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Why is the military worried about China’s expansion in South America?

By on March 23, 2021 0

Do you lose sleep at night worrying about China dominating South America and Latin America? Me neither, but the head of US Southern Command claims that’s actually one thing.

“The insidious, corrosive and corrupt influences of the Chinese Communist Party at work in the world and in this region,” Navy Admiral Craig Faller said at a Pentagon press conference on March 16.

Faller’s comments raise a few questions. First of all: why do military leaders always quote the “Chinese Communist Party” when describing China’s nefarious activities? There is no other party in China, so it’s redundant to mention that the country is run by Communists – unless the John Birch Society is somehow represented on the Standing Committee. of the Central Political Bureau.

Second: How would Americans be endangered if China becomes a hegemony in the Western Hemisphere? Does the US military fear that if we don’t stop the Chinese from encroaching on Paraguay, the ungodly Communists won’t stop until they conquer Peoria, Illinois?

Being a professional jerk, I asked Faller if SOUTHCOM feared that if China made inroads into Venezuela, other South American countries would fall like dominoes – a reference to the Cold War. “Domino theory”On the spread of communism.

“I don’t know – I don’t know or really understand the domino analogy part of your question, Jeff,” Faller replied.

Faller argued that China is trying to exert more control over water and food resources in the Western Hemisphere so that it can “use this leverage in international forums to advance China’s vision of a rules-based world order ”.

I’m not sure what that means, but it doesn’t quite sound like “Better to die than red!” “

Before any of you accuse me of being “awake” please understand that I am not a fan of communism. But I’m also not so terrified of Communist subversion that I suspect fluoridation is a conspiracy to sap and impure our precious bodily fluids.

This brings us to the elephant in the room: Is the US military paranoid about China’s growing influence south of the border? Since there is no easy way to ask this question, I put it directly to defense officials asking, “If I were to describe SOUTHCOM and DOD’s stance towards China as ‘paranoid’ , would I be wrong? Why?”

In response, a Defense Ministry spokesperson repeated the Pentagon’s mantra that China is the strategic challenge of the global rhythm and the Defense Ministry supports oversight of all current and potential state security risks. -United in South and Central America, including China’s political and economic engagement with countries like Venezuela. .

In addition, China’s growing economic power in Latin America and the Caribbean risks undermining transparency and the rule of law in the western hemisphere, the spokesperson said.

Another reason Americans should be concerned about China’s growing influence in the Western Hemisphere is that their security – and the security of the United States – is tied to the well-being of Latin American countries and countries. Caribbean, said a SOUTHCOM spokesperson.

China’s investments and loans in critical infrastructure and raw materials in South America and elsewhere in the hemisphere are diverting money from local businesses, the spokesperson said. China’s growing access to maritime, cybernetic and space infrastructure also poses growing risks to the United States as well as to its allies and partners.

While not all of China’s activities are malicious, Beijing is actively working against the United States in the region, in part by supporting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the spokesperson said. That’s why the United States last year imposed sanctions on the China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation for restricting internet service in Venezuela and conducting digital surveillance of Maduro’s political opponents.

All of these comments are much more toned down than what Faller said when he indicated that Chinese investments in ports around the world could be part of his strategy to establish new bases for its growing fleet of warships.

“We view with growing and alarming concern the vast and massive blue water navy that China uses and question the intention and use of this navy in the future,” Faller said. “So I absolutely think they are on the march to do what they need to make sure the Communist Party stays intact. And I ask the question, why would they be looking at so many ports, including deepwater ports in this hemisphere? “

My God. He is right. If the Chinese can send their warships to South America, what will stop them from sailing up the Potomac and claiming Washington, DC, as their summer home?

Please forgive me for sounding so contemptuous, but the Pentagon rhetoric reminds me of the 1967 film Battle under the ground on a Chinese general’s plot to dig tunnels under the United States and detonate nuclear weapons under American cities.

“They are crawling under us, I tell you,” said one character. “Just like ants.”

Now, just because the Pentagon may be exaggerating the threat that China poses to the United States does not mean that the Beijing regime is warm or cuddly. In June 1989, the tanks of the People’s Liberation Army crushed pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square and not a single Chinese leader was prosecuted for murder.

China is currently strangling the remnants of representative government in Hong Kong, showing that its methods have become more subtle over the past 30 years but no less effective.

It’s also worth noting that China’s foreign policy involves bending leaders around the world to its will, said Patrick Cronin, president for Asia-Pacific security at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington, DC.

“China would like to make friends and influence people to help rewrite global rules and institutions to make them more in line with China’s interests,” said Cronin, who added that the United States is neglecting the western hemisphere at their own risk.

However, China’s activities in South and Central America do not pose a direct military threat to the United States, he said.

Rather, China’s efforts in the Western Hemisphere are part of its global strategy to dominate trade and communications at physical and informational bottlenecks, he said.

In short: the final battle against communism is unlikely to be won or lost in South America. If the Pentagon is truly on the lookout for a fight to the death, it should start tackling the spread of QAnon and other conspiracy theories in the ranks. These types of lies pose a much greater threat to our democracy than China.

But to make sure China doesn’t try fun stuff in Latin America or the Caribbean, I volunteer for a six-month fact-finding mission to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to make sure the Army People’s Liberation is not trying to interfere with our precious alcohol supply.

Featured Image: Chinese police trained in riot control arrive at the national airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on October 17, 2004. This is Beijing’s first contribution to a UN mission in the country. western hemisphere. (AP Photo / Ariana Cubillos)

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