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Planting Cabbages in the Caribbean
China "Takes Over" Island of Dominica

Representatives from China and Dominica put pen to paper on a multi-million dollar investment deal last month in what observers are calling a virtual takeover of the Caribbean island. Here’s the story:

Dominica and China have signed a new 300 million dollars cooperation agreement that includes the construction of a hotel, construction of an international airport and building a new hospital. The sum involved is equivalent to a third of the small Caribbean island GDP, which could mean Beijing virtually is “purchasing” the small territory.

Call it the Caribbean arm of China’s “cabbage” strategy. And Dominica is not the first such country to catch China’s eye. While Washington’s attention has been on trouble spots like Syria and Iran, Chinese companies are engaged in huge construction projects and state-to-state investment and diplomacy all across America’s back yard. Jamaica, for example, recently tied up a $300 million loan from China to improve the island’s infrastructure, and in Nicaragua, a Chinese company plans to dig a massive canal to rival the one in Panama. It’s hardly a powerful counter-move to America’s pivot to Asia, but it’s an interesting trend to watch nonetheless.

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  • Andrew Allison

    I understand the “cabbage” strategy, but isn’t it a bit far-fetched to suggest that China can exert much real influence in the USA’s back yard. How, for example, would they supply any Caribbean-based forces in the event of conflict with the USA? Isn’t it more likely that the strategy is to shrink the USA’s zone of influence in the Pacific? More likely that China is simply recycling $US.

  • Corlyss

    I think it is more powerful than the alleged Obama pivot. Why? Because the Chinese efforts are real and material, while the alleged pivot is only vaporware. Nobody can look at what Obama is doing to the military, to the Navy specifically, and think a pivot is anything but words, words, and more words.

    • Andrew Allison


      • Corlyss

        Love it! May I used it?

        • Andrew Allison

          Of course!

  • Anthony

    The trend WRM has been labeled by some as the maneuverings of an Insecure Giant; and yes it’s hardly a counter-move to America’s pivot as demonstrated by these facts on ground: “For its part, the US has shifted substantial military power toward Asia – with high-profile military deployments in Australia and the Philippines and 60% of America’s Naval capabilities now deployed in the region – and has enhanced its defense ties with Japan and South Korea. Moreover, it is helping to spearhead the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an economic and trade agreement that excludes China but includes many of its regional neighbors.” So, China’s Caribbean economic outreach may be indicative of no more than “The Rise of an Insecure Giant”.

  • lukelea

    A $300 million dollar investment = takeover? You can’t be serious. Did Russia “take over” Cuba? How much did they spend? Many orders of magnitude more I would guess.

    • Tom

      Cuba had Fidel Castro, who, despite being ruthless and power-hungry, also was fiercely independent–or as much as he could be.
      I suspect such is not the case on the eastern half of Hispaniola.

      • lukelea

        I wish China would take over Haiti. Nobody else will. Jayman is half Chinese and half African (plus some Irish) and look how smart he turned out!

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