Making Sense of China’s Role in Latin America

Published on
November 14th, 2018
33 minutes

Making Sense of China’s Role in Latin America

The Exchange ·
Featuring Dee Smith, Liz Economy, Christopher Sabatini

Published on: November 14th, 2018 • Duration: 33 minutes

Is China's sphere of influence extending into Latin America? Dee Smith of the Strategic Insight Group, Elizabeth Economy of the Council on Foreign Relations and Christopher Sabatini of Columbia University outline the extent to which China is expanding its operations — and by so doing, courting both allies and pariahs of the United States. Should America view this as a direct threat, or is China simply extending the reach of its Belt and Road initiative in order to maintain essential raw material supply chains? Filmed on September 26, 2018 in New York.


  • SB
    Stewart B.
    2 December 2018 @ 14:02
    I really appreciated Dee's questions and direction. Also, I felt Chris understood well how political games are played and seemed to have a deep understanding this situation/transition. Fascinating topic. I'd like to see more of these two in the future.
  • dm
    dude m.
    29 November 2018 @ 22:01
    Sorry I missed it...why was Elizabeth ignored for the majority of the interview.?
  • JA
    John A.
    22 November 2018 @ 02:57
    I watched this right after watching the the Steve Bannon interview. Watching Elizabeth say in one breath that she doesn't think China has a deliberate strategy to saddle these countries with too much debt such that China will essentially own them, then in the next breath say, "Win-win for China means China wins twice", contradicting herself, makes Steve Bannon's point. Clearly it is their strategy, only rose colored glasses keep people from seeing it. Maybe green colored glasses...
  • KS
    Kathleen S.
    14 November 2018 @ 21:05
    "Said the spider to the fly" -- These guys are all globalists (CFR complete globalist organization). The woman doesn't think China is purposely practicing in predatory lending LOL!!! China is following the same play book which US Corporations have used for decades with the aide of the wonderful World Bank & IMF. John Perkins "Economic Hitman" does a great job in explaining how the system works. Basically you follow the following steps: decide on countries whose resources you covet, convince them to partner with you to take on loans to build the infrastructure (aka "make them an offer they can't refuse"), design the loans that the host country will never be able to pay them back - and "presto". Now for part 2 -since they can't make their loan payments; you confiscate their infrastructure, get their resources cheap, and use your leverage to get this indebted country to see things your way at the UN. China is just so sweet, look how they are helping little Ecuador set up a complete facial recognition surveillance state. It is great for helping to cut down on crime, but you know what else it is great for?? If any pesky citizens should protest against any of these awful loans - you can round them up in a matter of hours. Good God, China is one dangerous country and all one has to do is look at the CCP (a party that killed 45 million of its own people) the same party that is still in charge. I think, I trust the Kyle Bass/Steve Bannon take on China more than I trust one coming from a globalist organization. The world is waking up to the globalist agenda and it seems many are very unhappy a la Trump - we will see, but to quote Judge Judy, "Please, don't pee on my leg, and tell me it is raining".
    • JV
      Jens V.
      20 November 2018 @ 11:24
      well said.
  • CB
    Chris B.
    14 November 2018 @ 22:09
    Quite naive to think the Chinese aren’t engaging in predatory lending.
    • KS
      Kathleen S.
      18 November 2018 @ 15:25
      I don't believe she is naive -- she knows EXACTLY what is going on.
  • my
    markettaker y.
    18 November 2018 @ 02:07
    Interesting how Smith (very smoothly, in fact) cut out Economy half-way through after she lightly scoffed at, then argued against the idea that China deliberately tries to use debt traps for getting control of strategic assets. Glad RV allows the interviewer the freedom to direct things to that degree. Economy is always going to be limited in what she says about the CCP given her institutional affiliation. One major thing I love about RV is its failure to abide by the standard 'globalist' orthodoxies and provide so many edgy perspectives. (i.e. Bannon, constant goldbug stuff; it's so transgressive and fantastic.)
  • GO
    Gary O.
    17 November 2018 @ 23:26
    When will we see a Chinese guy or girl talk about China? Dee Smith just shafted Elizabeth. Why was she invited again?
  • NB
    Nikola B.
    17 November 2018 @ 14:51
