The Monroe Doctrine of 1833 set the stage for the United States to win a virtually unchallenged hegemony over the Western Hemisphere. The 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have seen immense benefits from their close relationship with the United States over the last two centuries. But in recent years, they’ve been working to reduce their reliance on the U.S. economy by expanding trade with Asia and renewing ties with Russia. China is now the third largest trading partner of most South American countries and Russia is exporting arms to many of them. The interests of Russia and China are clearly not just economic. Both would like to see the United States influence in the world greatly diminished, and clearly see closer ties with Latin America as a good way to challenge the United States in its primary sphere of influence.
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