, Russia) about Latin America’s economic exploitation and militarization.