How China Meddles in Latin America (w/ Dee Smith, Elizabeth Economy, & Christopher Sabatini)

Dee Smith: Welcome to The Exchange. I’m Dee Smith. And today, I’m going to be speaking with Elizabeth
Economy of the Council on Foreign Relations here in New York, and Christopher Sabatini
of Columbia University and the think tank Global Americans. And we’re going to be discussing some of the
very interesting and somewhat disturbing aspects of Chinese activity in Latin America. This ranges across a whole range of activities,
from huge hydroelectric projects in places like Brazil, to a Chinese-engineered surveillance
system in Ecuador– funded by the Chinese, by the way– to an increased Chinese media
presence across the entire region. Chinese efforts, in other words, are increasingly
intense and seem increasingly ubiquitous. This includes Chinese military and diplomatic
engagement, as well as investment. China now surpasses both the World Bank and
the Inter-American Development Bank as the region’s top lender, with over $140 billion
in financing just since 2005. And added to that, China has also created
three cooperation funds with another $40 billion in financing for the region. In January of this year, China even invited
Latin American countries to join its One Belt, One Road initiative. So Liz, Chris, welcome to The Exchange. And Chris, what’s going on with China in Latin
America? Christopher Sabatini: Well, it’s definitely
showing more of an interest. At first, most of that interest came in the
form of opening up its markets for its own need for primary products, whether it was
iron, or oil, or copper, gold, even soybeans and chicken. But increasingly, that, because of that need,
became more in terms of investment and in terms of diplomatic engagement. We’ve seen already, just recently, Panama,
the Dominican Republican, and El Salvador flip and recognize the People’s Republic of
China over Taiwan. We’ve seen them engage now Latin America in
the One Belt, One Road project, particularly in Panama recently. There’s been a series of very interesting
investments in Panama. In addition, there’s been a series of investments,
direct investments, primarily concentrated– well, all concentrated in natural resource
extraction or some form of natural resource, whether it’s hydroelectric dams, or oil, or
other forms of mining. But primarily, if you look at the breakdown
of what countries, it’s mostly ones that China would find a better ally in terms of whether
it’s Nicaragua even, Ecuador, or Venezuela, and, even at times, Bolivia. So it spans the gamut. Right now, I think diplomatically, the question
is, what is their long game? Economically, there’s clear interest there
in terms of, specifically, receiving resources. But what is their diplomatic long game? And there, I don’t think we really know yet. DS: So Liz, that’s a perfect question for
you. What is the diplomatic long game? What’s the purpose of China doing these things
in Latin America? Elizabeth Economy: Right. Well, I think as Chris suggested, initially,
if you look back to about 1999 when then President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji announced
the going-out strategy, that was all about mostly China’s state-owned enterprises going
out to Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, in search of natural resources to be able
to fuel their economic growth, which was they were averaging 10% to 12% per year at that
point in time. But the advent of Xi Jinping has brought something
a little bit different to the table. He has called for the “great rejuvenation
of the Chinese nation,” which is really about reclaiming a degree of centrality for China
on the global stage. And it’s not just Latin America. But again, it’s the entire world, at this
point, which Xi Jinping looks at to be in service of that objective. And the Belt and Road Initiative is one aspect
of that. Initially, Belt and Road was mostly about
exporting Chinese overcapacity, still looking for commodities that China needs– oil in
Venezuela, or soybeans in Brazil. But it’s also about amping up China’s political
and security presence. You mentioned the surveillance system that
they’re putting in place in Ecuador. Peru and Bolivia are also interested in that
same thing. The media option– China wants to change the
narrative globally about China. It says that the West has, for too long, dominated
the story about China. It wants to have its own newspapers, its own
media people there. They did a training session, a five to six-month
training session, with Latin American journalists in China to try to get them on board with
looking at China the way that China wants them to look at China. So there are many different elements to China’s
engagement at this point, but they really want to have a group of allies– if not formally
allied the way that the United States have formal allies, a group of allies that, when
they’re in the United Nations talking about internet governance or human rights, these
countries will support them. DS: So Latin America’s long been considered
the United States’ geopolitical backyard. And so what China’s doing there, in this intensive
