Between Big Stick Policy and Dollar Diplomacy

Contesting Caribbean Subservience in the Age of Trump

By Tyehimba
December 24, 2017

Donald TrumpThere was an overwhelming vote within the United Nations general assembly against the United States’ unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 128 members of the general assembly voted against motion, 9 nations voted for, while 35 nations including Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Antigua, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Mexico and Canada, abstained. The non-binding vote came days after the United States used its veto power to overturn a UN security council resolution that called for a withdrawal of the recognition by Donald Trump of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley had threatened that the United States would be taking names of all the countries who supported the resolution, while President Trump threatened to cut foreign aid to those countries.

Caribbean leaders including Trinidad and Jamaica chose the cowardly route, caving into the threats and abstained from voting, thereby missing an opportunity to stand with the international community. In a newspaper article, T&T’s Foreign Minister said that this country’s policy has always been “to support steadfast recognition of the State of Israel with secure territorial borders as well as establishment of a Palestinian State.” This is a strange and contradictory statement, as numerous commentators have observed that Trump’s unilateral moves are inflaming tensions and endangering negotiations. Furthermore, the move to establish Jerusalem as the capital of Israel violates the 1967 UN charter that recognises east Jerusalem as occupied Palestine territory.

Minister Moses further said: “We would wish to see the United States play a major role in bringing this about by preserving its position as an influential broker in all negotiations which would have peace and security as its primary objective.” This statement again is a contradiction. Trump’s move to unilaterally establish Jerusalem as Israel’s capital undermines the credibility of the US to be a mediator in the Middle East peace process.

Over the years, there have been numerous resolutions condemning Israel’s actions in the Middle East. The resolutions have criticized Israel for escalating conflicts, violating international law, violating resolutions of the UN security council and the general assembly and illegally occupying Arab and Palestinian land. A resolution on the 6th December, 1988, noted that the special relationship that Israel enjoys with the United States permits it to “pursue its aggressive and expansionist policies” that have “adverse effects on efforts for the establishment of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East and pose a threat to the security of the region.” As recently as December, 2016, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 stated that the expansion of Israeli settlements in east Jerusalem and other parts of Palestinian territories, occupied since 1967 are a flagrant violation of international law. Despite clear human rights violations and violations of a number of UN resolutions, the GENEVA convention and international law, Israel has escaped serious sanctions.

The abstention by many Caribbean leaders is best understood in the context of the long experiences of Manifest Destiny, Big Stick Ideology and Dollar Diplomacy which has rendered the Caribbean as the backyard of the United States. Caribbean leaders have been unwilling to take stances that go against the wishes of dominant countries. Is it too much to expect Caribbean leaders and peoples to be concerned with issues of human rights and justice outside of the Caribbean? Even within the Caribbean, there has been a tradition by various government to ignore issues of right and justice across the Caribbean, including in their own countries.

This subservience has deep implications for ordinary Caribbean people given that their leaders, elected to serve their interests could easily abdicate this responsibility not to anger Uncle Sam. There is a concern that foreign corporations have been getting sweet deals, constructing hotel chains and exploiting raw materials with limited benefits to citizens. Also, for decades the Caribbean has had drugs laws that derived from the internal policies of the United States. Under the guise of the War on Drugs, US military forces in conjunction with local security forces embarked on Operation Weed Eater, searching and burning marijuana plantations across several Caribbean localities, including Trinidad, Jamaica and St Vincent.

In Jamaica, the P.J. Patterson government established the National Commission on Ganja in Jamaica in 1999, led by sociologist Professor Barry Chevannes. This commission recommended the decriminalisation of marijuana in small amounts for personal use, but was not implemented at that point. It is only after numerous US states began easing up their marijuana laws that the law was changed in Jamaica. In most of the Caribbean these anti-drug laws remain, contributing immensely to crime as drug dealers utilize violence and guns to protect their turf. Despite a significant body of evidence that point towards the benefits of legalization, Caribbean leaders appear too timid to change their policies. In the meantime, western corporate entities are already tapping into the medicinal and economic opportunities of marijuana.

