Within two weeks President Trump has met two leaders of the western world.
First came Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, President of Peru, who described the U.S. attitude towards Latin America as that of any human being with his or her pet: warm and close, but inconsequential. He also stressed the fact that this vision does not include Venezuela which seems to be the piranha in the dolphin pond.
This leads us to believe that Latin America has a great opportunity to reinvent itself over the next four years.
The time has come for the region to shed useless bureaucratic entities, address inequality head on and begin investing in two crucial areas for its democratic future. These being vocational training and rule of law.
The first is the access door to the era of information as software writers and program developers do not need to know who Napoleon Bonaparte was but they rather need to master circuitry and math. And to have meaningful development, countries need armies of software writers and program developers in lieu of lawyers, economists and social scientists. Those engineers are bred at vocational schools which flourish in countries like Germany.
The second is the only way to avoid the boom and bust cycles that wiped-out progress forcing nations to rebuild their economies and societies almost every century. Kuczynski himself is doing that in Peru through a very straight-forward investment program that prizes transparency and individual effort. His management of the Odebrecht revelations regarding Peruvian officials and dignitaries bribed by the now legendary Brazilian construction company have been aimed at placing every one under the law on equal footing.
Indeed, not only has Peru opened investigations on all public servants signaled as recipients of bribes but also taken steps to guarantee that a former president is guaranteed due process and brought to justice.
Once Peruvians realized that the government stands ready to administer justice to all on equal footing, they will begin to uphold the law in their hearts and make it alive through their conduct.
Meanwhile, Washington will continue to unfold its pet policy toward Latin America — except for Venezuela, where a sack of surprises seems to be in the making.
Flashing back to Washington, we just witnessed with the pungency of a reality show the different world visions upheld by the European leadership and President Trump.
Angela Merkel brought to Washington a fresh and crisp look at the job creation contributions by German firms to the U.S. economy. Should German companies withdraw from the U.S., 500,000 people could lose their jobs. This, as she pointed out, carries far more economic significance than a trade deficit, given that trade deficits are financed with capital inflows.
And the U.S. is an uber net capital importer. Thus, Ms Merkel reasoned: we better find a modicum of understanding. Her imposing demeanor and her sharp remarks did not leave President Trump much to fuss around with.
In the end, while the differences were visible, Merkel single-handedly managed to bring President Trump closer to understanding the economics of trade. Perhaps she should come to our country more often.