Bio: My name is Monika Laird and I am a junior at Texas A&M University. Originally born and raised in California, I chose International Studies as my major and Journalism as my minor. My focus within my major is Politics and Diplomacy, and my language of study is Spanish. I am interested in conflict and development issues, as well as the analysis of geopolitical relations that are constantly changing due to globalization. I hope to one day be an investigative journalist or work on on-site sustainability projects; aiding in the transition of development in a noninvasive way to distinct cultures and communities. So why this blog? I am creating this blog for my Political Blogging class, in which we are supposed to delve deeper into the analysis of political relations and actions of a certain topic. I will be analyzing the actions of the evolving Latin America and their correlation to Russia and China as these countries work outside of their “realms of influence," in my eyes, a big message symbolizing a shift away from U.S. influence in the area.