La Tercera, Chile
Presidential Visit and the Relationship Between Chile and the United States
Translated By Cydney Seigerman
5 June 2013
Edited by Chris Basham
Chile - La Tercera - Original Article (Spanish)
The cordial meeting held June 4 in the White House between the presidents of the United States and Chile affirms the excellent opportunity for bilateral relations and the importance of the ties our country has with the American superpower.
Chile has become a close ally of the United States in a region where anti-U.S. slogans are common and where diverse governments openly criticize Washington and its politics. Even though there are divergences regarding specific issues—like in 2003, with the Iraq War, or now, with the inclusion of Chile on the so-called “Red List” of intellectual property—the relationship between Santiago and Washington has grown because it is built on a base of essential political and economic agreement.
This has enabled progress in a number of respects, from cooperation in education to issues concerning the environment, all of which suggests a mature relationship between the two nations that is not restricted by electoral swings of one country or the other. The most recent of these advances is related to the proposal that Chile participate in the visa exemption program. This opens up the possibility that, in the near future, Chilean citizens may enter the United States after only showing their passport that day, a success that must be credited to the two most recent Chilean ambassadors in Washington.
Focused on other, more essential interests for its security, the United States has come to reduce its presence in the region during recent years. This has been accompanied by what President Barack Obama calls an “alliance among equals” with Latin America. This has generated opportunities for the rise of regional leaders who have not always been well guided and against whom Chile is called to play a more active role, either alone or through groups such as the Pacific Alliance. The latter united our country with Peru, Colombia and Mexico and, in the future, Costa Rica, nations with which we share fundamental agreements. This is an interest that Santiago shares with Washington and that they should begin to work on together.
The agenda of the presidential visit to the White House included other topics, such as Chile’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an entity driven by the United States to create the largest free-trade zone on Earth and whose founding agreement could be signed in October in Indonesia. However, voices in the nation have emerged, noting that the Trans-Pacific Partnership does not give enough advantages to Chile, which already has bilateral agreements with many of the eventual members of the bloc. Thus, it does not seem consistent that Chile, a nation that has made openness to foreign trade one of the central features of its foreign policy, marginalizes itself from a group that is attempting to integrate the markets of the Pacific Ocean’s watershed. In any case, because it is evident that the U.S. intention to raise a common front against China is also behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Chilean diplomacy should work to preserve and increase the ties it has with Beijing.
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