Daily Archives: November 5, 2011

No ideas, only slogans… guess who??

Andres Oppenheimer writes in the Miami Herald:

“If political biographies of recent U.S. presidents and top foreign policy  officials are any indication of what goes on in their mind — and I think they  are — the new book by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks for  itself: it’s about 98 percent about the Middle East, Russia and Asia, and 2  percent about Latin America.”

“Rice, whose boss President George W. Bush vowed during the 2000 campaign to  make Latin America a “fundamental commitment” of his presidency, devotes only  two of the 58 chapters of her memoir  No Higher  Honor to the region. That’s about 15 pages of the 766-page book, plus a  few sporadic references here and there.”

“Referring to the leaders she met at the 2006 inauguration of former Chilean  President Michelle Bachelet, she writes that leftist Bolivian President Evo  Morales “seemed completely out of his depth. He had no ideas — only slogans.” Rice adds that Morales’ gesture of publicly giving her as a present a Ukelele [Rice obviously does not know the difference between a ukelele and a Bolivian Charango] decorated with coca leafs on that occasion “spoke volumes about his  immaturity.”

“Rice admits that by the end of Bush’s first term, in 2004, Venezuelan  President Hugo Chávez and his followers in Latin America [Bolivian president among them] were gaining steam “as  a result of our inattention” to the region. She adds that hopefully “the time  would come later to do something about it, should the (U.S.) president get a  second term.”

“Of course, Bush ended his second term without ever fulfilling his vow to turn  Latin America into a foreign policy priority.”

“And one can already anticipate that President Barack Obama’s and Secretary of  State Hillary Clinton’s political biographies once they leave office will not be  too different. We already got a hint of it in this month’s issue of Foreign  Policy magazine, where  Clinton writes an article entitled, “America’s Pacific  Century,” with a subtitle starting with “the future of geopolitics will be  decided in Asia, not in Afghanistan or Iraq.”

“My opinion: There is no question that Washington had no choice but to focus  on Islamic terrorism following the 9/11 attacks, or that the United States will  have to look at Asia as its biggest challenge — and opportunity — in the near  future.”

“But the United States exports three times more to Latin America than to  China, according to U.S. figures. Altogether, the Western Hemisphere already  accounts for 43 percent of U.S. exports, and with Latin American countries  growing and their middle classes expanding rapidly, that percentage is likely to  increase significantly.”

“In addition, the Western Hemisphere is the source of about 50 percent of U.S.  oil imports, and the No. 1 foreign problem when it comes to immigration, drugs  or violent gang activity. Latin America deserves more than 2 percent of U.S.  leaders’ attention.”

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/11/02/2484409/rices-book-shows-inattention-to.html

Rice’s memoir should be taken with a grain of salt, however it somehow reflects how current Bolivian president is viewed outside our borders… With the TIPNIS conflict, his self-positioned-image as defender of mother earth, is clearly questioned…