effort across all these elements, is perhaps a very provocative thing for them to do. What do you think? Is it an intentional provocation, and is it
some kind of intentional quid pro quo for the US longstanding presence in the Pacific? Or is this just part of the Chinese global
strategy? EE: So I think it’s not an intentional quid
pro quo, I don’t believe. I think it is part of the broader strategy. What they’re doing in Latin America is exactly
what they’re doing in Africa and in Southeast Asia. It has the same mix of infrastructure development,
hard infrastructure– ports, railroads, highways, power plants; the Digital Belt and Road, which
is fiber optic cables, e-commerce, and satellite systems. Everywhere, you see the Chinese doing these
same things. The military element, right? China invited military officials from 11 Latin
American countries to come to China for military training. They do the exact same thing in these other
places. I think we’re more sensitive to here in the
United States because, of course, it is our backyard. And I think up until Xi Jinping, or maybe
a little bit before, the Chinese were also sensitive to it. But China can’t reclaim its centrality on
the global stage unless it’s on the global stage, and that includes Latin America. So I think they certainly understand that
we’re sensitive. But at this point, they don’t really care. DS: Right. CS: Yeah, I don’t think there will be a direct
challenge in that sense. I agree with you. They’re sensitive to US interests. They don’t want to directly confront the United
States. And in fact, a lot of what they’re doing is
very subtle. It’s difficult– if you add it all up, it
looks a little worrying. But whether it’s an expansion of Confucian
Institutes, the training of military officials– they plan on having over half a million students
studying in Chinese universities by 2020, not all Latin American. They’ve also– as you mentioned, the media
presence. It’s multifaceted in much the way the United
States, although that was more to build specific allies. But it’s trying to change the perceptions
of China in Latin America and other countries as a way of just simply building influence. DS: So One Belt, One Road was initially conceived
as a sort of Pan-Asian, European project that connected China to Europe. But now, it’s the whole globe. And when did that change occur? When did the One Belt, One Road– I know it
was just earlier this year that the Chinese invited Latin American countries to join it. But when did that thinking change in China? EE: So the Belt and Road was announced first
in 2013 in Kazakhstan. And that was really the “belt” part of it,
which is the overland route. There are six different corridors that were
included in the initial conception. And then in 2014 in Indonesia, Xi Jinping
outlined the maritime part, which actually does go all the way to Africa. So it’s really, China includes the Middle
East and the rest of Asia– or really, Southeast and Central Asia– and Europe, as you mentioned,
out to Africa. So– DS: It’s the old world. EE: So right, it’s a recreation of– there’s
nothing better for China’s “great rejuvenation” than basically recreating the idea of the
Silk Road and the maritime spice routes. So that’s what the original conception was. But it’s very opportunistic. So as I mentioned, then there became a Digital
Belt and Road. Then there was a Polar Belt and Road to connect
China to Europe through the Arctic more quickly. And Latin America’s really just the next stop
on this expansion. And a number of Latin American countries have
indicated interest. So it’s not simply China declaring, we are
now including Latin America in the Belt and Road. They are. But it’s also true that Bolivia and others
have stepped up and said, we would like to be part of the Belt and Road. And I think one last point I’ll make is that
really, much of what China’s doing is, again, not that different from what it started doing
in the late 1990s. The difference is that there’s a degree of
interconnectivity, transnational element to it that didn’t exist in China’s first resource
quest push. So this is about connecting countries through
railroads and highways, not simply providing assistance to one discrete country. CS: And if I can say too, what’s interesting–
much as this whole initiative taps into a deep-felt need and desire on the part of China,
what they’re doing in Latin America also taps into what Latin America wants and needs. It really is looking for a global rebalancing
in its own. Even among pro-American leaders, you’ll hear
them say– like the former Chilean ambassador to China– that this is eruption. This is a moment. If we can control this– they’re providing
infrastructure which the United States and most development banks no longer provide. They’re providing very important markets. And they’re also providing some form of diplomatic
recognition, an alliance, in the loosest form, that many countries crave. DS: So the debt that China is offering Latin
America now is perhaps less far along as the debt that it has been offering Africa. And Africa is the kind of exemplar of things
that are going wrong with that right now. Can you talk just a bit about that, and whether
you think that will happen? I mean, Africa’s turning back to the International
