World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Colin Powell's Resignation Will Have Little Impact

The Import of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Resignation on Latin America


Secretary of State Colin Powell’s resignation will have little impact on Latin America other than to confirm the fact that under his watch, U.S.-Latin American relations have reached their lowest level in years, with no improvement likely in the near future. Powell’s disservice to the region was manifested in several distinct areas.

In the personnel field, he advanced and defended the nomination of two of the most ill-prepared candidates to successively head the office of Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Powell defended his first candidate, Otto Reich, as an honorable man, even though the Bush administration could not get Reich’s candidacy through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee because of his controversial reputation for operating beyond the law.

Reich, a raw right-wing ideologue, and his equally ill-prepared replacement, Roger Noriega, saw U.S.-Latin American relations almost exclusively through the prism of full-time Havana bashing. If a Latin American government displayed a moderate and respectful attitude towards the Castro regime, it became the unremitting target of Reich’s and Noriega’s ire.

Rather than staunchly backing pragmatism and initiatives aimed at constructively relieving the regions’ social deficits, particularly the continued expansion of poverty and concentration of wealth, Powell’s relatively few speeches on Latin America emphasized only trade, market reform and an overly simplified view of the need for democracy. Additionally, rather than genuine concern, Powell’s interest in human rights always seemed to reflect selective indignation towards left-wing regimes, like Venezuela. When it came to the region’s reaction to the Iraq war, Powell saw to it that a number of Latin American nations were dragooned into joining the “Coalition of the Willing.” As for those that continued in their dissent, such as the Chilean and Mexican ambassadors to the UN, he pressured their respective government’s to withdraw them from their post.

The net result of Powell’s unprincipled positions – particularly evident in his sly and dishonorable strategy to oust Jean Bertrand Aristide from office on August 29 – was that an estimated 85 percent of Latin Americans were opposed to a Bush victory in the presidential election.

Powell could have used his prestige to advance mutual respect and cooperation in U.S.-Latin American relations. Instead, he sanctioned the roguish activities of Reich and Noriega, poisoning Washington’s image as a proud tower of ethical standards and turning it into that of the neighborhood bully, who unabashedly subscribes to the thesis that might means right and the ends justify the means.

This analysis was prepared by Larry Birns, COHA Director.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

ITUC: Nobel Prize In Economics Explodes Minimum Wage And Jobs Myth

The prize was awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact... More>>

Science Media Centre: New South Wales Opens Up For Fully-vaccinated – Aus SMC Expert Reaction
Sydney has partially eased Covid-19 restrictions for fully-vaccinated individuals after NSW reached its target of 70 per cent of the population double-dosed. The Australian Science Media Centre has asked experts about the possible risks of the country opening up again...More>>


Nobel Peace Prize: Journalists Who ‘Speak Truth To Power’ Recognized

Two campaigning journalists were awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, which UN Secretary-General António Guterres said was recognition that a free press is “essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights – and the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions”...
More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs


UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>


COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>


UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>