Regarding priorities and scarce resources, I thought the following email i just received from someone I met in Antigua who also happens to be quite knowledgeable about world politics and military history might be of interest:

Here’s why our tax dollars have been well spent. Most Americans are unaware of the growing influence in the region of Cuba (provides hundreds of doctors and civil engineers in the Caribbean and Latin America), Venezuela (subsidizes oil prices to regional governments and underwrites Cuba’s initiatives), and China (has important relationships with many Western Hemisphere governments – who happen to vote in the UN). Maybe you drove past the Viv Richards Cricket Stadium in Antigua? Built by the Chinese. If (perhaps when?) the Chinese navy were able to project a global presence, their ships would be welcomed in St. John’s Harbor today.

The visit of the USNS Comfort has given a tremendous boost to US relations and furthers US interests, not to mention the intrinsic benefit to the recipients of the medical care. Of course, you experienced this first hand.

Well said my new friend! Multiply this by six other nations in CP 09 and we will start to see some big dividends in the region.

Posted by Jim Dolbow in Soft Power

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  • Fouled Anchor

    Venezuela was my first thought when the benefits of this mission were discussed with one of your previous posts, but I wasn’t aware of the push from China in the smaller island areas. Great info, thanks.

  • RickWilmes

    What about China holding the largest portion of U. S. Treasury bonds?

    If China is the concern there are far more important fundamental issues to be concerned about. Medical diplomacy may feel good for those who are participating or seeing the results of the care first hand. In the mean time, American Express has announced it will be laying off thousands of workers.

  • My Cuban Aunt has been briefing me on the dealings of Castro in the entire area for at least the last 11 years. She reads the Spanish papers from the region online and Fidel has been very good at “helping” all over Central and South America for a very long time.

    The side note is the best of those professionals go to these missions, and the people of Cuba are left with less than stellar “providers” in their daily lives.