Monetary Fund. There are things that are not going as well
as they– and they’re not happy under the yoke of Chinese debt, let’s say. If you could talk a little bit about that,
and whether you think that can develop possibly in other countries, including Latin America. EE: So I think certainly, it’s happened not
only in Latin America, but in Southeast Asia and in Laos, and also in Maldives and Sri
Lanka. And I mean, all throughout the Belt and Road,
at this point, you have– I think the IMF identified eight countries that have assumed
so much debt as a result of Belt and Road projects that they say they will never be
able to repay this debt. And so that’s when you see China do things
like take control of a port in exchange. I would imagine that there will be a similar
mix of countries in Latin America. There are those that are more robust and are
in better control of their situation economically than others, and better educated, at some
level. I mean, one of the things I think is interesting
about the US approach to competing with the Belt and Road is that a big initiative out
of USAID is to talk about, we just want to educate people in different countries about
their choices and about what it means when you take on this kind of debt. Because not all new leaders know about this
information. So I think already, we’ve seen, if you look
back to 2010, 2011, pre-Belt and Road, just when China was engaging in the resource elements,
countries like Brazil and Argentina started to fool around with their land laws in order
to prevent the Chinese from acquiring too much land, the land ownership laws. So I think there’s an awareness now out there,
certainly among the larger Latin American countries, about potential pitfalls. As they see more and more countries along
the Belt and Road reject projects, even projects that they’d already agreed to, I think it’s
very instructive for a lot of Latin American countries. But I think Chris is probably more attuned
to the relative strengths and weaknesses of the region. CS: But it’s true. Countries began to become aware of this not
only in terms of foreign direct investment, but also in terms of investment in mining. And a number of countries imposed stricter
conditions, environmental regulations, and labor regulations in places like Peru that
China actually responded to. So it hasn’t been a one-size-fits-all model. But there are countries that are deeply, deeply
in hock right now to China– in particular, Venezuela. EE: Yeah, that’s right. CS: –which has basically mortgaged its entire
energy future to China for loans that it’s going to pay back in cut-rate oil that whenever
political change occurs and however it occurs– hopefully, peacefully– any future government’s
going to find itself still tied to China and paying them back at a time when its oil production
has slipped from 3 million barrels per day at the time of Hugo Chávez’s election in
1998, to 1.2 million barrels today. So they’ve basically sold off their own land
wealth to China. Ecuador, the same. So it really varies. And China too is also– I mean, rather, Cuba,
has also become indebted, more and more, to China. And this will be difficult to turn the corner
once there are regime changes in these countries. So it’s a bit of what– they’ve sought out–
and another one in particular that now we’re looking at that’s very dangerous is Panama. The Chinese have come in, very effectively
played off political divisions among the Panamanian government and political class, invested in
a whole series of highways, railways, and port facilities that is a strategic choke
point for US interests in the hemisphere. DS: So there is the idea– and it’s discussed
particularly in Africa with the situation there with Chinese– that the strategy of
the Chinese is to trap countries into essentially unpayable debt, and then force them to give
up strategic resources, like ports, in exchange for that. And I’d love to have your thoughts on that. But also, at what point may some of these
countries start to assert their sovereignty and nationalize these things? And what will China do in response? EE: Right. So I don’t think that there’s actually a deliberate
effort on the part of the Chinese to trap the countries into then giving up strategic
assets. I think the case in Sri Lanka, for example,
was not about, OK, we’re going to get them so deeply in debt that we’re going to get
their port. I mean, China now has majority stakes or outright
control of ports in something like 76 countries. And so– or 76 ports in 36 countries. And so they’re finding ways to do it just
by buying stakes and doing it legitimately. So I don’t think they want to trap these countries. I think it’s a function of a lack of foresight
on their part, and clearly on the part of the countries themselves. And the Chinese themselves right now are undergoing
a major interagency review of their lending practices. So they themselves are not interested in going
down this deep hole. And they’re feeling a lot of pressure from
the international community– not just the United States talking about the evils of Chinese
lending, but the countries themselves. Again, Mahathir, the re-elected prime minister
