However, under the surface, an image of Chinese economic dominance in America's backyard would be proper to give any president nightmares.
The deal with Cuba - signed this week as part of China's trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative - is just the newest in a long line of loans, trade deals, construction projects, and other investments in Latin American and the Caribbean that has seen Beijing flex its expanding economic muscle while America's strength fades.
Since 2005, China's three largest state investment banks have lent some $140billion to countries in Latin America to pay for everything from nuclear power plants to walls, roads to railways, ports, and phone networks.
Billions more - nobody knows how many have been actually given via contracts with commercial banks, private finance initiatives, and other deals which are vague and hard to track. Nevertheless, researchers have found they sometimes dominate deals done on-the-books.
Meanwhile, Chinese trade with Latin America has increased more than 25 times, rising from $12billion in 2000 to $315billion in 2020 as almost half of the countries in the region saw their largest trading partner flip from being the US to China - including three of the four largest economies, in Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia.
All of which provides China with the advantage that it uses to get its way on the international stage, from obtaining votes at the UN to dividing its enemies - most distinctly Taiwan, as Beijing often requires countries to sever diplomatic ties with the island before it returns over the money.
For Thomas Shannon, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2016 to 2018, Beijing's economic strategy is also a way of reflecting and balancing American threats in its own backyard.
Speaking to Time magazine earlier this year, he said: "For China, the United States has its navy in the South China Sea, a military ally in Taiwan and has been harassing [them] about Hong Kong. This way, China can show the United States that we can play in your neighborhood just how you play in ours."
China's route to financial control in the region has followed a pattern that it has repeated in other parts of the world, most prominently Africa:
Make available large amounts of low-interest money and cheap labor to help build critical infrastructure.
Run up a hefty bill.
Use that to exercise control.