• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Sandbagged at the Summit of the Americas

    On April 13–15, President Obama participated in what will likely be the last Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. It showed that contemporary gatherings such as this latest Summit—absent strong U.S. leadership and lacking a genuinely constructive agenda—can easily be derailed. The showy gathering of heads of state was designed, starting in 1994, to bring the Americas together. Today, in the glare of the cameras, the summit has become a dysfunctional reality show, where increasingly independent-minded regional leaders freely speak their minds. The summit is a bruising, ego-heavy affair with a growing tendency to focus on what divides us rather than what unites us.

    For example, the U.S. and Canada clearly stressed that as long as Cuba remains a communist dictatorship, it has no place at the table with democratic nations. Our Latin American neighbors want the summit to resemble the United Nations, with a welcome mat extended to tyrants and where America-bashing is a frequent occurrence. They abandoned the democratic litmus test to demand that Cuba to be seated at the next summit, set for Panama in 2015.

    Latin American leaders pressed for a discussion of the drug issue and possible legal solutions and “market alternatives” to break the chains of violence and corruption associated with the northward movement of product to the American market. When it comes to drug consumption, the U.S. remains the 800 lb. gorilla. Latin Americans often feel trampled by the criminal mayhem that drives the drug business. They knew that in President Obama, they were meeting with an American President who has not played an active leadership role in addressing consumption issues at home, yet one who is unwilling to tackle historic U.S. prohibitions or discuss decriminalization or legalization. President Obama did agree to continue the discussion on drug policy within the Organization of American States (OAS) and promised a modest increase in anti-drug assistance toCentral America.

    While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton partied at Café Havana, President Obama also had to deal with the spreading fallout from the alleged misconduct of several Secret Service agents, who were relieved of duty for apparently consorting with the local ladies of the night in the Colombian port.

    What modest success there was came with the news that the U.S and Colombia are moving forward on implementing a Free Trade Agreement and have set May 15 as the target date. This is overdue good news for American farmers and manufacturers who have lost market share in growingColombia.

    Persistent differences coupled with the weak hand played by President Obama at the Cartagena Summit should lead U.S. policymakers to announce a recess or overhaul in the costly summit process. If theU.S. cannot make the OAS work in its interests, then theSummit of theAmericas has become a bridge too far.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Sandbagged at the Summit of the Americas

    1. Eric Van Pamel says:

      The bible states that a sign of a degenerative nation is one where women and children rule. We have Obama, Nancy, Stabencow, and Reed. Looks like we are there:(

    2. anon says:

      "When it comes to drug consumption, the U.S. remains the 800 lb. gorilla."

      According to who? I'm sick and tired of hearing this. I've seen no proof that America is disproportionally responsible for drug "consumption" and in fact America's use of drugs like cocaine and heroin has deceased for many years. Also, I'm supposed to believe that Colombians, Mexicans and Canadians are completely free from drug abuse and/or abuse illegal drugs much less then us? It's like when they tried to blame us for all the guns in Mexico, as if their weren't any Mexican guns being sent to the U.S. illegally and being used in crimes over here at all!

      The problem of illicit drugs trades and violence is Latin America's massively corrupt police and governments as well as their general incompetence in dealing with it. The rest of the world only points the finger at us so they can divert the blame and not have to deal with their own stupidity and clean up their own messes. Well, I'm sick of it. Quit trying to get America to do your dirty work. And it doesn't help that Heritage has a guy spouting the same rhetoric.

      And what's with the bizarre suggestion that Obama should "discuss" drug decriminalization and legalization and address historic "prohibitions?" That's like saying Obama should discuss theft decriminalization and legalization and address historic prohibitions against thievery in an attempt to combat theft related crimes! Is Bill Maher or Soros writing at Heritage under the pen name of Ray Walser? This Ray Walser can't be the same guy who wrote this:

      Quote: "The challenge for the Obama Administration is to combat drug cartels and redouble the government’s efforts to contain the cross-border movement of drugs and guns. It must also resist the siren calls for decriminalization of marijuana and other dangerous drugs."

      Drugs and the poisonous atmosphere they create are responsible for the crime and violence, not any prohibitions or restriction against them. Mr. Walser needs to read Heritage's own research:

      If all drugs were legalized, the cartels would simply shift their attention somewhere else to fulfill their criminal ambitions and/or would continue their tactics via a black market.

      • Ray Walser ray walser says:

        Good comments. I meant that for the Latins – our consumption is the gorilla. But Brazil is the enormous orangutan. This blog was meant to convey the impression that the Obama Administration has been weak on articulating the need for Americans to reduce consumption or to go after the harm drugs do at home and abroad.

    3. Guest says:

      Oh Yeah…There was that little gaffe in which POTUS pissed off both the U.K. AND Argentina by referring to the Falkland Islands as the "Maldives"!

    4. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Call me a cynic, but why do I suspect that the SS incident was a setup to cast doubt on the integrity of yet another once-highly regarded American institution as has been done to the military. I have no proof, and I suppose none will come forward since Congress can barely get DOJ off high center with the Operation Fast & Furious scandal. Obama and the statists desire cuts in the military and other security forces, and the public will more likely support it when it is scandal-ridden.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.