18 February 2022

Why China will outflank the U.S. for world influence

Way back in 2010 I posted China and Africa - pay attention to this relationship.  Nowadays it is well known that China is far ahead of the U.S. and other western countries in terms of influence in Africa.

Now start paying attention to South America.  Begin by reading the Bloomberg report How China Beat Out the U.S. to Dominate South America.  Herewith some excerpts:
Chinese technology and money have helped build one of Latin America’s largest solar energy plants in Jujuy (pronounced hu-HUY), where hundreds of thousands of panels coat the desert like giant dominoes. Chinese security cameras guard government buildings across the provincial capital. Servers hum in a Chinese data storage plant. Beneath the remote, craggy hills and vast salt lakes lie veins of copper, lithium, and zinc, the raw materials of 21st century ­technology—including ­Chinese-made electric-car batteries...

It’s no secret that China has been pouring resources into South America this century, chipping away at the U.S.'s historic dominance and making itself the continent's No. 1 trading partner. But while international focus has turned in recent years to China's ventures in Africa and Asia, an important shift has gone largely unnoticed in the country's approach to South America: going local to expand and strengthen its financial grip.

Instead of focusing on national leaders, China and its companies have built relationships from the ground up. In 2019 alone, at least eight Brazilian governors and four deputy governors traveled to China...

China has bought up so much copper, pork, and soy—and constructed so many roads, trains, power grids, and bridges—that it’s surpassed the U.S. as South America’s largest trade partner and is now the single biggest trader with Brazil, Chile, and Peru...

Back in the capital city, on a recent weekday, vendors hawked bric-a-brac out of stalls by an old bus terminal. The new foreign influence seemed to both bemuse and worry them. “At this rate we’re all going to become Chinese,” says Mirtha Ramos, a 49-year-old mother of three who was selling fake designer caps. Nancy Ortega, 31, working at the next stall, adds, “I have a friend up in the mines who said the Chinese are taking over everything.” 
Chinese policy focuses on the very long term.  The U.S. seems incapable of thinking beyond the next quarterly report or mid-term election.  More at the link.


  1. The U.S. seems incapable of thinking beyond the next quarterly report or mid-term election.

    The US is incapable of thinking beyond its own short-term self-interests.

    This is because every president comes in with his own views and can radically change foreign policies. While this is nice from an domestic democratic point of view, it makes the US an unreliable international partner.

    Coming from Europe, I can see that EU and NATO politicians are getting tired of these sudden one-sided changes. W was all about the war on terror (oh, and it was W who really wanted Ukraine in NATO). Obama shifted his view to Asia. TFG was all about autocrats and bath-mouthing Europeand NATO. And now Biden pulled out of Afghanistan without even consulting his loyal 20-year NATO and EU partners.

    I assume South-America has an even worse view of the US international policies to them.

    Y'all talk a lot about this peaceful transfer of power but consistency is not part of it. Also, please note that it's a very American thing. Governments elsewhere can be changed overnight. Still peaceful, but it's not a months long process.

    Take the UK for example. If the power flips from Conservative to Labour or vice verse, the new PM goes to the Queen the morning after the election to get appointed, and installs a new cabinet by the evening of that day. In 2010, when Cameron and Clegg needed 5 days to agree on a coalition government, the UK went nuts over the long time without a PM.

    [Side-note: A cute curiosity of British election is that Parliament actually gets dissolved during the election campaign and all members of parliament cease to be that. You read that correct: There is no Parliament during election time in the UK.]

  2. There is no doubt that China is very, very active with its Belt and Road Initiative. Unfortunately, many third world government leaders think only of what they can skim off the top, I think I told you that Past President Rafael Correa (Ecuador) invested heavily in a electrical generating plant in the Amazon, built with a Chinese load, that was not constructed properly, does not generate electricity, damaged the environment severely and left the country with a huge debt that will not be paid off for decades. Whenever I read about Belt and Road Initiative, I shudder. The USAID program was never run particularly well, in my opinion, but the countries were not left with 30-year debts.

  3. It's ironic that much of the Chinese influence was financed by Americans via Walmart et al.
    Tricky Dick Nixon started an unprecedented transfer of wealth.


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