Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Scenarios for U.S.-Latin American Relations

Peter Hakim has a short article on U.S.-Latin American relations that is reprinted at the Inter-American Dialogue. Increasingly, my own views seem to be diverging from conventional wisdom. The main point of the article is that there are four scenarios for the immediate future of U.S.-Latin American relations, but all of them are based on the premise that there is a dangerous drift in those relations. I think that premise is wrong. So he has:

1. The Drift Continues

2. A Return to the Pan-American Vision

3. Latin American Solidarity

4. A Hostile Relationship

I see the current state of affairs as mostly positive and so none of those four really makes sense to me. I believe that the core issue here is that many people believe a lack of grand strategy should be equated with a "drift." I reject that view. There is a lot, and I mean a lot, going on under the radar, unexciting building and maintenance of relationships between the U.S. government and Latin American governments.

The fact that there is no hemispheric trade bloc, for example, is irrelevant, as is the fact that Latin American countries look globally for trade. We should want them to do that. It makes them better off. We don't need a headline-friendly FTAA to achieve progress on trade and investment.

Hakim argues that "today, there is a lack of anything near a consensus on hemispheric relations." Maybe, but there never has been, and in many ways that's a good thing. When you're in lockstep, bad things can happen (the Cold War probably best approximated that).

What I would like to do sometime is write a policy article making the case for how avoiding grand strategy and grand rhetoric is a sign of successful relations rather than the opposite.


  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP