“We prefer dealing with America and its companies because of our close ties in culture, history, language, and immigration.” When a president in South America told me this a few years ago, I felt a sense of pride in my country and optimistic about our relations in Latin America. But then he continued. “But you are largely absent from the region, and the Chinese are very present. So we work more with them.” I winced.
As I later thought about this interaction, I reckoned there was a lot of truth to what this president said. United States foreign policy has largely looked eastward. As recently as the United States Mexico Canada Agreement and as far back as the Monroe Doctrine, we have had moments of engagement in the Western Hemisphere. But when you consider the