In shaping its strategic framework for Latin America and the Caribbean, US Southern Command must understand that “there is no longer any such thing as a regional challenge,” its commander, Adm. Kurt Tidd, said. Whether it is dealing with the actions of Russia, China, and Iran, or the trafficking in drugs, weapons, humans and terrorists, “the challenges that we confront in this part of the world have something in common, they are transregional. They cross borders … They affect not just the Western Hemisphere, but the rest of the world,” Tidd told an Atlantic Council forum July 13. Concerns about Russia’s actions in Eastern Europe, China’s disregard for international laws, or Iran’s support for terrorists have to be considered in responding to their actions in his region. He said Russia has “absolutely no qualms about spreading disinformation” about US intentions in the region and China’s search for raw materials is shadowed by its questionable financial practices. His command must consider that as it works to build relationships in the region to address the challenges of drugs and people flowing north and weapons flowing south as well as the growth of good governance and civilian control of the military, Tidd said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.