Current Events & Trends: China enters the Caribbean

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China enters the Caribbean

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President John Kennedy brought the country through that ominous threat to world peace without a shot being fired. Now an emergent China has chosen economic strategy as a potential threat to American dominance in the Caribbean.

The Financial Times recently published a major analysis describing China's inroads into the West Indies titled "Caribbean in Crisis: Chequebook Diplomacy." The blurb beneath the headline reads, "With the US becoming an absentee superpower in the region, the Chinese are moving in"—the article pointing out that China is underpinning its overtures with infrastructure investments (Robin Wigglesworth, Dec. 17, 2013).

The analysis points out that signs of China's presence are everywhere. More disturbing is the sentiment voiced by a prominent Chinese official: "'In entering the Caribbean, China doesn't really care about the US's feelings, it mainly cares about how the countries there see us,' says Wang Peng, secretary-general of the Central America and Caribbean Research Centre at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank" (ibid.).

Regional politicians have eagerly welcomed these Chinese incursions, as they perceive America becoming an absentee superpower preoccupied by domestic interests and only certain foreign involvements elsewhere. The Chinese president has apparently promised a $3 billion investment in the region.

In 2001 President George W. Bush declared the Caribbean area America's "third border." He reapplied the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 to the region, reaffirming American hegemony here. The Financial Times analysis concluded with a quote from Cheng Li, a senior official at the Brookings Institution, a prominent American think tank: "The US should pay more attention to China in the Caribbean, even if it is only at an early stage." (Source: Financial Times.)