Latin America in World Politics, an Outline Survey

Latin America in World Politics, an Outline Survey

Latin America in World Politics, an Outline Survey

Latin America in World Politics, an Outline Survey

Excerpt

For some time students of Latin-American diplomacy have felt the need for a general survey of the relations of the southern nations of the Western Hemisphere with the leading Powers of the world. More recently this need has been emphasized in the United States by growing suspicions and antipathies which have developed along with our rapidly increasing economic and strategic interests in Latin America.

One of the most important problems confronting the United States at present is the proper ordering of its intercourse with its southern neighbors. A flood of literature bears witness to the fact that we are rapidly coming to a realization of the situation, but much that hitherto has been published is somewhat provincial, and inadequately grounded in the past relations of Hispanic America with all the great nations. In fact, researches in the field have not yet reached the point where an exhaustive work may be written on the subject of Latin-American diplomacy in its broader sense. It is now possible, however, to trace the general outlines of the story, to reveal something of the international rivalries and the cross- currents of sentiment, and to furnish the historical setting for a fairly adequate understanding of the contemporary complex situation.

For four hundred years Latin America has been a not unimportant arena for the contests of world politics. It has possessed many elements of attraction for the European nations and Japan--gold, silver, diamonds, tin, copper, nitrates, iron, petroleum, rubber, superb timbers, tropical luxuries, fertile soils, succulent grasses for stock, as well as backward natives to Christianize, civilize, and exploit. At certain periods--from 1580 to 1763, from 1808 to 1867, and from 1896 to the present--the region has received much consideration and not infrequently has become almost a storm-center. During most of the time its rôle has been mainly passive, but more recently its governments and diplomats have revealed a tendency toward active participation in world affairs.

The theme, therefore, is one of large proportions, and I offer this outline survey not without some anxiety. I have emphasized the modern period and the phases which have seemed to me most . . .

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