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  • Tillerson Praises Monroe Doctrine, Warns Latin America of ‘Imperial’ Chinese Ambition



    illerson Praises Monroe Doctrine, Warns Latin America of ‘Imperial’ Chinese Ambitions
    The secretary of state kicks off his multicountry tour trying to get the region to rally behind Trump.
    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may have stumbled out of the gate as he kicked off a trip to Latin America by praising a controversial 200-year-old foreign-policy doctrine, warning of “imperial” Chinese trade ambitions, and touting the United States as the region’s preferred trade partner.

    During a question-and-answer session after a speech in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, Tillerson praised the 1823 Monroe Doctrine as “clearly … a success.” The doctrine, and subsequent corollary to the doctrine issued in 1904 by President Theodore Roosevelt, asserted U.S. authority in the Western Hemisphere over meddling European powers, and is still seen by many in the region as a form of U.S. imperialism.

    “I think it’s as relevant today as it was the day it was written,” Tillerson said of the doctrine.
    The secretary’s remarks were a direct repudiation of the Barack Obama administration’s new-style approach to the region. In 2013, Tillerson’s predecessor John Kerry declared “the era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.”

    Tillerson’s remarks could ruffle the feathers of his hosts on an already fraught trip. Since President Donald Trump has taken office, U.S. standing in Latin America has plummeted, and Tillerson’s trip, which will cover cooperation on migration, trade, and energy, may have been meant to smooth things over.
    But experts say it will be an uphill battle. “Thus far, all of Trump’s policy attention to Latin America has been highly negative,” said Cynthia Arnson of the Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank.

    During Tillerson’s speech in Austin, which fell on his one-year anniversary of becoming secretary of state, Tillerson also painted China as a foil to the United States. “Today China is getting a foothold in Latin America. It is using economic statecraft to pull the region into its orbit. The question is: At what price?” he said.

    Tillerson took particular aim at China’s economic approach to Latin America, which focused on gaining access to commodities from countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Peru, but which has left little lasting benefit for those countries.

    “Latin America does not need new imperial powers that seek only to benefit their own people,” said the top diplomat charged with implementing the Trump administration’s “America first” approach to the world. “China’s state-led model of development is reminiscent of the past,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be this hemisphere’s future.”

    Tillerson’s trip comes as he fends off criticism back in Washington, and the State Department reels from the resignation of its top U.S. career diplomat, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, who played a crucial role in talks on Venezuela. Shannon’s resignation followed the departure last fall of William Brownfield, another longtime Latin America expert and point man on anti-narcotics efforts in the region.

    Tillerson vowed Washington would remain the region’s “steadiest, strongest, and most enduring partner.”
    But the offer of friendship may not be enough to sell Latin American countries on teaming up with Trump.
    A recent poll by Gallup found Latin Americans’ approval ratings of U.S. leadership dropped from 49 percent in 2016 to 24 percent in 2017. Only 16 percent of the region approves of Trump’s job performance.

    Since he first announced his bid for presidency in 2015 by promising a wall at the southern U.S. border and making incendiary remarks about Mexican immigrants, Trump has pushed forward a constellation of hard-line policies that have stoked anger and resentment across Latin America.

    As president, Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that included South American and Asian countries, cracked down on immigration, scuttled a temporary protected status program for Salvadorans living in the United States, and threatened to scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement. (Tillerson, for his part, said the agreement needs to be “modernized,” not scrapped.)

    But that doesn’t make Tillerson’s trip a lost cause. “It’s a good sign simply that he’s going,” said Earl Wayne, a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
    “He can do a lot to inject a sense that U.S. policy goes beyond the tweets of our current president,” said the Wilson Center’s Arnson. “Most of the democracies of the region still want a positive relationship with the United States.”

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/tillerson-...180852575.html

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Tillerson Praises Monroe Doctrine, Warns Latin America of ‘Imperial’ Chinese Ambition started by EB88 News View original post


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