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Invoking Monroe Doctrine, US congressman calls Argentina a ‘threat’ over China alliance

Trump-allied Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz called Argentina a “threat” to US “security,” complaining that its alliance with China challenges the 200-year-old colonialist Monroe Doctrine.

Matt Gaetz Argentina threat China

(Se puede leer este artículo en español aquí.)

An influential right-wing US lawmaker invoked the 200-year-old colonialist Monroe Doctrine on the floor of Congress and called Argentina a “threat” because of its alliance with China.

Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, a key ally of former president Donald Trump, said in a speech in the House of Representatives on February 7 that there is a “significant threat to our nation accelerating rapidly close to home.”

“Argentina, a critical nation and economy in the Americas, has just lashed itself to the Chinese Communist Party, by signing on to the One Belt One Road Initiative,” Gaetz fumed.

The Florida lawmaker was reacting to the news that Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández visited Moscow and Beijing for meetings with Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping on February 3 and 6, respectively.

Explaining his trips, Fernández said, “I am consistently working to rid Argentina of this dependence on the IMF and the US. I want Argentina to open up new opportunities.”

Argentina signed on to join Beijing’s international infrastructure campaign, the Belt and Road Initiative, and China offered the South American nation $23.7 billion in investments and infrastructure projects. Moscow similarly pledged to strengthen political and economic ties with what it called “one of Russia’s key partners in Latin America.”

Top US politicians invoke colonialist Monroe Doctrine to justify interventions in Latin America

Representative Matt Gaetz angrily described Argentina’s growing links with China as “a direct challenge to the Monroe Doctrine.”

The Monroe Doctrine, which dates back to 1823, was a message to European colonialists that the United States considers Latin America to be its own colonial territory.

Two centuries ago, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams created the doctrine, and President James Monroe made it government policy, insisting that the US would not intervene in the European colonial powers’ spheres of influence as long as they recognized Central and South America to be Washington’s imperial sphere of influence.

This attitude that Latin America is US colonial property is still very much alive today, and thoroughly bipartisan in Washington.

Multiple senior officials in the Donald Trump administration invoked the Monroe Doctrine to justify their coup attempt in Venezuela, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

This January, President Joe Biden echoed colonial Monroe Doctrine rhetoric by referring to Latin America as Washington’s “front yard.”

Trumpist Republicans like Matt Gaetz seek war on China

While Matt Gaetz, like his political mentor Donald Trump, sometimes opportunistically criticizes other right-wing factions such as “neocons,” he pushes a similarly hawkish imperialist foreign policy.

One constant in virtually all of Gaetz’s speeches is his obsessive demonization of China. He strongly advocates for a new cold war to contain the Asian superpower.

While many neoconservatives and liberal-interventionists push for an aggressive policy against Russia, Gaetz’s message is essentially that China is the real threat to the United States, not the Kremlin, and that Washington should seek war with Beijing instead of war with Moscow.

In his House speech declaring Argentina a “threat,” Gaetz reiterated this talking point, claiming, “China is a rising power. Russia is a declining power. Let us sharpen our focus so that we do not join them in that eventual fate.”

Gaetz, who represents Florida’s northwestern Panhandle, joined the Trump administration in strongly supporting a right-wing coup attempt in Venezuela.

The Republican lawmaker frequently calls for the overthrow of Cuba’s government as well, while spreading fake news claiming that “Venezuelan thugs, flavored w[ith] Russians, are now ‘kill squads’ going through homes. They are slaughtering adults and abducting children.”

Gaetz is closely linked to far-right extremists. In 2018, he invited a notorious white-nationalist blogger who has promoted Holocaust revisionism to Trump’s State of the Union address.

In addition to his extreme political views, Gaetz has been investigated by US authorities for the alleged sex trafficking of a 17-year-old girl.

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