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6 - Goods Substitution in the USA’s Back Yard: Colombia’s Diversification Strategies under Conditions of Hierarchy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2021

Morten Skumsrud Andersen
Affiliation:
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Alexander Cooley
Affiliation:
Barnard College, Columbia University
Daniel H. Nexon
Affiliation:
Georgetown University, Washington DC
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Summary

In Latin America, goods substitution dynamics are evident in states that have recently opposed US hegemony, such as Venezuela and Ecuador. However, the case of Colombia – one of the USA’s closest allies in the region – shows how asset substitution dynamics come to operate under conditions of hierarchy. Colombia does not seek to challenge the USA directly. Rather, Colombia is consistently seeking to diversify its ties with the USA, thereby increasing its leverage and autonomy and hedging its bets from within a hierarchical arrangement. Colombia is a “least likely” case for the theory of goods substitution, and there is limited evidence of actual Chinese goods substitution in Colombia. Yet, China’s increasingly central role in a global goods ecology is a new context in which Colombian hedging strategies are used to threaten with goods substitution. This chapter shows that the mere threat of exiting or hedging strategies has the potential to effect policy change, particularly when combined with domestic political context – a diversification of ties interacts with domestic and international politics, with one area having possible unintended effects on the other.

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Undermining American Hegemony
Goods Substitution in World Politics
, pp. 125 - 150
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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