In an era where CARICOM governments are making demands for reparations from European countries for the crimes against humanity that occurred during slavery and colonialism, Caribbean leaders cannot afford to ignore the injustices in and outside the region. The timidness and subservience of Caribbean leaders are a poor reflection of our Caribbean societies which have been forged in resistance to domination. More than 50 years after independence, Caribbean nations have not seen fit to be part of any international organisation of global south countries to better navigate the harsh geo-political relations of the modern world. Thus, much of the English-speaking Caribbean remain part of the Association of StolenWealth (Commonwealth) nations, which was created and directed by the former colonial power Britain. This is all part of the damaging subservient legacy that must be changed.

4 Responses to “Between Big Stick Policy and Dollar Diplomacy”


  • Hello its all about black and white with we , the brown ones caught in the middle ….that mainly has to plan a life on the fences. The Goddam world are run by white racists people. Here in T&T where “pull string” is fully enforced despite what tertiary education you acquire or experience you have …it is just plain difficult to survive now. You try to go to the mail around Christmas and its rip off everywhere. The fraud is everywhere. and the police are just lost, just note takers as the laws are completely outdated and inapplicable. Racist Trump is allowed in the USA because he is leading the white man cause to make white people great again. They screwed up the world for ages now. Now they want to get another chance to screw it up to a point where all else are enslaved once again like it once was with house Ns all around keeping check on the rest of us. My great grandmother was raped back in the slave days by a white french man slave owner who was given the freedom to rape her at his pleasure whenever he wished. I hope he is burning hell now. In the late 70s my father had to sign a deal with two senior bankers for a million TT dollars to build ten townhouses in La Estancia, Diego Martin (each costed 100,000 to complete). As part of the deal these two goons got three of the ten townhouses at cost price. last year, one of these townhouses was sold for 2.2 million TT. I wonder what these made …..that corrupt deal was one of many at the time. When people discuss the crime in the country with me (485 murders for 2017), I tell them I expect this would happen to sweet T&T. Worse is expected by me. Your sins will follow you. The white arse dottish Norwegians of Yara are bleeding us since 1992. Their white wealth has allowed them to drain all black countries of the world by white racism world. God doh sleep. It will get worse. These white racist of the world fatten their pockets off our blood, sweat, and tears…BIG TIME. If a sexist, money greedy, lying, selfish USA President or for that matter English, French, German, Russian etc. President were black he would have gone before long as with Gaddaffi …butchered, and dragged dead through the streets for all to see. The more things change the more they remain the same. Remember the book “THE UGLY AMERICAN”! All my professional jobs as an engineer were gotten at 50-60 % rates of what they offered my white counterpart in T&T or elsewhere because I am considered black. In my PNM or UNC country I am “other”. I had been and still discriminated by these governments. I returned as a T&T citizen last year and CUSTOMS still has on the PoS docks my 40000 CAD Honda Civic 18 months now. The Port wants to charge me rent now. Since September 2016 the white racist Minister of Finance has refused to answer letters by me concerning this vehicle of mine. They said I breached a rule where I had to appear before the T&T Appeal court staying outside Canada more than 3 months. This is just one example of the racism I face each day in T&T. So to your well documented letter this is the farcical world we live in over 150 years now. The French Catholics were given free reign to get us to comply with all British requests of them. Up until now nothing has changed.

  • Sorry RAS, but I really had enough of this Arab and Israel thing..
    I think Africans have enough on their plate to ‘abstain’ from these issues..
    We have stories of African being enslaved by Arabs in Libya.. Etiopian Jews crying, “Black Lives Matter” in Israel..
    I think it’s time that we focus on OUR issues..

    https://youtu.be/2S2qtGisT34

  • Africa Awaits the Aftershock After Defying President Trump in the United Nations General Assembly
    The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations let it be known before the vote on the General assembly resolution that Donald Trump will take personally any opposition to his policy on Jerusalem. The President himself has made allusions to countries that take American billions and then do what they like. In effect, the United States is monetizing loyalty to President Trump.

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