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Latin America Better Friend to US in Post Virus World

map of south america with american currency on top
(Elkov Oleg | Dreamstime)

Mario Duarte By Tuesday, 14 April 2020 08:27 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Once the United States opens again for business, the Trump administration will have to make a number of hard policy decisions that will impact its geopolitical position, but also its power and influence, for years to come.

No other region could prove more important to the U.S. in the post coronavirus crisis world than Latin America. Could it become a more politically unstable region, further disequilibrated by the power plays of China, Russia and Iran, and thus a threat to the national security of the United States? Or could it be seen as a partnering region, that presents both an opportunity for companies moving out of China (PRC), and a strategic castling movement of investors that in essence will prevent the region from plunging into chaos and poverty?

Experts in all fields assess that the world will significantly change after the virus is either defeated or countries learn to cope with it as a recurring health risk.

No doubt several industries will change their ways of doing business. For sure, thousands of companies will finally accept that remote/home office brings both significant cost savings to the bottom line, but also improves workers efficiency, productivity and employee wellness and satisfaction.

As a direct result of the contagion hysteria, stores, supermarkets and shopping malls could see a significant reduction in customer traffic, thus harder pushing them toward the already growing e-commerce industry and forcing them to divest from physical real estate to invest in online market technologies and capabilities.

The U.S. economy will without a doubt skyrocket up, once draconian quarantine measures are phased out and companies and people get back to wor,k. However, the Western Hemisphere will take longer to get back into business and countries' economies might not even recuperate at all, on their own.

Several Latin-American countries will be left with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of unemployed people as a result of businesses permanently shutting down, and surviving companies relying more on technology and becoming leaner on the human side. To make matters worse, governments will not be able to absorb the labor liabilities, because social welfare will be directly impacted by the lack of tax revenue.

Those millions of people, as it has happened during crises in the last century, will look north toward the United States, and they will migrate in search of the new American Dream.

Strategic Business Offense Best National Security Defense

The U.S. economy will be well on its way up when elections come around in November, and just like it happened after World War II, society overall will be enjoying liberty, freedom, the opportunity to work and enjoy life and a fast-growing economy, again.

Unfortunately, the U.S. might be the only country in the world that will economically recuperate that fast, and this will put the Trump administration in the unique position to lead the world out of economic stagnation and critical manufacturing dependence.

It is a fact that countries in Latin America have been severely affected by the coronavirus crisis and unemployment, and lack of timely relief will drive migration toward the United States, bringing again a national security (and possibly a health) crisis to the southern border.

After the COVID-19 health crisis is over, the U.S. should be focused on getting Americans back to work, and even opportunities for highly skilled migrants should be very limited. After China's  failure or malicious lack of intent to contain the spread of the virus, and the almost criminal, apologist posture of the World Health Organization, the United States and other countries need to reconsider if their taxpayers' monies and companies should keep benefitting those who willingly have put the entire world at risk for political and ideological reasons.

When countries and companies decide to move their manufacturing out of China, a vacuum of production capacity and workforce availability will be created, and it could be easily filled by those Latin American governments that see the opportunity to open up their countries to private investors and hence bring prosperity and development to their people.

For decades, Latin America has had a love-hate relationship with the United States, and in the very near future the Trump administration could secure a coalition of willing, allied countries, if it leads and promotes a wave of private and public investment to bring them manufacturing capacity, hence ensuring stability, job creation and development to the region.

There are two immediate threats to such a strategy: the insidious and aggressive maneuvers to establish presence and political influence in the Western Hemisphere by China and Russia, and a diplomatic, bureaucratic structure that favors globalism over the interests of the United States.

From Globalism to Regional Networks

Giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming that the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2, aka coronavirus) originated naturally, there is undeniable evidence that by hiding, limiting and manipulating information, and not aggressively moving to contain it, the virus was weaponized (by omission or commission) to affect the entire world.

The spread of this virus has demonstrated the vulnerabilities and risks of liberal globalization, the dangers of aggressive state actors and the obsolescence, politization and corruption of multinational organizations or their representatives. We cannot roll back interconnectivity. But countries need to see the interconnected age as the way forward to get all countries to work and function together, not as the platform to subdue nation-states and their sovereignty under a single globalized authority.

The coronavirus crisis presents an opportunity to reenvision how businesses, economies and ultimately countries relate to each other and their international counterparts. Long-term sustainability, resiliency, quality, regional stability and mutually assured benefits, should trump short term cost cutting.

Even if it sounds utopian, the COVID-19 pandemic has left no room for oligopolist pettiness and greed, and true political and business visionaries will understand that the world's economy as we know it, will not survive another pandemic unless manufacturing and business partnerships are forged with those closer (geopolitically and sociologically) to the United States. 

What will be the power plays of those who stand to lose the most in the coming post-virus era of disruption? What will the globalists and multilateral organizations do to keep their pound of flesh? Will the competing world superpowers that stand to lose the most, initiate a series of protracted wars (diplomatic, political, economic and geographic) to maintain the status quo? The United States and other countries cannot afford to "wait and see." It is time to play defense by implementing a strong offense.

Side Note on the Coming US Elections

It would behoove the entire U.S. citizenry to immediately question the motives of those trying to delay the reopening of America, and those ruminating schemes to weaken the people's democratic right to personally and legally excerpt their vote.

If the United States has not overcome the COVID-19 pandemic by the time of elections, maybe the mail-in-vote option could be considered, but if and only if, there is a robust Voter Identification program imperatively integrated into it, to ensure and protect the legality of the democratic electoral process of the United States.

Mario Duarte is the youngest and longest serving Secretary of Strategic Intelligence to hold office in Guatemala, as well as one of the youngest intelligence chiefs in the world. His professional credentials include more than 18 years of experience in the fields of intelligence, national security, consulting, and strategy development in several countries. Mr. Duarte earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Houston, MBA from Rice University, postgraduate degree from Ortega Gasset Institute-Spain, and completed his PhD studies in National Security at San Carlos University Guatemala. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mario_a_duarte. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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No other region could prove more important to the U.S. in the post coronavirus crisis world than Latin America.
coronavirus, latinamerica
Tuesday, 14 April 2020 08:27 AM
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