Much has been made of the Chinese Communist Party’s inroads into Africa, but less noticed is its increasing penetration of the Western Hemisphere, especially South America. This has proceeded apace for years, including during the Trump administration when regional policy hawks were supposedly on guard. This new report from the Council on Foreign Relations sheds light on the extent of economic and “security” ties–all coming with implied diplomatic sway. And it’s not just with leftist regimes on the continent. Take Chile, whose electorate has seesawed ideologically in recent decades. China advances regardless–now accounting for 34% of the nation’s trade. (To be fair, a part of that is just bargain-priced Chilean wine.) The U.S., on the other hand, shot itself in the pie when Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a non-Chinese deal that would have extended American influence to cross-ocean commerce with Asia. Now Communist China is petitioning to join the trade pact that is replacing TPP…one without U.S. participation. So as we see Xi Jinping’s pernicious presence grow on the world stage, we can find part of the explanation surprisingly close to home.