ON-Lion Letter

"Last fall, in a speech before the Organization of American States, Secretary of State John Kerry announced with great fanfare that the 'era of the Monroe Doctrine is over,'" begins an article by Ilan Berman in the Summer issue of inFocus Quarterly, published by The Jewish Policy Center.  

"Kerry's pronouncement was a distinctly political one, intended to reassure regional powers that the heavy-handed interventionism that at times had characterized America's approach to Latin America was a thing of the past," continues Berman in "A Post-America South America."  "But it was also very much a sign of the times, because the United States is in strategic retreat in its own hemisphere."

Berman is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC) in Washington, D.C.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports AFPC.

"Since taking office, the Obama administration has systematically disengaged from the Americas, scaling back funding for key initiatives (like the longstanding and highly-successful 'Plan Colombia'), failing to bolster important military partnerships and arrangements, and equivocating over political developments in vulnerable regional states," he writes.  "At the same time, budgetary cutbacks and fiscal austerity have resulted in a significant paring back of the U.S. military's presence and activities throughout the region.

"America's retraction from the region, however, has not taken place in isolation," Berman continues.  "It has been mirrored by the advance of three other strategic actors, each of which is significantly expanding its political and strategic presence in our geopolitical backyard."

These actors, he explains, are Russian, Iran, and China.

"Through their engagement in Latin America, Russia, Iran, and China are already having a profound effect upon the complexion of the region," Berman concludes.  "Absent a serious U.S. strategy toward the Americas, they will continue to do so, with negative effects for America's own security and for our long-term interests south of the border."

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