    Fantastic interview, although I'm a bit surprised about the lack of a more in-depth discussion on China's relationship and interaction with the two of the biggest Latam's economies - Brazil and Mexico. As many of the people watching this would know, Brazil has recently elected Jair Bolsonaro, a far right populist on a platform quite reminiscent of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. There has been a lot of speculation on the involvement of Steve Bannon in Bolsonaro's campaign and there is quite a lot of anecdotal evidence of close ties between former and current Trump team members and the people in Bolsonaro's upcoming government. Bolsonaro himself has already made some anti-China comments and this looks like the US trying to fight China back in its backyard. In Mexico, we've also seen a populist named Andres Manuel Lopes Obrador (AMLO) win elections earlier this year (he will be sworn in in December). He's more on the hard left, but there has been very little signalling he's made on his intentions towards China and the US, thought that guests who obviously have great insight into the region could have spent more time talking about that. My message to the RV is to keep doing the great job and personally I'd like seeing more pieces like this discussing the geopolitical and economic developments in Latam. This is generally quite a neglected region, where we've seen some serious ideological shifts happening on the back of voters' anger with the ruling elites. I also definitely applaud the piece on Venezuela you guys recently did.
  • SS
    Sam S.
    16 November 2018 @ 20:42
    Greatest trick the devil ever performed, was convincing everyone he doesn't exist. The same exact strategy during the Vietnam War, won the war for the Chinese. Same setup will gather the same outcome. USA will be in a much weaker position and our geographical location will be compromised. China will control the value/source of important resources and not have to work within the market mechanisms. Chinese believe the USA and other countries are soft and weak, They're right. Trump is first in decades to make tough a lot of decisions. Read the Art Of War-------much of this discussion is factual information designed to soften our thoughts and deceive our perceptions away from the true Chinese intentions. Maybe we align with India to fight back on China's backyard. Academic discussion is feel good opinions until the conflict starts, then all the opinions go out the window when the bullets start flying. Very smart people working on this right now and I hope they have the courage to control or stop it. China is NOT our friend.
  • MZ
    Martin Z.
    16 November 2018 @ 06:08
    Please bring back Grant, Simon, and Dan. (And skip the distracting cafe/restaurant table props: Isn't it supposed to be a bar anyway?)
  • RR
    Rex R.
    15 November 2018 @ 19:41
    This is old news. Secondarily, I agree with some of the below negative comments regarding having the CFR at the table.. -- The CFR is a propaganda arm of the Davos Crowd.
  • MB
    Martin B.
    14 November 2018 @ 13:19
    I hope RV finds someone who can explain the viewpoint of China. Or someone who explains why US and Europe is not more supporting the countries where China is involved.
    • GF
      George F.
      14 November 2018 @ 14:36
      "why US and Europe" The US does not build railroads, ports, or any civil engineering works anymore. Can you name one? I don't know about Europe, but I can't think of any important European civil engineering projects. Notice when Greece fell into financial problems their ports ended up being operated by Chinese not Germans or French. Previous to the collapse Greece bought German U-Boats and European transportation stuff, the Chinese are actually giving European debtors a better deal than Europe. Needless to say the collapse of the German border was the result of their debt policy towards border states like Spain, Greece, Italy.
    • gg
      georgy g.
      14 November 2018 @ 15:25
      You mean why USA not supporting a bus driver President who is completely ruining his country? People leaving vene on foot...
    • AR
      Abishek R.
      14 November 2018 @ 15:38
      Spot on Martin. I think RV needs a 2nd studio in Hong Kong, bring it on Raul! p.s. Will be fitting timing as HK has just overtaken NYC as the most in demand downtown location (going by downtown per sqft rates)
    • WS
      William S.
      15 November 2018 @ 16:56
      Other than its increasingly obsolete arms exports, the 21st century US has largely become a one-trick pony: all financialization, all the time.
  • AR
    Abishek R.
    14 November 2018 @ 15:33
    As soon as Elizabeth Economy made the comment that it WASN'T a deliberate attempt by China to entrap countries in the OBOR, the video became a 1-on-1 interview between D Smith and Christopher :-)
