Small Wars Journal

U.S. Military Targets Growing Russian and Chinese Influence in Latin America

U.S. Military Targets Growing Russian and Chinese Influence in Latin America by Lara Seligman - Foreign Policy

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, returning from a trip to Colombia, said over the weekend that the Trump administration is making a push to strengthen alliances across Latin America as part of an effort to counter rising Chinese and Russian influence in the United States’ backyard.

In an interview with Foreign Policy, Goldfein said Colombia and other Latin American countries risked being locked out of U.S. and allied operations if they stopped buying military hardware from the United States and turned to other markets instead.

“While there may be other cheap hardware out there that might be available on the market, at some point it becomes really hard to make it connect and share within the system,” Goldfein said by phone Saturday while flying home from Colombia. 

His trip was part of a broader administration effort to reinforce alliances across Latin America as the region grapples with a range of security threats, from narcotrafficking and terrorism to Venezuela’s economic collapse and ensuing refugee crisis. During the two-day visit, which followed U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis’s own South America tour in August, Goldfein met with Colombia’s minister of defense, commander general, and air force chief, and he spoke with students at the Colombian war college…

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