When It Comes to Alliances, Latin America Has a Commitment Problem  

When It Comes to Alliances, Latin America Has a Commitment Problem  
Argentine President Javier Milei waves after speaking to students at Florida International University, April 11, 2024, in North Miami, Fla. (AP photo by Lynne Sladky).

Last month, Colombia announced that it will apply for membership in the BRICS, and Argentina formally requested to become one of NATO’s global partners. Ten years ago, both of those statements would have sounded absurd. After all, in 2014, Colombia under then-President Juan Manuel Santos was seen as the United States’ strongest ally in Latin America. Meanwhile, Argentina under then-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was a member in good standing of the “Pink Tide,” while taking loans from China and considering a rapprochement with Iran to boot.

The shifts announced last month are a sign of Latin America’s changing diplomatic alliances, but it would be a mistake to read too much into them.

Starting with the BRICS, after an internal debate over expansion, the organization comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa announced it was inviting new members to join late last year. As a result of the diplomatic efforts of Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Argentina—at the time led by Lula’s ally, former President Alberto Fernandez—was one of six countries that received an invitation.

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