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Pluralism Bursts into the Western Hemisphere

* While Russia, Europe and China are wooing Latin America and the Caribbean the Monroe Doctrine now becomes the "Putin, Zapatero and ChineseCorollary"

*Iran's increased presence in the region may lead to bad press, but for now only shows increased investments

* The "Great Game" of political and economic influence is set to be played in the southern hemisphere

No one is arguing that Latin America and the Caribbean have become a priority matter for international diplomacy, save for the U.S., which has witnessed a massive retreat of Washington's vigilance for what it once insisted were its longtime national interests and influence in the hemisphere. Concentrating on its "War on Terror" has resulted in a detour of the U.S. military and diplomatic corps to a series of sorties, like Afghanistan, Iraq, and now, likely enough, to Iran. The 1823 Monroe Doctrine is no longer relevant as nations like Russia, the People's Republic of China as well as the European Union (and its individual members) increase their influence in the Western Hemisphere. This penetration is due to the fact that numerous hemispheric countries are themselves looking to diversify their pool of allies and trading partners by contracting ties to other nations besides the U.S., with Venezuela being at the core of this movement.

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