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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: From the Brady Plan to the Trump (Quasi) Doctrine
Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel on the Trump Doctrine and Latin America.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

As president Trump does not cease to take both his foes and friends by surprise, the world is beginning to wonder whether he is creating a new doctrine for international affairs or simply bringing down the remains of the post war system.

I actually believe he is doing both.

From the intellectual viewpoint, Trump resembles Monsieur Jourdain, Moliere's leading character in his work Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. Jourdain spoke in prose without knowing. Trump is creating a doctrine without being aware of such thing. Trump's doctrine tenets basically are that the U.S. is the most powerful nation in the world and it thus enjoys the option of deciding when and where to intervene.

Power resources are to be deployed to the advantage of the leading power and not to that of any associate or partner. There is no need to engage in balance of power exercises because Europe is going back to its historic fragmentation and China still needs to develop its military muscle.

In short, America will concentrate in maintaining its power base while it leaves world order pretty much in the hands of all those nations that are affected by conflicts. They should quench those conflicts without expecting America to intervene except in the diplomatic dimension.

This not only represents a departure from the post war alliance sealed between the U.S. and Europe, but the end of an era characterized by the effective management of the world power balance by the United States.

To all nations in the world this spells more latitude in their international behavior but tighter restrictions in their ability to achieve goals, as this would depend on their power endowment.

As far as the U.S. is concerned, its intervention in world affairs will be directly tied to the protection of its economic and military interests. No more distraction with principles or values, as the rest of the world is not on par with the U.S.

Hemispheric wise, Mr. Trump's doctrine is unintendedly going to take the U.S. back to the point it was on the days of the Brady Plan.

The famous Brady Plan was a debt conversion system that allowed the hemispheric economy to take off again and initiate an era of expansion and was anchored on two tenets: First, the U.S. economy will need to enhance its client base to grow. Second, as the U.S. economy phases out from manufacturing to concentrate on services it will need a large pool of cheap labor and an unending stream of intermediate products and commodities. Latin America was deemed to be the perfect partner to achieve these means. Also, and as a plus, the more prosperous Latin America would become, the less probability the U.S. would have of facing an immigration crisis.

As president Trump begins to experience the economic impact of the freeze with China and Europe braces for more markets to export its products as fragmentation advances, the U.S. most probably will revisit the Brady Plan.

And while no one expects the Trump administration to suddenly turn into a free marketer, managed and complementary trade will be the new mantras. Revised trade treaties would most probably seek to establish complementary trade flows between Latin America and the U.S.

They will also seek to secure supply of both rare earth elements as well as vanadium and lithium to feed the growing electronic industries that will receive a boost from robotics.

At the end of what most likely be the eight Trump years there should not be a stone standing from the international system created in Yalta and perfected at Bretton Woods.

This was perfectly described by Gerard Araud, former ambassador of France to the U.S., in a conversation with The Atlantic. "From Reagan to Trump you have, more or less, the neoliberal era -- taxes were bad, borders were bad, and you have to trust the market. It's also the period of the triumphant West ... And suddenly the election of Trump.... for me means that this period is over."

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.


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