Latin america and Caribbean states create CELAC to counter US influence
CELAC Historic Birth in Caracas
Posted by J.Perez
Thirty-three Latin American leaders have come together and formed a new regional bloc, pledging closer economic and political ties. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) pointedly excludes the US and Canada.
On the second day of a summit in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, all Latin American leaders, both right and left, officially signed into effect the formation of the CELAC bloc. The foundation of the bloc has been praised as the realization of the two-centuries-old idea of Latin American “independence” envisioned by Simon Bolivar.
Analysts view CELAC as an alternative to the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) and as an attempt by Latin American countries to reduce US influence in the region.
“As the years go by, CELAC is going to leave behind the old and worn-out OAS,” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said at the inauguration of the bloc on Friday.
“It’s the death sentence for the Monroe Doctrine,” said Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega said.
However Washington does not see CELAC as a replacement to OAS. US Department of State spokesman Mark Toner said the US will continue “to work through the OAS as the pre-eminent multilateral organization, speaking for the hemisphere.”
Political analyst Omar Jose Hassan Farinas told RT’s Spanish channel the US views CELAC as a potential threat to its hegemony in the region.
Chavez also read out statement opposing the US trade embargo on Cuba. Havana, which is not a member of the OAS, has joined the new regional bloc.
“No more interference. Enough is enough! We have to take shape as a center of the world power and demand respect for all of us as community and for each one of our countries,” Venezuelan leader said.
The 33 leaders pledged to withstand the financial crisis that has struck Europe and other developed countries.
Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff stressed that the Latin American countries would need to rely more on their neighbors amid the global economic turmoil.
“The economic, financial crisis should be at the center of our concerns,” Rousseff said Friday night. She said Latin America should “realize that to guarantee its current cycle of development despite the international economic turbulence, it means that every politician must be aware that each one needs the others.”
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, who assumed the initial rotating presidency at CELAC, expressed hopes that the bloc would help build regional cooperation despite the differences between some of the 33 member states.
The leaders also discussed cooperation in the field of drug trafficking and climate change.
CELAC should be a “political union to build a large power center of the 21st century,” the Venezuelan president said, stressing strong regional growth as many countries in the region develop closer ties with Asia or Europe and reduce their traditional reliance on the US.
The formation of CELAC was warmly welcomed by rising global power, China. Chavez read aloud a letter from Chinese President Hu Jintao congratulating the leaders on forming the new bloc.
Hu pledged to deepen cooperation with the CELAC and underlined that in the 21st century the relations between China and Latin America have seen all-round and fast development with expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation, according to Xinhua news agency.
The countries of CELAC have a combined population of nearly 600 million people, and a combined GDP of about US$6 trillion – about a third of the combined output of the US and Canada.
Our world is in a transition stage, moving from a unipolar world dominated by the USA to a multipolar world with many poles of power.
Today we look at the CELAC bloc, an organisation aimed at independence from U.S influence, domination and imperialism in latin america.Edited by Dalforce 1941 05 Dec `11, 9:59PM
Why China and Mexico matter
America's future depends on its relations with these two nationsBY MICHAEL LINDOne of the most tiresome games in Washington, D.C., is the search for a new American grand strategy. According to the folklore of the foreign policy community, the American diplomat George Kennan came up with the grand strategy of containment of the Soviet Union that the U.S. followed through successfully until the end of the Cold War. While Kennan indeed contributed the name “containment,” by the mid-1950s he had repudiated the policy and became in effect a conservative isolationist. Nixonian realpolitik, Carter-style human rights diplomacy and Reagan’s renewed Cold War were quite different. But the myth persists that some Kennan-like genius devised a new grand strategy, be it the “concert of democracies” favored by neocons and neoliberal hawks or the “offshore balancing” preferred by realists.
A much more useful approach was laid out by the journalist and political thinker Walter Lippmann in “U.S. Foreign Policy: Shield of the Republic,” which he published in 1943 during World War II. Lippmann spoke of “the order of power,” that is, the relationships among the handful of great military and economic powers that matter the most. In his view of history, American foreign policy has always been defined by America’s relations with other great powers: first Britain and France, and later Germany, Japan and the Soviet Union.
To this might be added a corollary: America’s relationship with Mexico, the other populous nation in North America and one with which, along with Canada, the U.S. shares a 2,000-mile border. Quite apart from the importance of good bilateral relations, American friendship and partnership with a stable, prosperous Mexico is critical to U.S. foreign policy.
Since the 1840s, European great powers have hoped to tie down the U.S. on its southern border. Britain sought to keep the republic of Texas out of the United States, in order to pursue a divide-and-rule strategy in North America. During the American Civil War, France’s dictator Louis Napoleon imposed an Austrian prince, Maximilian, as puppet ruler in a short-lived attempt to turn Mexico into a French colony. In the years preceding World War I, Imperial Germany and the U.S. engaged in a kind of cold war in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. The Zimmerman Telegram, in which the German government promised to support Mexico’s attempt to recapture territories lost to the U.S., increased American public support for U.S. intervention against Germany. Franklin Roosevelt’s euphemistically named “Good Neighbor” policy of appeasing repressive dictatorships in Mexico and elsewhere in the hemisphere succeeded in dissuading any Latin American countries from becoming allies of the Axis powers. Later during the Cold War the Soviets found allies in Cuba, Nicaragua and elsewhere but Mexico remained neutral.
