The Obama Administration had an opportunity to talk trade and economic growth during the President’s most recent trip to Latin America. Our ever salacious media delivered a suitable distraction: prostitutes. It is what we did not see that matters, right?
The President’s national security staff prepared a series of well-orchestrated stops that reinforced the administration’s leftist leanings and Carteresque tendencies toward the region. If your into honoring icons of liberation theology, well, there was something there for you. The President continued to try to revise the history of the 2009 constitutional crises in Honduras, calling it, incorrectly, a coup. And he threw in some election-year rhetoric to appeal to Florida Cuban-Americans on the Cuba question.
On a positive note, the President said nothing, at least in public, regarding Brazil’s desire to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Brazil should focus on more pressing things, such as the security at the upcoming Olympic games. But that was quickly squelched when he took a jab at Republicans while in Central America for not passing comprehensive immigration reform. He never misses the chance to take a jab, not even when visiting foreign countries.
This trip reinforced something I’ve sensed about this White House since he became President, he does not understand the region and does not want to understand it. His advisors foist a pro-leftist slant and historical viewpoint on his policy that projects American values as one of the principal reasons why the region struggles with very high-levels of poverty, political instability, corruption, lawlessness, as well as lack of transparency in government and business.
A forward-looking policy vision toward the Americas should be more than election-year pro-trade talking points. The region is doing well in spite of the Obama Administration, but there are political and economic weaknesses that need to be addressed. The pro-freedom legacy of the Reagan Administration has been slowly eroded by the left throughout the hemisphere. To bolster it where faltering and strengthen it where it still remains, the U.S. must lead or rose-colored glasses.
This entire Administration has left many a political and economic pox that will take decades to bring under control and reverse. This is true in both domestic and foreign policy arenas. This likely last trip to the Americas reinforces failures, not the American exceptionalism and leadership that, in spite of all the problems that exist, has made the Western Hemisphere one of the most stable regions in the world.