Who does not know that America for centuries has harboured the Caribbean as its backyard. Washington’s foreign policy in the area revolved around empty promises, fear-mongering, coup attempts against any government not favourable to the White House, bribing leaders and everything dishonourable. However, we all know when we go to our comfort zone, what happens. We begin losing.
Changed narratives in the Caribbean show that Washington got a little too comfortable in this “backyard” of its. And, as a result it has begun losing its control over the region and here enters China. Not a good news for the White House.
Recent findings show that China has emerged winner in the tussle with the USA over the Caribbean. This tussle has been going on for decades. It especially got passionate off late. The reason: Taiwan.
As Taiwan is the bone of contention between China and the USA, they both want to solidify their stances on the issue. Taiwan gets most of its international recognition for its individuality from the Caribbean nations only. At present,14 sovereign nations have acknowledged the authority of the Taipei government and have had the nerve to defy the mainland Chinese stance by setting up diplomatic ties with the island. Out of these 14, five are the Caribbean nations.
If these 5 withdraw their support, it will become easier for China to take over Taiwan. That will impact USA’ stance. Hence, the friction and lure game continues in the region by these superpowers.
Dragon breathes fire on the Eagle in the skies of the Caribbean Sea
In this game of luring, China appears to be winning. How? China has taken the penny plain steps. It just filled the void that USA’ absence created. China perfectly balanced its soft and strong stances.
Let’s break this down to easily understand China’s role in every sector in the region.
First comes, Infrastructure funding. Anyone who wants to be close to the Caribbean should know that the region continuously needs funding for the infrastructure as the area is still in the developing phase and also it has geographical strains. There is still a lack of projects that are directly financed by the United States in the region. China, on the other hand, finances infrastructure projects across the region as part of its Belt and Road (BRI) initiative.
All the countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago have already signed Memoranda of Understanding to be part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Ouch, USA. Buck up!
Then, comes the supremacist behaviour that USA reeks off. Washington literally ignored the region, and used it for its own interests. All its policies in the region are never properly researched. Along with that, it treated the whole region homogeneously.
Listen to the words of Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis of the Bahamas, made during an event at the Aqualina development in June 2022. He said, “We in the Caribbean felt truly neglected by the leader of the world, the United States, and that we felt as though, that sometimes we are only known when we’re needed and also that the approach to us, or about us, is always without us.”
One way friendships never last long. That’s exactly what happened.
Above all this, the negative publicity of China to the region has backfired poorly for the White House. USA continuously disregarded Chinese investments in the Caribbean as a “Debt Trap Policy”. After a while, the Caribbean ears went deaf to this phrase. USA also kept forcing the Caribbean to choose a side. That’s bad parenting, right there! The Caribbean nations are sovereign and can’t be forced to forge their foreign relations according to the wishes of other countries.
China made the Caribbean feel that they are the priority and for that, it engaged its top-officials in the region. Recently Premier Li Keqiang met with President of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel. Such direct contact and nation-oriented policy of China, lured these nations away from the USA.
All things summed up led to the growing ties of China with the Caribbean both economically and politically. Many Caribbean countries now have China as one of their biggest trading partners.
China’s Entry in Caribbean: Not an End in itself
The Caribbean is receiving an influx of Chinese people, capital, and resources. China’s opportunist policy worked wonders for the nation. It seems like the USA is on the verge of packing its bag and leaving the region. Who knows. However, this backpedaling of the USA from the region is a good sign. No longer these nations have to bow down to the racist superpower. However, China as an option is not as reliable as the Caribbean is finding it. You can take the examples of China debt-trapped nations of Pakistan and Maldives.
Read More: India is formally entering the Caribbean and that’s an ominous sign for USA
Then, what is the way out for them?
The Caribbean will have several areas where it can freely negotiate on its own terms. So, it should strategies carefully, as now is the time for the region to utilise its full potential. Look around, Caribbean! Many nations like India, Saudi Arabia, UAE are ready to place their stakes in your region and fashion deep-rooted and durable ties. Hop on this window of opportunity.
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