Symposium 2011: Many South and Central American countries have either exhibited hostility towards the U.S. or opened alliances with our enemies in the Middle East, most notably, Iran. How does the U.S. deal with this?

RMC:  Don’t do business with them and make it clear that if they aid or abet the terrorists, we will hold them responsible.  That’s a pretty hard line approach, but money talks.  If they can’t get stuff from us in terms of trade, they may think twice about throwing in with the enemy.  Each and every one of these countries wants or needs something from the United States, whether they will admit it or not.  We need to identify what that is and use that as the carrot on the stick. 


There’s a second school of thought that says the best way to win over your enemy is to make them your friend.  I’ve learned in life that the more you try to be nice to someone the more they try to push you around and take advantage of you.  If these countries think you’re weak, they’re not going to respect you.  They fear strength.  The stronger we are and the harder we play ball, the more they will respect us, fear us, and be wary of crossing us. Of course, we have to be able back up our words with firm and resolute action if the case warrants it.


Cartwright:  Isolate them like they’ve got the plague.  Don’t buy anything they may have to sell us and don’t sell anything they may want to buy from us to start.  Sanctions only work, however, if everyone gets together and agrees to stick with the sanctions.  If Iran and other Middle East nations are getting cozy with the countries in Central and South America, the sanctions will ultimately fail.  They’ll provide their new friends with what they need, to some degree, and vice versa.


The reality is that the United States can make life really difficult for these smaller nations in Latin America.  Travel restrictions and trade restrictions can complicate life for these people.  In the end, however, we really won’t be able to stop it.  If the leaders of these countries are really that misguided that they fall in with a bad crowd, that’s their own stupidity.  Like I said, cut ties with them in every way.  It’s not really our concern if the people there suffer.  But, if these countries throw in with countries that are hostile towards us and things don’t work out, we need to make sure we turn our backs on them when they come crawling back or when they need something or when their friends toss them to the trash heap of history.


Sydney:  Openly hostile Central and South American countries are hardly a new phenomenon. They only really pose a threat if the country they are allied with decides to give them missiles that could directly threaten the United States. I don’t think Iran would try. It has happened before in Cuba but Iran is no Russia.


So we should probably deal with this the same way we deal with Canada (another openly hostile neighbor), that is, ignore them. Seriously though, don’t we actually help some of these countries fight drug cartels? We can’t send troops into every country that doesn’t like us.


Michigan:  I don’t think this is a problem we have to give too much thought to.  Other than Mexico, I don’t think we have an on-going problem with anyone.  If we do, we should cut off any aid to them.

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