We won’t be the alpha dog in the western hemisphere forever.
Even if the US hadn’t crashed into a financial crisis, there are demographic, material, and political forces that have been spreading power around the Americas for decades.
Brazil is first among the BRICs — four economies that are supposed to overtake the six largest Western economics by 2032.
Mexico is first among the MAVINS — six economies we expect to blow away expectations and become leading powers in their regions relatively soon.
Canada and Venezuela are oil powers of the distant future.
Peru and Chile are sitting on a fortune of metals and minerals.
All these countries are cranking up, while America faces plenty of fiscal and demographic problems at home.
For the first time in 16 years, the World's Richest Man is not an American. Carlos Slim, worth $54 billion, is the first Latin American to hold that title and one of many emerging market billionaires to eclipse the U.S.
Three years after a US financial crisis, Latin America is again growing rapidly. The US? Not so much...
Compare this to what happened during the Great Depression. Latin America was devastated when US investment dried up and the export market soured in the 30s. A League of Nations report said Chile, Peru, and Bolivia suffered the world's worst depression.
Today is quite different. Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico have led a buoyant recovery from the global recession, according to Reuters. The regional economy is expected by the UN to grow 4.3 per cent in 2010. If the American consumer remains weak, Latin American exports will move elsewhere.
The DC-based IMF is not popular in Latin America. Argentina rejected decades of bungled supervision by defaulting on its debt in 2002. Since then, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, and others have expressed opposition to the IMF and refused its loans. Hugo Chavez is leading the creation of an alternate regional bank, Banco del Sur.
Mark Weisbrot writes: 'The collapse of the IMF's creditors' cartel in the region has also eliminated the most important avenue of Washington's influence.'
America once led the world in iron mining. In 1892 we discovered the world's largest mine at the Great Lakes Mesabi Range. It was a wellspring for America's industrial might and the foundation of the rust belt.
Now we claim reserves at 2,100 mt. Seven countries claim higher reserves, including Brazil at 8,900 mt.
We produce only 54 mt yearly, while Brazil produces 250 mt.
America produces around 9 million billion barrels of oil a day. Venezuela and Canada each produce around 3 million.
But America's reserves are 21 billion barrels and may last less than a decade. Our oil-rich neighbours claim 99 billion bbl and 178 billion bbl, respectively, and will keep producing oil into the distant future.
America use to lead the world in beef production. Although we still do, America exports only 800,000 mt of beef per year. Brazil exports 2,200,000 mt.
Here's some ironic excerpts from a 1911 NYT article: 'American-Canadian syndicate to have world's largest beef plant in Brazil... The chilled beef industry has never been tried before in Brazil and has only recently gotten under way in Argentina.'
The acronym coined by Goldman Sachs to describe the four key emerging powers has taken on a life of its own. Brazil, Russia, India, and China have held several summits and even discussed making a supranational currency -- that would pull the rug out from the US dollar.
What's important here is that global emerging powers have good relations and are inclined to work together. For instance, China just signed major contracts to build factories and high-speed rail in Brazil.
Before the earthquake, Brazil led a force of 1,700 Brazilian soldiers and 5,300 UN peacekeepers in Haiti. When the earthquake triggered a massive international response, including 10,000 American troops, there was a behind the scenes power struggle between Brazil and the US.
Weeks after the earthquake, the mission chain of command was still unclear, according to Spiegel.
The CIA has a notorious history of interventions in Latin America, supposedly targeting Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, Fidel Castro, Manuel Noriega, Rios Montt, Che Guevara, and many others.
But they haven't stopped Hugo Chavez from railing against the United States for years. Clearly America has adopted a more passive regional strategy.
Homeland security has come a long way since the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, when America pledged to protect the Western Hemisphere from invasion or interference by foreign powers. And a long way since nuclear deterrence and Cold War separated America and most of the hemisphere from foreign attack.
Since 9/11 America has struggled to protect her own borders from a growing number of terrorist attacks.
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