Digital Militarization Of Latin America

How can the United States quickly and without unnecessary publicity drag the entire LAC region into the growing U.S.–China confrontation, which already has the potential to evolve in a global military conflict? It is tritely simple – by re-subordinating both Americas’ information infrastructure to its own geopolitical interests to use it in order to build an effective cyber bridgehead against Beijing.

Do you think this is impossible? However, such a scenario is already running in full swing. There was a relatively unnoticed news on the Latin American media outlets, saying that Google had begun laying the world’s trailblazing 15,000-km subsea Internet cable connecting South America to Australia. At first glance, this is an ambitious project designed to promote economic growth in the LAC countries and expand their financial ties with Asia–Pacific. And this is what Google’s press service convince us; however, the project clearly has a military component if we compare a few fundamental facts.

First, Google has long been quite openly engaged in outsourcing for the U.S. Department of Defense and some members of the U.S. intelligence community, including the National Security Agency (NSA). For example, last year, Google management, together with the heads of other IT giants, took part in the first FVEY conference in Silicon Valley, which aimed precisely to bond the business community, mainly, in IT & communications, and the FVEY member agencies together in order to protect Western-centric alliances against potential enemies.

In this case, this means expanding the U.S. NSA strategy to control the “digital hubs” of international telecommunications highways to multinational companies. In practice, this is done in the following way: in the places where fiber optic cables exit aboveground, they set splitters to divide the beams transmitting data into streams; one of them is sent to the end user, while the other comes to big data centers under control of the NSA or its partners for further decryption and use by the U.S. Government.

The spread of such practices to Latin America jeopardizes personal data of Internet users, which can be explained by local authorities referring to the need to tighten the security system against the backdrop of rampant crime. In this way, the United States also get the opportunity to track confidential information about legal entities, financial and banking institutions, and, ultimately, governments on a global scale. In this case, there is no need to even talk about sovereignty or independence in communications or finance.

ai-latin-americaHowever, the scenario in which the LAC countries or other U.S. partners will have to report to the Big Brother for building up trade and financial relations, for example, with China, Russia or Iran, is not as critical as the real chance of becoming a battlefield in a potential superpower conflict. After all, the primary goal of the anti-Chinese alliance, which is now being put together by AUKUS in Asia–Pacific, is to provide a secure and high-speed communication channel between all elements of the allies’ military infrastructure. That is why the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP) within the U.S. Department of State has already joined the Humboldt project, funding potential branch lines to island countries in the Pacific Ocean, where the United States is now doing a large-scale deployment of the military containment belt against China. That is, the “purely” commercial project for laying a subsea cable will itself become a key element of the communications infrastructure between the U.S. military facilities in APAC.

It is also noteworthy that the start of the project in Latin America coincides with the intensification of other U.S .allies’ efforts in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East within the framework of AUKUS (the UK and Australia) to technically modernize their own military bases, primarily those with cyber intelligence hubs, thus, creating a global network of military facilities to be used for sabotage against China and coordinated through high-speed Internet cables. And now Chile in Latin America is becoming a center of this infrastructure.

And this is a natural choice, because it is there that Google has been clearing the ICT landscape from the dominance of Chinese IT giants over the past decade. Not so long ago, it was under pressure from the U.S. that official Santiago refused Huawei the construction of a similar cable project that was supposed to connect the LAC with Asia. And it was in Chile that Google launched data centers accumulating digital traffic from most LAC countries, high-speed cables having been pulled here from California.

In the military sphere, there are even more advantages for the United States as there is well-established direct interaction with the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command and an army with senior and middle command personnel who have long been loyal to Washington. Not to mention that this is not the first time that the military will act independently from the central government in the event of a threat to the national interests of the Northern neighbor.

And it is inconceivable that Chile, which declares the need to maintain peace in the region and a fairer system of international interaction from all international venues, is shifting from a de-ideologized approach to global trade to grow into a springboard of the U.S. strategy to curb China.

And in this respect, the primary question is no longer whether the economy of the Latin American country will survive if China, as Chile’s largest investor and trading partner, chooses to respond to such an unfriendly step. Another risk may be decisive. It is about whether the government of Gabriel Boric is setting a target over the heads of its citizens and other Latin American states in the case the U.S.-China confrontation enters a hot phase. After all, judging from what happened in the past, the first preventive strikes always fall on military communication nodes.

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