Dec 11, 2023 Peeping Tom
Kaieteur News – Ravi Dev has published a shocker – calling for the establishment of a US military base in Guyana. One hardly expects such sentiments from someone so knowledgeable about global relations.
South America, despite its ideological plurality and the decline of left-wing governments and movements, remains fiercely anti-imperialist. The anti-imperialist sentiment that resonates across Latin America and the Caribbean is rooted in a desire for autonomy and self-determination.
Historically, Latin America and the Caribbean have borne witness to the scars left by imperialistic ventures, and the wounds are still fresh. The shadows of colonization loom large, and the region has long prided itself in its struggles for independence
The very idea of a foreign military installation in the heart of Latin America and the Caribbean – there is already a major base in Colombia – not only collides with this anti-imperialist posture but also challenges the principles of sovereignty but also carries the ominous shadow of neocolonialism.
The presence of a foreign military base in Guyana would serve as a reminder of a bygone era when powerful nations sought to exert control over weaker ones. Guyana has been colonised by the Dutch and English. A US military base in Guyana would represent a new form of colonization and a return to the Monroe doctrine.
Allowing foreign military bases is a step backward, not forward, in the collective pursuit of a world where nations are free to shape their destinies without external coercion. Guyana, like any other sovereign nation, has the right to chart its course without external interference. The establishment of a US military base, regardless of its size, infringes upon this sacred right and introduces an unsettling element that compromises our understanding of nationhood.
Guyana must learn from history. A US military base would expose the country to a new form of colonization. Such a proposal would not even have been contemplated during the era of Burnham and Jagan. But since their demise, the quality of national leadership has deteriorated. And it is because of the mediocrity of leadership that we can have such abhorrent suggestion.
Establishing a US military base would endanger the security of Guyana, rather than help it. The United States is hostile to Venezuela and it is not necessarily an ally of Brazil. None of these two countries are likely to look kindly upon any suggestion that a US military base be established on their doorstep. To do so would invite aggression from Venezuela and a rejection from Brazil. Guyana cannot entertain the idea of a US military base on its territory.
Brazil has always – as it has done recently – been a counterfoil to the Venezuelan threat to Guyana’s territory. To bring a US military base would remove the Brazilian factor as part of the defense of Guyana since Brazil would not be enamored by another US military base on their doorstep.
The argument for a US military presence in Guyana often revolves around the idea of security cooperation and mutual defense. While security is undoubtedly a priority for any nation, it is crucial to question the motives behind such proposals.
Is the presence of a military base genuinely for mutual defense? Or does it serve as a strategic move to extend US influence and control? The rest of the Latin America region will see any such base as moving beyond mere security considerations and towards projecting US power in the hemisphere.
Guyana, like any nation, has the right to defend its borders and ensure the safety of its citizens. However, the solution lies in fostering regional cooperation, diplomacy, and dialogue rather than resorting to the establishment of foreign military installations.
Such cooperation already exists with the US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) which has been more concerned with fighting drug trafficking than equipping Guyana to improve its military capabilities. But the cooperation has nonetheless been important in deterring foreign aggression from Venezuela because of the perception in that country about the close relations between SOUTHCOM and Guyana.
Dev wants Guyana to adopt a realist approach to its defense. A realist approach to emphasize military strength as a primary means of ensuring security and the development of a self-help strategy. Guyana’s population is too small for it to have a strong military to match that of Venezuela.
Realism also downplays the importance of regional cooperation and diplomacy both of which have been effectively deployed in the past and presently in responding to the threat from our western neighbour.
Guyana would be much better off doing what it is doing presently: rely on diplomacy and international solidarity to fend off any threat of aggression.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
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