The philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset once said, “We do not know what is happening to us, and that is precisely the thing that is happening to us.”

This quote is apt for the current state of the Americas, where technological transformation, massive migration, rampant crime, and sluggish economies are remaking politics and weakening democratic guardrails.

Authoritarian leaders from both within and outside the region, including China, are aggressively promoting alternative agendas that are contrary to open-market democratic practices.

This is a moment for the United States to help shape the future of the hemisphere through economic engagement and trade. By boosting post-pandemic economic and social recovery, the United States can also promote democratic values and help to build a more prosperous and stable region.

However, this will not happen without Washington’s lead. The United States has a long history of engagement in the Americas, and its leadership is essential to ensuring that the region remains committed to democratic values and open markets.

There are many challenges facing the Americas today. Some countries, such as Haiti and Venezuela, are on the brink of collapse. Others, such as Argentina and El Salvador, are struggling with economic instability and political unrest. Still others, such as Brazil and Mexico, are seeing a rise in authoritarian leadership.

Despite these challenges, there is still a strong desire for closer economic relations with the United States. Many countries in the region are seeking investment and trade opportunities, and they recognize that economic growth is essential to addressing their problems.

The United States can do well by doing good by helping to promote economic growth and development in the Americas. By expanding trade and investment, the United States can create jobs, boost economic prosperity, and help to strengthen democratic institutions.

The Biden administration has taken some steps to promote economic engagement in the Americas, such as announcing the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (APEP). However, more needs to be done to make this initiative a reality.

The United States should work with its allies in the region to develop a comprehensive plan for economic growth and development. This plan should include measures to expand trade and investment, promote good governance, and address climate change.

The United States also needs to be willing to lead by example. This means opening its own markets to goods and services from the Americas and investing in the region’s infrastructure and development.

The future of the Americas is at a crossroads. The United States can either choose to lead the region towards a more prosperous and democratic future, or it can stand by and watch as authoritarian leaders and other forces of instability take control. The choice is clear.

Source: Eric Farnsworth