of Malaysia’s saying, we’re giving back these projects. They are no good for us. So a lot of leaders now are standing up and
pushing back. That’s not good for China’s reputation. So I don’t see it as trying to trap them. In terms of when will they stand up and assert
their sovereignty, I think we’ve already seen, when there are elections in some of these
countries and new leaders come in, they’re perfectly happy to talk about renegotiating
the terms of bad deals that were made by the previous bad presidents or prime ministers. So I can see that type of thing happening. Outright nationalization– maybe, maybe not. But definitely renegotiating terms. CS: Certainly, their mantra in all this has
been “win-win.” And perhaps naive– But I think there’s an
element of truth in that in the sense that they don’t want to completely confront. They’re trying to do this in the most harmonious
way possible so that they don’t want– it’s obviously to their benefit. They want to gain leverage in these cases. But to have to confront a situation where
there are clear winners or losers I think goes against their very grain. EE: I will just say that in the China field,
we have a saying that win-win for the Chinese means China wins twice. CS: Yeah. DS: So Chris, this issue with Ecuador and
the installation of a surveillance system and similar systems being of interest to other
Latin American countries is somewhat concerning. Because not only does Ecuador have a very
state-of-the-art system, but the Chinese may have back doors into it. It may extend their reach deeply into a Latin
American country. What’s going on with that? CS: Well, the Chinese very much like the idea
of having some form of intelligence-gathering in the western hemisphere. They also have a listening post in Cuba, for
example, just 90 miles off the coast of the United States that I think is useful for them. In the case of Ecuador, yes, it gives them–
I mean, we have a number of anti-narcotics, we being the United States, anti-narcotics
operations that are being renegotiated in Ecuador. So they will be able to monitor those as well. And these state-of-the-art systems in Mexico,
for example, we saw that the Israelis sold to the Mexican government a system that was
not supposed to be used for internal surveillance, but was. So the Chinese are leveraging their technical
capacity and offering this up. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised of we find out
later that Venezuela was doing the same for them. And so it is a troubling aspect to a whole
new shift in spyware and spying, both domestically and internationally. DS: And it’s not the only example of a kind
of egregious Chinese presence. I mean, what’s going on with this medical
ship in Venezuela? That’s a strange episode. CS: So what happened was– first of all, the
Venezuelan government has denied that there’s a humanitarian crisis in the island, despite
the fact that two– the island. The country– despite the fact that 2.3 million
people have been forced to flee to neighboring countries. But the Chinese sent the Harmony ship, which
is a medical ship, to Venezuela. And ironically, it was greeted by the defense
minister, Padrino. And on display at the port when he arrived
and welcomed them were more weapons than medical supplies. And they said, this is a great example of
China’s brotherhood and solidarity with the Venezuelan people. So they’re clearly trying– and this happened
just on the heels of the US sending its USS Comfort ship, which is also a medical ship,
to Colombia to treat and help the Venezuelan refugees. That was denounced as a precursor to a US
intervention in Venezuela. The Chinese ship to Venezuela was treated
as a great sign of solidarity with Venezuela’s cause. DS: Yeah. How’s Chinese activity affecting the internal
politics in Latin American countries? And we’re in a position in which a lot of
countries are having elections right now. We’re in a situation where interhemispheric
trade needs to grow. How is this affecting the internal systems
within these countries? CS: Well, there are a number of ways. First of all, at a very symbolic level, when
China first became a rising world power, it became an ideological justification for leaders
like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, for leaders like Rafael Correa in Ecuador. It offered an alternative to the neoliberal
economic prescriptions that had been current. And now, suddenly, another country comes along
that’s followed none of those and is becoming a world power. So at a symbolic level, it was very important. And it boosted, if you will, a lot of these
leaders. Now what we’re seeing too is that their investment,
particularly their market in the early aughts until the late 2009s, late aughts, it also
boosted what were then leftist governments in power, because economies were growing so
fast. The PT in, Brazil the Worker’s Party in Brazil,
the Peronist party in Argentina, became real beneficiaries of this windfall of Chinese
demand, for their products. But in addition, as we see in Venezuela, as
China has now extended all these lines of credit– very favorable to the Chinese, short-term
favorable to the Venezuelans– it’s also sort of vested them in the success of this current