    • WS
      William S.
      15 November 2018 @ 16:51
      I noticed that. I kept waiting for her to say something else, but Smith appeared to shut her off from that point forward.
  • TT
    Trenton T.
    15 November 2018 @ 13:49
    There are two views as to how to counter China: Idealist 1) Surrender sovereignty and ignore China's role in creating mistrust among countries it sees as vassal states (US and Russia, for example), join TPP, hope everyone comes together to support continued US economic and military hegemony. And Realist 2) Fiercely guard sovereignty, observe, counter and confront if necessary China's forays into LatAm, Africa and the Spratly Islands. You could boil this down to the 1) Obama administration approach and 2) the Trump administration approach. We had 8 years of 1) and 2 years of 2) so far. We need an objective assessment of which approach works better before advocating for one or the other. I have done business in both Russia and China. I am no fan of Russia, they deported me on my last attempted visit. But I'm also sure they're under no illusions that if China goes expansionist, eastern Russia is the first and closest resource target. Americans need a more objective view of the world stage and the media is not doing them any favors in that regard. The media is in complete dereliction of duty by supporting polarized narratives.
  • DX
    Dominus X.
    14 November 2018 @ 14:19
    pastries look good
    • MZ
      Martin Z.
      15 November 2018 @ 10:29
      Which is as good a reason as any for why China is eating up Latin America, Sean.
  • SH
    Steve H.
    14 November 2018 @ 19:21
    Can we expect a companion piece: 'Making Sense of America's Role in Asia'?
    • DC
      Dave C.
      15 November 2018 @ 01:32
      Try watching this - 'What Is The Empire's Strategy?' - Col Lawrence Wilkerson Speech At RPI Media & War Conference Addresses some of the points raised in the recent Bass interviews squarely on the nose.
  • BB
    Bullionaire B.
    15 November 2018 @ 01:32
    Get your Chinese made Venezuelan Fatherland Cards, if you want you pension and subsidized fuel (when available) Article author: Cheers RV, moving to Panama soon.
  • HO
    H2 O.
    15 November 2018 @ 00:58
    The world is moving on. Little in the mindset expressed in this piece to help investors understand where asset prices and markets are headed. Courtesy of P Malmgren, acute failure of imagination is going to doom a lot of people (and CFR).
  • TE
    Tito E.
    14 November 2018 @ 23:45
    Fuck the CFR
    • KS
      Kathleen S.
      15 November 2018 @ 00:43
  • RM
    Russell M.
    15 November 2018 @ 00:42
    Good, but do you continue to suffer us with the table props. At least there aren’t jesters doing cartwheels in the backround.
  • AS
    Andrew S.
    14 November 2018 @ 20:17
    In a nutshell, look what happened while we were pissing trillions of dollars down rat holes in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • DS
    David S.
    14 November 2018 @ 18:38
    American isolationism is certainly helping China's influence in the rest of the globe. America will have major problems financing its own infrastructure requirements, much less helping others. This leaves a political vacuum in the rest of the world that can be filled with the Belt and Road initiative. The hope for an isolationist US is that China will run out of money. DLS
  • NG
    Nicholas G.
    14 November 2018 @ 18:17
    Filmed before anti-China Bolsonaro was elected President in Brazil
  • DC
    Darren C.
    14 November 2018 @ 17:53
    It makes sense that some of those at the top of the Chinese ruling party would read 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman' and use it as a model going forward in Africa and Latin America.
  • AM
    Alonso M.
    14 November 2018 @ 16:46
    I find myself not all that engaged by the hyperbole in many of the videos I've watched the last month or so. I couldn't stomach this one to the end. I am both amused and disgusted by the hypocrisy coming from these deluded individuals.
  • ag
    anthony g.
    14 November 2018 @ 15:51
    A bit naive in parts. Otherwise quite good.
  • gg
    georgy g.
    14 November 2018 @ 15:29
    The key key point is that China presents and advocates a different system of governance state capitalism. That system will not work. And some countries like vene discovering this quickly. If China did not lend to crazies like Maduro vene would have been able to get on the right track much faster. There is no other system than capitalism and China is a challenge to that system
  • GF
    George F.
    14 November 2018 @ 14:45
    If properly managed can't Venezuela double or triple oil output? Why wouldn't the Chinese invest in Venezuela? Buy low sell high.