For American strategic thinkers, the ultimate nightmares have long been an alliance between a foreign great power rival and a hostile Mexico, or chaos in Mexico exploited by America’s enemies. For the foreseeable future, only China, which is still far from being a superpower, has the potential to become a serious military rival of the U.S., as Britain, France, Japan, Germany and the Soviet Union were in earlier generations. It follows that relationships among the U.S., China and Mexico are much more important to the future of American strategy than the outcome of the Arab Spring or the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict or the success or failure of Russia to regain influence in Central Asia or whether the United Kingdom splits up because of Scottish secession. And far more important than the fates of Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are problems more for their neighbors — China, India, Russia, Iran — than for us.
What makes the China Question and the Mexican Question today particularly difficult is the existence of a high degree of economic and demographic integration among those countries and the U.S. Thanks to successful Chinese policies of pressuring multinationals to transfer production to its territory, much of the U.S. industrial base is integrated with China’s factory system. The American and Mexican labor markets are deeply integrated, thanks to legal and illegal immigration as well as trade.
This means that thinking about the U.S.-China relationship and the U.S.-Mexican relationship in simple-minded military terms cannot work. For example, while a hostile China might be militarily balanced in various ways, it makes no sense to talk about “containing” China geographically. The containment of the Soviet Union worked because the Soviet empire (as distinct from Russia itself) included the populations and economies of its East European colonies. The Cold War ended when the Red Army withdrew from the former empire in Eastern Europe.
But China, like America, is a continental nation-state whose power resources are almost entirely internal. In deriving its military potential from its large internal population and domestic economy, China is like the United States, although less favored with resources. Encircling China with U.S. bases in Australia, Vietnam and northeast Asia will not cripple it but may provoke it.
The excessive militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border would also be a mistake. Ever since the U.S. annexed Texas, California and the Southwest in the Mexican-American War, the smuggling of contraband and human beings has been a profitable trade along la Frontera — so profitable that local officials, in return for payoffs, have turned a blind eye for generations. Today’s Mexican drug cartels are no different in kind from the tequileros who smuggled alcohol across the border during America’s misguided experiment with Prohibition in the 1920s. The repeal of Prohibition dried up much of that business. The legalization of less dangerous drugs like marijuana would reduce, though not eliminate, the border drug trade and the attendant violence.
While border fencing in some areas and beefed-up Border Patrol units make sense, illegal immigration can be checked much more easily on the demand side, by prosecuting American employers of illegal immigrants, than on the supply side, by turning the border into a fortified combat zone. Comparisons between national border fences and the Berlin Wall are nonsense; the former seek to keep unwanted foreign natioanls out, the latter was built to keep citizens from escaping. Even so, for diplomatic reasons it is probably not prudent to create an Iron Curtain between the U.S. and one of the two countries in the world that are most important to America.
America’s foreign policy planners need to think carefully as well about the bilateral relations between China and Mexico, whether collaborative or competitive. China and Mexico, as developing countries reliant on trade for growth, are also competitors. The relationship between China, which may surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest economy, and Mexico, which like the U.S. has one of the world’s largest populations as well as a large market and abundant resources, is significant in itself. In addition to the Chinese Question and the Mexican Question as viewed by America, then, there is the Sino-Mexican question.
Many proponents of NAFTA back in the 1990s hoped that the treaty would encourage American-based multinationals to offshore production to Mexico, rather than to China or other remote countries, spurring Mexican growth and reducing poverty and illegal immigration. That didn’t happen. But in the event of a serious Sino-American trade war the U.S. might seek to bring back some of the manufacturing it has lost to Mexico and other North American countries as well as the U.S. itself, generating new industrial growth and its spillover effects on both sides of the border.
And then there is energy. To everyone’s surprise, fracking technology has greatly expanded recoverable reserves of oil and natural gas, in Mexico and Canada as well as the U.S. In light of the continued marginal role of renewable energy worldwide, North America has the potential to become even more important in global fossil fuel energy markets. Here there is potential for collaboration among the U.S. and Mexico, as well as Canada — but also competition, if Asian and European powers pit the energy-exporting nations of North America against one another.
These are issues that have not received enough attention from the officials, academics and journalists who debate foreign policy, distracted as they have been, first by misguided American wars in the Middle East and South Asia and more recently by the global economic crisis. To make matters worse, in American public debate complex questions have to be reduced to shouting matches over illegal immigration or trade among demagogic nativists on one side and open-borders, one-world libertarian and leftist utopians on the other.
The future of America will depend to a considerable degree on developments in China and Mexico. But we Americans cannot settle on the right answers until we start asking the right questions.
Out of the Backyard: New Latin American and Caribbean Bloc Defies Washington
South America Consolidates Its Role as an Emerging Power
Summit in Venezuela opens 'new phase in history'Chinese president congratulates founding of CELAC
Latin America integrationEdited by Dalforce 1941 09 Dec `11, 9:09PM