government in Venezuela, the Maduro government, which is flailing, which has contracted by
almost a half now, which is going to face, in 2018, 1 million percent inflation. It’s tied them very closely to this government. So it’s definitely a change in dynamics. As much as they claim that they’re not interested
in interference, that they want to maintain sovereignty, they are definitely changing
it. But in addition to that, what they’re also
changing are these countries’ foreign policies. We see, again and again, in a report we just
published called Liberals, Rogues, and Enablers, that more and more countries are voting with
China in the UN Human Rights Council on issues of human rights, basically following that
line of non-interventionism, not raising issues of human rights in a way that really weakens,
if you will, the liberal infrastructure to support human rights and democracy that’s
emerged over the last several decades. DS: Do you think that that’s an intentional
strategy on the part of China, to undermine that part of the liberal international order? CS: Precisely. Yes, I do think– there’s a number of parallel
organizations they’ve tapped into and created– there’s the Shanghai regional organization,
mostly active in Central Asia, that has created these fake election monitors that go, and
they emulate what the UN would do or the Carter Center would do in terms of observing elections,
but with none of the technical credibility or independence. They’ve also reached out to a new Latin American
regional organization called CELAC, the Community of Latin American, Caribbean states that,
not coincidentally, excludes United States and Canada. They’ve tried to become a partner with them. They’ve even hosted them. And they’ve extended a whole series of scholarships
for public officials to go to China. What they’re trying to do, in these cases,
is really erode international standards. In the case of CELAC, CELAC has said, very
clearly and very upfront from the beginning, it believes that it is the sovereign right
of any country to determine its own form of government, something that flies in the face
basically of decades of human rights concerning popular sovereignty and the rights to human
rights and independence. DS: So another question that I think comes
up and is important is, how is Chinese economic activity in the private sector affecting the
opportunities for other countries that are not China in terms of investment in Latin
America? And I’m not talking about the huge government
projects. Is there stuff going on in the private sector
as well? CS: There is. It’s funny. There’s a study done by a professor at Notre
Dame that discovered that in countries that would be more ideological allies of China–
Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela– most of the investment was led by state-owned companies. It was in other countries– Chile, Peru, Argentina,
Brazil– that investment is led largely by the private sector. So there is sort of a double game here being
played. DS: You mean the Chinese investment– CS:
Chinese investment led more by– DS: –in countries like Brazil and Argentina. CS: Yes, lest they control. So they’re leading in these ideological allies
with more state-owned companies. Places where it makes a little bit more, let’s
say, economic sense to invest– Brazil, Peru, which are mostly natural resources– that’s
coming from more state-led, state-oriented enterprises. DS: Right, right. So in the hemispheric aspect of this, what
do you think the approach or the response of the US should be? CS: It’s difficult. It’s very much the question that’s current. We saw Rex Tillerson, former secretary of
state, when he was in Texas, talk about the need to renew the Monroe Doctrine. Donald Trump, the UN-GA made the same comment. This really irritates Latin American leaders,
even pro-Latin American leaders, who say, we’re mature enough to maintain our own relationship. We don’t need the Monroe Doctrine and US paternalism
and all the baggage of the Monroe Doctrine, which has been used to justify interventions
in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Granada, what have you. They think they have the capacity to do that. I think there’s a much more subtle response
that’s necessary. I think, first of all, the US needs to understand
that there are very legitimate needs that China is responding to– the need for infrastructure,
for example. In the case of Brazil, the railways that take
goods from much of the interior to the ports mostly were built in 1945. They need to be upgraded. This is a real– and in places like Peru,
only 30% of the roads are paved. Infrastructure is key to integrating these
economies not just across borders and with the global economy, but even internally. And China’s offering to do that. The second thing is I think US can begin to
help– there have been plenty of cases of Chinese investment where the deals have been
cut behind closed doors. They’ve also included efforts that ignore
environmental regulations, such as the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil. I think the US can help provide some sort
of oversight or environmental guidance on these things. One person referred to it as soft infrastructure
