This Monday, May 23, just a few days before Colombia’s presidential elections, US President Joe Biden signed a memorandum officially declaring Colombia a “major non-NATO ally” (MNNA) of the United States. What are the implications?
This category grants some advantages in the defense sector and is a status reserved for only 18 countries. “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States, including Section 17 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, I hereby declare Colombia a Non-NATO Major Ally of the United States for the purposes of this Act and the Arms Export Control Act,” Biden said in the memo.
Biden first announced his intention to declare MNNA status for Colombia in March, then he notified Congress of his intentions, which had a period of 30 days to make comments. Finally, the formal declaration was issued to confirm the status.
Although this category cements Colombia’s position as a strong US ally, it does not commit the United States to defending Colombia in the event of external aggression, a no-go scenario while Colombia is a main actor in destabilizing other Latin American and Caribbean countries.
This measure grants a series of military and financial advantages that other countries do not have. Among them, the inclusion in research and development programs with the US Department of Defense, and licenses to use credits from the US financial system for the purchase or rental of US war equipment.
Qatar was designated as an MNNA earlier in 2022, while Afghanistan’s status was revoked in late 2021. Brazil received the status in 2019, under disgraced US President Trump. In addition, 15 other countries are major non-NATO allies of the US, including Australia, Egypt, the Israeli entity, Japan, South Korea, Jordan, New Zealand, Argentina, Bahrain, Philippines, Thailand, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, and Tunisia. In addition, the US recognizes Taiwan as an MNNA, although only 13 of 193 UN member states have official diplomatic relations with the island, and the US itself stopped recognizing Taiwan as a country in 1979.
Through this process, Colombia becomes NATO’s gateway to South America, a scenario promoted by recent Colombian presidents, to the point where the nation becomes the regional lapdog of the US.
Featured image: Colombia becomes NATO’s gateway to South America. Photo: Colombian President office
(Misión Verdad) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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