The President once again promised to close the southern border and declared that he’s cutting off all aid to the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that his administration recently clinched an unprecedented security deal with. This seemly schizophrenic policy is explained by reports that the so-called “mother of all caravans” is departing for the US and Trump’s belief that none of the Northern Triangle countries or Mexico have done anything to stop it, railing on twitter that they take the US’ money and do nothing in return. None of this is news to those who’ve been following this front for the past few years and are familiar with Trump’s worldview, but it takes on a renewed importance in the context of the US’ successful construction of “Fortress America” in South America.
Except for Venezuela and Bolivia to a lesser extent, the US has all but obtained full and uncontested proxy control over the continent through the Prosur regional integration bloc that was just created as an outcome of the years-long rolling regime change campaign that could be described as “Operation Condor 2.0” in Cold War parlance. It’ll take time to fortify “Fortress America” in this part of the hemisphere, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t proceed in parallel with the expansion of this geopolitical project northward into Central America, as evidenced by the latest security agreement that was signed prior to the news breaking about another Caravan Crisis. From the looks of it, it seems as though the US is playing “good cop, bad cop” to get what it wants.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is the “good cop” signing security deals with the Central American states while Trump is the “bad cop” threatening to close down the border if they don’t comply with his anti-caravan demands, therefore presenting the US’ three targeted states in the Northern Triangle with a framework to apply if they want to continue receiving financial aid and reaping the benefits derived from legal activity across the US’ open border. Channeling the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt who famously advised that the US should “speak softly and carry a big stick”, Trump is “shouting loudly and wielding a Hybrid War hammer”, unafraid to be as belligerent as needed in order to show his counterparts that he means business and intends to accelerate “Fortress America’s” expansion into Central America.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.