Obama's Latin American trip adds to his mulitlateral approach
In Chile, Obama stresses Latin America's 'shared responsibility' in the world. That's the same approach he's taking in Libya.
President Obama’s tour of Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador has been buried by news about Libya and Japan. But one of his messages – that Latin America can take more responsibility for global peace and prosperity – deserves to break through for further discussion.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Obama in Latin America
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“There’s so much Latin America can now share: how to build political parties and organize free elections, how to ensure peaceful transfers of power, how to navigate the winding paths of reform and reconciliation,” the president said.
IN PICTURES: Obama in Latin America
The urging fits with his two-year overture to rising powers such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China – known as the BRIC nations – for more security and economic burden sharing. Will his multilateral approach pay dividends?
Latin America is not the same place it was even 10 years ago. It is more democratic. It depends less on foreign aid as it surges ahead with trade. The region’s natural resources have also caught the attention of China, which is aggressively increasing its trade and investment presence.
These Latin American countries are more often flexing their muscles in the world – not always to Washington’s liking, as was the case when Brazil got too close with Iran under Brazil’s previous president.
Argentina and Brazil sit on the G20, or Group of Twenty major global economies. Chile has joined the OECD, the club of wealthy nations. Brazil and Colombia hold temporary seats on the United Nations Security Council, and Brazil aspires for a permanent seat. Latin American countries are doing more to help one another as neighbors (for example, rebuilding Haiti) and venturing to other continents. Brazil is newly involved in Portuguese-speaking Africa, where it is partnering with the US in health and agriculture. And then there are UN peacekeepers – Uruguay contributes more peacekeepers per capita than any other country.