Monday, October 28, 2013

Chapter 1 Revisions

Revising the U.S. and Latin American Relations textbook requires me to think a lot about new examples. Right off the bat in Chapter 1, I need a new example to highlight the different theories in the book. The one I have is Venezuela's 2006 bid to get one of the rotating seats on the UN Security Council. It worked well to show U.S. power as well as perceptions of the importance of international institutions. But it's now dated.

So I think I'm going with the story on the NSA spying. Brazil has announced plans to draft a UN resolution on electronic privacy. So we have a clear example of the U.S. government using its power in contravention of international law, thus ignoring international institutions in the name of security, and the response by weaker states to leverage whatever influence they can through those same institutions. Plus, Brazil is talking about creating optical networks that exclude the United States in order to reduce dependency. In a sense, that could also be understood in realist terms since it reflects balancing of weaker states against a stronger (if, indeed, it ever happens).

The point is not to determine whether any of these are especially correct or not, but rather to show how theories help explain certain kinds of behavior between states.


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