The recent Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles was Washington’s big push to showcase the importance of multilateral forums in Latin America and the Caribbean as a shaping tool for developing a regional agenda and fostering coordination. Of course, the administration of President Joe Biden did not extend an invitation to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), but China was on everyone’s mind. “It’s much better for us… to have a supply chain here in the Americas than it is for us to be dependent on a supply chain that comes from China,” U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar told reporters at the event. For better or for worse, the summit was Washington’s show and focused on crafting a coordinated agenda for the region as well as showcasing the numerous points of weakness in Washington’s regional engagement, primarily stemming from the evolving political dynamics of the region. But throughout the summit, it was clear that Washington’s agenda was deeply rooted in its underlying concerns over the PRC’s ambitions in the Americas and its ongoing efforts to build relationships with the region’s various multilateral institutions to support Chinese national objectives and those of Chinese companies in the region.
Strategic Importance of the Caribbean Basin
Creating and Maintaining non-Binary Strategic Foreign Policy The foreign policy of the United States of America is in danger of failing to innovate to meet the challenges of a developing, changing, and increasingly competitive world. The growing threat to developing tailored strategic foreign policy has grown from the academic channelization of two basic different schools of thought. These have evolved into binary sets of policies with only the slightest of deviations and nuances. Although some foreign policy language has started to address complexities, conversation is still incredibly stove piped into concepts of isolationism being associated with realism and global engagement with liberalism.
Nowadays, changes are taking place in political, economic, and social scenarios, and people increasingly adapt quickly to new models of social interaction. Even though these interactions may bring advantages, they also show problems and challenges to overcome. Human behaviors and the complexity of this interaction are some factors that show how leaders should be adaptive and able to be dynamic enough in order to provide positive outcomes. Because the information and the situational understanding change every day, it is essential to have leaders capable of responding to today’s dynamic operational environment.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—indirectly underwritten by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and with the Western response hampered by the threat of nuclear war—highlights a world transitioning away from the institutional, economic, and ideological order that has prevailed since the end of World War II. The transition will have significant and grave implications, and its dynamics are likely to be uneven, with the U.S. and democratic, market-oriented states likely to be some of the most adversely affected.
Modern history is punctuated by decisive events that both directly impact the strategic environment and change the calculations of global actors. Russia’s February 2022 invasion of the Ukraine is arguably one such event. The impact of the invasion on the global strategic environment, including Latin America and the Caribbean will be profound and principally negative for Western democracies and the global institutional order that has prevailed since World War II. The interacting political, economic and other dynamics set into motion by Russia’s action may lead to a number of distinct paths, yet the implications of the likely outcome of events are disturbing.
For a long time, it could be said that China, unlike Russia, sought to be loved rather than to be feared; that it wanted to seduce, project a positive image of itself in the world, and arouse admiration. Today, Beijing has not given up on seduction, on its attractiveness, and on its ambition to shape international norms. Not “losing face” remains very important for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). And yet, Beijing is also increasingly comfortable with infiltration and coercion: its influence operations have been considerably hardened in recent years and its methods increasingly resemble Moscow’s. The Party-State has entered a “Machiavellian moment” in the sense that Beijing now appears to believe that, as Machiavelli wrote in The Prince, “it is better to be feared than loved.” This evolution shows a “Russification” of Chinese influence operations. And our report [see the full report] analyzes this evolution, with the ambition of covering the entire spectrum of its tools of influence, from the most benign (public diplomacy) to the most malign — which means interfering in other countries’ affairs (clandestine activities). To do so, our analysis proceeds in four parts, successively presenting the concepts, actors, actions pertaining to this moment, and it ends with several case studies.
As I boarded my flight in Bogotá, Colombia, to return to the United States on March 14, 2020, after participating in the joint Colombia-U.S. Exercise Vita in the Guajira Peninsula, the reality of how the COVID-19 pandemic was going to affect our lives over the next year began to manifest. Arriving back in Miami, where I was the Military Deputy Commander for U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), I went straight home to begin a 14-day quarantine in accordance with new policies from the Department of Defense (DOD) for travelers returning from overseas. It was the first of many adaptations that we would make in the coming months.
Disinformation in Southeast Europe Since the end of the Cold War, the countries of Southeast Europe have pursued Euro-Atlantic integration with varying degrees of success. In recent years, however, that process has lost momentum as prospects for further NATO and European Union enlargement appear to have stalled. Even countries that achieved membership in those organizations face challenges for which they seem ill-prepared, ranging from entrenched corruption to irregular migration and demographic decline.
Two years after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war, the Soviet Politburo ousted its leader, Nikita Khrushchev. Then-Politburo member Pyotr Shelest told me that many believed Khrushchev’s predisposition for unacceptable risk would again put the USSR in needless danger.
With inflation at a record high, millions of its citizens fleeing the country, and a political opposition recognized by most Western democracies as the legitimate government of Venezuela, the regime of Nicolás Maduro seemed to be on the brink of collapse in 2019. But Maduro regime survived, thanks to a number of factors — among them the external support it received from malign state actors such as Russia and China.
The indirect threat made by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as the crisis in the Ukraine escalated in January 2022, that Russia could not rule out deploying military forces to Venezuela and Cuba, highlighted the strategic risks posed by Russia's position in the Western Hemisphere.