Greater America: A New Partnership for the Americas in the Twenty-First Century

Greater America: A New Partnership for the Americas in the Twenty-First Century

Greater America: A New Partnership for the Americas in the Twenty-First Century

Greater America: A New Partnership for the Americas in the Twenty-First Century


Can democracy develop in Latin America without United States assistance? Why should the United States care? Why is Latin America relevant to U.S. economic growth in global competition? In Greater America: A New Partnership for the Americas in the 21st Century L. Ronald Scheman argues that our future lies not in Europe, Asia, or the Middle East but right here in our own backyard--the Western Hemisphere.

He shows how the political and cultural legacy of colonization, immigration, assimilation and pluralism binds North, Central and South America, and how the trends in market growth and resources make the Americas a rich prize in global trade. Despite the tendency of many northerners to underestimate our ties, we are closer to our southern cousins than to any other societies. That relationship will be increasingly stronger given the growing and irrepressible influence of Latino and Caribbean populations in the U.S. For Latin America, the linkage to the U.S. is essential for attracting investment and creating the jobs necessary to overcome its oppressive heritage of poverty and to provide opportunity for a young population that will increasingly expect a better standard of living. Most important, Greater America demonstrates how closer ties with Latin America will help build a stronger U.S. economy while reducing illegal immigration and drug trafficking. He argues that only a NATO-like coalition in the Americas will defeat the drug traffickers, and that a major program to build infrastructure is essential to make trade agreements work.

This book celebrates the contribution of the Americas as one of the more important factors in the spread of human freedom in the last half millennium. It makes the case for the unlimited potential of the Americas and shows how it can be unleashed through greater political and economic integration.


The idea for this book first came to me a few years ago after speaking at a college in Nebraska. One of the students asked me to explain why Latin America was important to the United States. It was one of those innocent questions often asked by good students that go right to the heart of the issue, and it forced me to go back to basics.

I had long believed that the trends in markets and economics in Latin America and the Caribbean held great promise for the United States, that the potential synergy of markets, technology, and resources could be competitive in the global economy. I was convinced that the indirect implications of poverty in Latin America were like a time bomb for stability and would plague the region as well as U.S. domestic politics until prosperity began to permeate the region. I also knew that the growth of the U.S. Hispanic population, which we often forget populated North America long before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, could have a great influence on the culture and politics of the United States.

The most compelling reason for me to write this book, however, rested in the desire of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean for democracy. Democracy is under siege in this world, as the events of September 11, 2001, vividly brought home to us. Most developing countries either ignore it or practice democracy cynically as part of a power game. But its consolidation and expansion are important to the United States, and Latin America and the Caribbean are the next major areas of the developing world that have the ability to embrace real democracy.

Thus, this book is dedicated to several closely related purposes. the first is to describe why Latin America and the Caribbean are important to the United States and vice versa; the second is to call for a thoughtful reformulation of U.S. foreign policy priorities as they relate to the Americas; and the third is to look to the future for a concept of a potentially great community of nations, including Canada, that I call Greater America.

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