10 Signa The U.S. Is Losing Its Influence In The Western Hemisphere
by Gus Lubin in Recession, Emerging Markets
We won't be the alpha dog in the western hemisphere forever.
Even if the U.S. hadn't crashed into a financial crisis, there are demographic, material, and political forces that have been spreading power around the Americas for decades.
Brazil is first among the BRICs (Brazi, Russia, India, and China) -- four economies that are supposed to overtake the six largest Western economies by 2032.
Mexico is first among the MAVINS (Mexico, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria, and South Africa) -- six economies we expect to blow away expectations and become leading powers in their regions relatively soon.
Canada and Venezuela are oil powers of the distant future.
Peru and Chile are sitting on a fortune of metals and minerals.
All these countries are cranking up, while America faces plenty of fiscal and demographic problems at home.
Here are Signs the U.S. Is Losing Its Influence In Its Own Backyard:
Our most powerful regional ally--Brazil--refuses to follow our orders on Iran
Hillary Clinton went to Brazil to beg support for sanctions against Iran and came away empty handed. Now the UN is counting on Brazil, which is friendly with America and Iran, to lead nuclear diplomacy.
The World's Richest Man is now a Mexican, not an American.
For the first time in 16 years, the World's Richest Man is not an American. Carlos Slim, worth $54 billion, is the first Latin American to hold that title and one of many emerging market billionaires to eclipse the U.S.
Three years after a US financial crisis, Latin America is again growing rapidly. The U.S.? Not so much...
Compare this to what happened during the Great Depression. Latin America was devastated when U.S. investment dried up and the export market soured in the 30s. A League of Nations report said Chile, Peru, and Bolivia suffered the world's worst depression.
Today is quite different. Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico have led a buoyant recovery from the global recession, according to Reuters. The regional economy is expected by the UN to grow 4.3 percent in 2010. If the American consumer remains weak, Latin American exports will move elsewhere.
Chile produces 300% more copper than America--the former world leader in copper production
America used to lead the world in copper production. We produced 49% of the world's copper in 1929, according to this article from the archives. Today we produced 1.2 million tonnes yearly, compared to 5.4 million tonnes in Chile.
Brazil now produces over four times as much iron ore as the U.S.. We used to lead that industry, too.
America once led the world in iron mining. In 1892 we discovered the world's largest mine at the Great Lakes Mesabi Range. It was a wellspring for America's industrial might and the foundation of the rust belt.
Now we claim reserves at 2,100 mt. Seven countries claim higher reserves, including Brazil at 8,900 mt. We produce only 54 mt yearly, while Brazil produces 250 mt.
Canada and Venezuela will pass the U.S. in oil production in the next decade
America produces around 9 million billion barrels of oil a day. Venezuela and Canada each produce around 3 million. But America's reserves are 21 billion barrels and may last less than a decade. Our oil-rich neighbors claim 99 billion bbl and 178 billion bbl, respectively, and will keep producing oil into the distant future.
Now Brazil exports over twice as much beef as we do
America used to lead the world in beef production. Although we still do, America exports only 800,000 mt of beef per year. Brazil exports 2,200,000 mt. Here's some ironic excerpts from a 1911 NYT article: "American-Canadian syndicate to have world's largest beef plant in Brazil... The chilled beef industry has never been tried before in Brazil and has only recently gotten under way in Argentina."
Brazil is now a critical partner for Russia, India, and China
The acronym coined by Goldman Sachs to describe the four key emerging powers has taken on a life of its own. Brazil, Russia, India, and China have held several summits and even discussed making a supranational currency -- that would pull the rug out from the U.S. dollar.
What's important here is that global emerging powers have good relations and are inclined to work together. For instance, China just signed major contracts to build factories and high-speed rail in Brazil.
Brazil, Canada, and Mexico all invest a greater share of GDP in clean energy
A Pew survey found that Brazil invests 0.37% of its economy in clean energy. Canada invests 0.25% and Mexico invests 0.14%. America is eleventh in the world at 0.13%.
Hugo Chavez is still in power
The CIA has a notorious history of interventions in Latin America, supposedly targeting Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, Fidel Castro, Manuel Noriega, Rios Montt, Che Guevara, and many others. But they haven't stopped Hugo Chavez from railing against the United States for years. Clearly America has adopted a more passive regional strategy.