John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations, speaks at a CPAC conference on February 24, 2017. Alex Brandon AP
John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, speaks at a CPAC conference on February 24, 2017. Alex Brandon AP

Will the hawk fly over Latin America?

The new National Security Adviser, John Bolton, is not unknown in Latin America; far from it, in fact.


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Last Thursday, President Donald Trump put the country and the international community on alert by announcing that his new National Security Advisor will be, nothing more and nothing less, than the "War Hawk," John Bolton.

Known for his violent diplomatic career and his positions against international organizations such as the United Nations, Bolton is also known for his warmongering and, in particular, for his "desire to use force as much as he can in Latin America," the professor of political science from the University of North Carolina, Greg Weeks, explains.

In his blog, Weeks says that, "in Latin America we will see more use of force, more belligerent statements, more Latin American moves to embrace China and Europe.”

Previously, the professor had reported Bolton's positions against Chile's determinations in the war in Iraq in 2008, his delight at the "inability of Venezuela to obtain the rotating seats in the UN’s Security Council" in 2006, and his criticism of the thawing of relations with Cuba.

But what is most alarming is what Bolton has said in his own texts about his positions towards Latin America.

In an article dated last February for The Hill, Bolton warned of the need to turn Latin America and Africa a "foreign policy priority" for the United States.

"Political instability and the collapse of national governments, international terrorism and its associated financing, and great power competition for natural resources and political influence could all threaten significant American national security interests next year,” the former ambassador wrote.

For Bolton the threat lies mainly in the governments of Cuba and Venezuela, especially because of "Russian meddling (...) could inspire Trump to reassert the Monroe Doctrine and stand up for Cuba’s beleaguered people."

The diplomat refers to the political position elaborated by John Quincy Adams and established by President James Monroe in 1823, which established that "any intervention by Europeans in America would be seen as an act of aggression that would require the intervention of the United States."

While the doctrine could be seen as an attempt at "Pan-Americanism" from afar, its reality has been rather different, allowing the United States a high level of interventionism in the policies of the rest of the continent.

Bolton argues the need to reinstate the Monroe Doctrine for the benefit obtained by the agreements of governments such as the Venezuelan with countries such as China, Iran and Russia, which has opted for the critical conditions of the Caribbean country.

"Venezuela’s tragic decline, first under Hugo Chavez’s comic-opera regime and now under Nicolás Maduro, his dimwitted successor, accelerated in 2017," explains Bolton. "A country that once had a near-European living standards has seen its petroleum industry collapse through corruption, criminal negligence and lack of investment, with devastating consequences."

President Trump's campaign against China, and his economic measures that warn of a possible trade war, are dangerously argued by Bolton but from Latin American policies: "In both Latin America and Africa, China’s presence has grown significantly in the past decades, often through substantial foreign aid infrastructure projects or investments in natural resources, designed to feed China’s industrial production demands.”

The solution, for the former ambassador, is quite simple: "in both of these critical regions we need greater U.S. involvement," he explains. "Hopefully guided by a more comprehensive thinking rather than ad hoc responses to erupting crises. This same advice could have been given for decades. Whether it will change in 2018 remains to be seen."


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