needs. They can help balance Chinese tendency to
overlook these regulations. And I think the last thing is the United States–
actually, the next last thing. The United States needs to bolster its soft
diplomacy. That’s become very passé. We’ve seen now the Trump administration try
to cut our educational exchange programs in the State Department by over 75%. Soft diplomacy is one of the best tools we
have for building long-term allies and relationships. It’s probably the best bang for the buck you
can get in terms of diplomacy at precisely the time the Chinese are ramping it up. And the last thing is I think– and it’s a
shame that this administration walked away from the TransPacific Partnership, because
that was intended to create an alliance of Asian-Pacific countries and Latin American
countries and the US and Canada, to a set an outline, a framework of trade rules, that
would set the terms for the new global trade environment as a counterbalance to China’s
economic weight and its questionable commitment, at times, to international rules of trade. And in this case, the Trump administration
is right. The Chinese do engage in unfair labor and
trade practices. But the answer isn’t unilateral tariffs. The answer is creating a bloc that forces
them to rise to that standard. I think it’s a shame we walked out. DS: So one of the distinctions that one hears
about now, a term that’s come to rise in the foreign policy world, is sharp power as opposed
to soft power. And so how do you see that playing out in
Latin America? CS: There are a lot of examples of sharp power
that we’re seeing now. And first of all, I mentioned the ramped-up
exchange programs that China has been promising, both apprenticeships and scholarships for
policymakers and for students; the expansion of all these Confucius centers that are all
throughout Latin America now that are intended to engage in better understanding, but also
try to prevent recognition of Taiwan. We also see the efforts of extending humanitarian
assistance we see with China. Those are efforts at sharp power because they’re
intended, with a very specific effort, to build China’s alliances or leverage points
in a way that it could be used in the long term. And Russia’s engaging the same thing. Russia Today, the now infamous Russia Today
news service that’s run by the Russian government, has a Spanish language service called RT en
Español. It is now available on all major cable packages
in Latin America. And we’ve been tracking that for a while. And some of the stories they’ve been publishing
have been outrageous– claims that the US had sent the drones that recently tried to
assassinate Maduro, claims that Nicaragua was under a military blockade by the United
States. So these efforts at utilizing the media–
education to further a specific slanted view is, I think, what we’re referring to we talk
about sharp power. It’s a whole different game, and they’re playing
it very well. DS: Yeah, yeah. So what do you see as the next step in the
evolution of Chinese involvement in Latin America? Where are we going? CS: I think it’s a good question in the sense
that, again, it’s not a one-size-fits-all model. And Venezuela’s going to be one point. We’ll see how far China’s willing to go to
prop up and support a regime that has clearly failed, is clearly bringing misery to its
own people. DS: And he’s not popular in the rest of Latin
America. CS: He’s not popular in the rest of Latin
America. So is it going through them? Recently, it extended a $5 billion loan to
Venezuela. But how long is it willing to go down this
road, especially when, as you say, it risks incurring the wrath of Venezuelan people as
well as its neighbors, Venezuela’s neighbors? But as I say, other countries are really very
much exploring a way to deepen these relations. I think you’ll see more and more countries
in the region begin to recognize China. They bring a lot of cash, a big checkbook. As I mentioned, Panama recently recognized
China over Taiwan. And now, China investment has flooded into
Panama. The Dominican Republic, which, oddly enough,
is part of the free trade agreement with the United States, as is Panama, has recognized
China. El Salvador has recognized China. I think what you’re going to see is more of
an effort to bring them within their diplomatic circles. And with that comes a checkbook that the US
is going to struggle to match. In that case, I think the play will be much
more subtle. And then in other cases, I think you’ll see,
as we saw in Ecuador and other places, ways in which it’s going to try to insinuate their
surveillance capacities and other semi-military capacities in places like Cuba, as a way of
counterbalancing– again, not in terms of a confrontational way. They really are very sensitive to this confrontation. But they’re looking for ways to build friendships
that will blunt, if you will, US authority– not power so much as authority– in multilateral
organizations when the time comes, especially should there be some conflict, say, over the
South China Sea. DS: So thank you, Liz. Thank you, Chris, for being part of this conversation. It was a very fascinating examination of some
really interesting issues, and I appreciate you being here. Thank you.

