Summit of Americas puts US’ declining clout on full display
Published: May 29, 2022 03:11 PM
Illustration: Liu Xidan/GT

Illustration: Liu Xidan/GT

Commented on the upcoming 9th Summit of the Americas, Evandro Menezes de Carvalho, director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the Brazilian college Getulio Vargas Foundation, said: "This year's Summit will have this stain on its history." The summit is scheduled to be held from June 6 to 10 in Los Angeles. However, Washington has been opposed by a few governments in the region, because of its attempt to use the summit to promote US' own interests and strengthen its ideological camp.

The US announced that it has not invited the governments of Venezuela and Nicaragua and is only considering inviting a Cuban representative to the summit as an observer instead of as a full participant. However, the president of Mexico and the president of Bolivia have made it clear that all Latin American countries should be invited, otherwise they will refuse to participate. 

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said bluntly: "I say from here to the Yankee: forget it, we are not interested in being in that Summit." The Cuban Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that those countries that the US has not invited would meet within the framework of "the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America."

The Summit of the Americas has already become a diplomatic farce for Washington before it has even started. Biden's attempt to save the US' influence in Latin America has suffered a crisis of confidence. However, the US may have sowed the seeds of such an embarrassing situation long ago. 

US-led small circle not attractive

The so-called values-based diplomacy promoted by the Biden administration is nothing more than targeted suppression, containment and confrontation under the guise of freedom and openness. It is old wine in new bottles. 

The "value-based diplomacy" was confusing at the beginning of the Biden's administration, but such repeated acts have gradually revealed its true content, especially when the US has kept instigating the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, and driving the countries involved in the crisis into an even more difficult situation. This has made the international community realize that participating in the US-led small circle is nothing but acting as a pawn of US hegemony, creating divisions, inciting confrontation and undermining peace in regional and international relations.

Pan Deng, executive director of the Latin American and Caribbean Region Law Center of China University of Political Science and Law, believed that Latin America was originally a region with a strong will of integration and solidarity, and the once-split Latin America caused by the Venezuelan crisis has also aroused reflection. This time, the US wants to use the Summit of Americas to squeeze out left-wing countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which will inevitably lead to further division of Latin America. This is something that Latin American countries do not want to see, therefore they firmly oppose excluding Cuba from the summit.

Carvalho told the Global Times, "The fact that US President Biden excludes Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua already disqualifies the Summit as belonging to the 'Americas.' This motivated selective exclusion, delegitimizes the purpose of the Summit and reveals its character: it is a meeting to promote, mainly, US economic and political interests."

During the past eight summits, Cuban leaders were excluded from attending the meeting. This time, the US has issued an invitation, but the leaders have shown their tough attitude that they will not attend the summit despite being invited. So, this will be the least united hemispheric summit.

Pan said that this shows that even in the region where it has the most control, the US has lost the leadership to do whatever it wants. "If it does things that harm others and creates divisions and hatred, the US' leadership will be rebutted," he said.

Never again when US calls and all others follow up

Carvalho believed that US influence in the region is decreasing because Latin American people seem to have learned from history. The US has never positioned itself as a friend of Latin American countries. "It never proposed any economic integration project that would support the effective development of Latin America. The US has resources and goodwill for Europeans, however for Latinos, the opposite," he said.

This collective opposition shows that regional countries are generally disappointed with the Biden administration's policy toward Latin America. In the past, they dared not speak out, but today, regional big countries have made their voices heard, and small countries collectively declare their disapproval. This time, Latin American countries have clearly conveyed at least one thing to the other hemisphere: the US hegemony is indeed declining.

However, the US has always refused to accept such a reality. The US still regards itself as the "only pole" in the world, fantasizing that other countries will easily follow its order in its own "backyard". But the reality is a huge slap in the US' face.

According to the NBC News on Wednesday, Mexican politician and academic Jorge Castaneda said in a video interview, "What's clear is that the time when the United States called the summit and everybody came is not happening with President Biden today, and it probably will not happen again with anybody."

"China's rise opens up new possibilities for developing countries to enter this multipolar international order. And the country that has the intelligence to understand this will be the one that will most know how to take advantage of this new moment in human history. The US would do better if they were busy thinking about how to live with this new reality," said Carvalho.

Times have changed. If the US continues to lamely resist a new multi-polar world order, it will only make a fool of itself on more occasions.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn