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Neo Mercantilist Empire in Latin America
Bush, ALCA and Plan Colombia

James Petras

Building an Empire is not a tea party
Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Marine Corp.

The fundamental problem facing the Bush Administration is expanding and consolidating the U.S. empire at a time of intensifying competition from rivals, growing economic recession in Euro-America and crises in Asia and Latin America, and rising socio-political opposition especially in Latin America, Russia, China and on special occasions in Western Europe and the U.S.

The first part of this paper discusses the transition from Clinton to Bush: the manifest continuities in strategic goals and differences in style, tactics as well as the sectors of capital and their political spokes people which direct U.S. foreign policy.

The second part of the essay discusses Washington’s historic response to crises and expansion, focusing on the provocation of “Cold Wars” - military build-up, ideological confrontation and aggressive intervention within Third World countries, under the guise of engaging an “external threat” to U.S. security. Washington’s purpose in unleashing Cold Wars is to subordinate allies, impose client regimes in the Third World and extend and deepen imperial control against emerging popular challenges. The paper identifies three “Cold Wars.” The first Cold War began shortly after the end of World War II and was designed to defeat the revolutionary upsurge in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, unleashed by the defeat of fascism and the rise of the anti-colonial movements. The second Cold War was launched by the Carter Administration shortly after the U.S. defeat in Indo-China and was directed at isolating and defending the anti-imperialist movements in Central America (Nicaragua), the Middle East (Iran), Southern Asia (Afghanistan), the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia/Eritrea) and Southern Africa (Angola/Mozambique/South Africa). The Third Cold War has been launched by the Bush Administration faced with economic crises and challenges to the empire.

The third section of the paper discusses the crises of the empire followed by an analysis of the character and policies of the Bush Administration and specifically how they affect Latin America, including a discussion of U.S. military strategy (Plan Colombia - Andean Initiative) and its relation to ALCA - the twin approaches to the re-colonization of Latin America.

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