40 thoughts on “How China Meddles in Latin America (w/ Dee Smith, Elizabeth Economy, & Christopher Sabatini)

  1. Oohhh what a disaster. China actually builds stuff in Latin America instead of just financing regime changes like the US.

  2. When my grandfather was in charge of Ford Latin America in the late 70s, he worked with the Jorge videla dictatorship that disappeared and tortured people. I love realvision finance and I don't think China is ideal, but it is unfortunate to see realvision constantly pushing the blatant National Security narrative. BERNIE2020

  3. Get Real Vision Premium for only $1 for 30 days here:
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  4. China is the new world power, United States just mad because they beat them to the punch. American greed is its downfall. World dominance will be China’s, remember the Romans.!!!

  5. Tired of listening to RV always talking about how evil China is, how about an episode of US ministration making fake news and pumping up the markets?

  6. Latin America is not the US's "back yard." It does not belong to The US. It belongs to the Latin Americans. China's way of exerting influence is through business not regime change.

  7. This is like watching Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis except the title should be how US meddles in Asia and the rest of the world.

  8. lol china meddles in lain america…. hahahahahahah.. this r americans talking about meddling in latin america…. hahahahahahahahahah.. really… loo at yourselves first…… latest bolivia coup…..

  9. I dont see any problem with China investing, meddling, etc in South America. The USA has gone around the world doing the same. If China builds a million strong military base in Mexico near US boarder how can USA complain.

  10. All China is doing, is filling the spaces USA has left.. So many omissions with Latam..!!
    Not even a continuous PanAmerican highway..!!!
    How much do they spend in programs like the "wars on drugs and terror"..?? For who's benefit?. For the drug cartels ? For the weapons manufacturers?.. that have flooded Latam with illegal weapons
    Total failure..!
    Piece of cake to take their place…

  11. The saving grace in this truly scary situation is that countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Vietnam etc really have a visceral hatred of the Chinese. China literally has no friends at all amongst the countries that are near them, and those countries are not fooled for one second by friendly overtures from China, some of which have nasty historical recollections of being dominated by Chinese merchants. Another inescapable attribute is that the Chinese are extremely racist and genuinely believe they are superior to almost everyone else; often the mask slips and foreign countries see that they are not respected at all at any level.

  12. Btw, how can the rest of the world take seriously a country, that gives as an official narrative, that building 7 from the WTC, came down in less than 8 seconds, because of an office fire in a lower level office..!
    Then, they don't even honour, many of the important treaties they cosigned with other nations..!
    They simply, unilaterally, walk away from their formal commitments…
    Get serious Americans..! What kind of nation are you becoming..?

  13. There's business, trade and money to be made where there are customers; sovereign nation to sovereign nation. What's US excuse for getting involved?

  14. The assumption here is that US has never "meddled" in Latin America – or still does not "meddle" in Latin America? Give me a break!

  15. Part of this is because climate change alarmists have made it so loans for infrastructure/industry are no longer being provided unless they are wind or solar.

  16. Why commenting on behalf of all those countries involved in BRI on the negative side?
    Just ask them, of course, they liked very much for their countries to prosper and getting richer. If in debt, it only matters about leasing out their properties for a couple of decades, and in the meantime get paid for the leasing. There is a saying, no adventure no future.

  17. thanks for this .. Dee struck me as wanting to push a paranoid view, during the first half, but then his guest's insights moderated the discussion, to be simply very informative, and balanced

    it should go without saying, that China is using an old US play book, but much better

    Dee's paranoid perspectives are so very national, they're boring

    this is all about business, and the strides China has made in the region, should be starkly seen for what they are .. better negotiations, and outcomes

    I would love to see All of these commentators rejoin for updates

    Many thanks

  18. Perkins book "confessions of an ecconomic hitman" . China is just using the same play-book the US used in Latin America to steal their resources and control assets/politicians. Ouch! turn about is fair play. China is just a lot more ruthless about "helping" the developing world.

  19. Sour grapes when US can't help to develop the poor countries. How about 800+ military bases around the world? How does iit develop the host countries compared to BRI?

  20. 76 ports. Really? That’s the whole idea. Chinese money is so corrupt and self serving. Just like the loans given to the native Americans who built casinos that could not be paid off reasonably. Watch how long it takes for them to add airports to those ports. They will be building up a way to attack North America.

  21. This lady is talking total nonsense, blind and naïve. There is no win/win, China doesn't win twice. China takes it all. The US is being surrounded. Lots of talking, yet these people ignore the key question – How China with its debt / GDP ratio at 300% can possibly fund multi-billion dollar projects in dozens of countries.

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