BRASÍLIA/LIMA/BOGOTÁ/BERLIN (Own report) – The West’s power struggle with Russia has led also to tensions during the German foreign minister’s Latin America tour, which ends today. Last Friday, Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Brazil, which has a “Strategic Partnership” with Germany. However, the country not only refuses to join the sanctions against Russia, it is even intensifying its economic and political cooperation with Moscow. Current relations have therefore become “difficult,” according to observers, even though they are good with Peru and Colombia, next on the Foreign Minister’s schedule. Both countries are members of the “Pacific Alliance” that is directed against the Venezuela and Cuba inspired ALBA Alliance. The alliance also seeks to enhance its economic activities in East and Southeast Asia, thereby falling in line with Western efforts to position its forces against China at its periphery. Germany was given observer status at the Pacific Alliance and is intensifying military cooperation with its members.
Challenger to the USA
Germany’s policy toward Latin America is accompanied by dissonance. This became obvious during Steinmeier’s first stopover in Brazil. In 2008, Berlin entered a “Strategic Partnership” with Brasília and the two countries agreed on an “action plan” to strengthen bilateral relations. It is still in force. It was announced that the first German-Brazilian government consultations will be held in August in Brasília, with the personal participation of Chancellor Angela Merkel. A few years ago, the Hamburg-based German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA), wrote that Brazil has “consolidated its leading position in South America and partially even in the whole of Latin America,” and thereby become also “a challenger to the USA in the region.” Berlin was hoping to consolidate its own position in Washington’s “backyard” by cooperating with Brazil.
The Next Conflict
The intensification of German relations to the Pacific Alliance countries – now even on a military level – is also important because primarily the alliance is strategically oriented toward East and Southeast Asia. The members of the alliance are already transacting a large part of their foreign trade with those regions, and intend to significantly increase this trade in the future. “If Latin America’s west coast” was a “global backyard” during the transatlantic period, it “could well be center stage” in the “Pacific century,” announced by the USA, writes Samuel George for the Bertelsmann Foundation. Therefore the Pacific Alliance falls in line with western efforts to position its forces in east and southeast Asia against China, and it will become a party to this already clearly looming conflict between the West and Beijing. It is hardly likely that this conflict will bare less potential for escalation than the current conflict between the West and Russia.