Monday, October 12, 2009

The Forgotten Continent?

I get it. President Obama has more than a full plate of foreign affairs that he is dealing with and trying to manage. From Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Copenhagen, missile defense systems in Europe and working with Russia, and now a trip to Oslo, our President's attention is in high demand. So maybe it makes sense that South America isn't at the forefront of concerns as far as foreign policy goes.


there are legitimate concerns and issues that should be addressed and not overlooked.

While the US has is focusing on pressuring Russia to pressure Iran, Venezuela's president is strategically making moves and alliances with those two countries. Chavez is focusing on making arms deals with Russia to acquire guns, jets, tanks, and helicopters while at the same time making friends with almost anyone who America doesn't like or vice versa. Such a move got little notice in the news except for Secretary of State Clinton stating the obvious that it is a "seriously challenge to stability" (The Economist, "Venezuela's Foreign Policy", September 17, 2009). Of course, I realize that Venezuela isn't as worrisome as a nuclear Iran and that it makes sense to be focusing on the more pressing issues. But simply for energy security regions, perhaps its not in America's interest for Venezuela, Russia, Iran, and other oil producing nations to be closely tied while America ignores it.

Furthermore, the coup in Honduras was a 'serious challenge to democracy' and, I believe, should have received more attention and criticism from the United States. Also, I think that most of Latin America finds it insulting that the only interest we have in Cuba is torturing terrorists there. Despite President's Obama to shut down Guantanamo within a year of taking office, no serous efforts have been made.

It's a precarious time in the world and a lot of serious demands on foreign policy. However, the US would do well to take a more vested interest in it's neighbors political environments rather than strictly focusing on the Middle East and Europe.

At least, South America can hope for the US's attention in 2016.

1 comment:

Petrichor said...

Seriously? South America as the lost continent? Have you heard of this place known as Africa? Or does Obama get a free pass because he is African-American?
I think he is wise to stay away from the Venezuela issue. Nothing he can say will change Chavez's current rhetoric. By not addressing him directly we avoid his insults.