Arms and Politics in Latin America

Arms and Politics in Latin America

Arms and Politics in Latin America

Arms and Politics in Latin America

Excerpt

The importance of Latin America to the United States is obvious, whether the standpoint be political, economic or military. On the political side, if we consider only the role of the twenty republics in international organizations, it is sufficient to note that they control one-fourth of the total vote in the General Assembly of the United Nations, and all save one vote -- that of the United States -- in the Organization of American States. Understandably, when issues between the Soviet bloc and the free world or vital matters of more strictly hemispheric concern are at stake, especially if they come before international bodies, it is vitally important for the United States to have support from Latin America. The main political objective of United States policy, accordingly, has been to keep the Latin American governments and peoples firmly associated with the United States and the Western world, and to counteract any tendency on their part to drift toward the neutralist or Communist camps.

The objective has been clear enough to both Democratic and Republican administrations in Washington since World War II. Yet the impression that Latin America has been neglected, that it has become a low-priority area in the eyes of our policy-makers, has been widespread in Latin America and exists also in this country. Perhaps this was unavoidable. In the troublous contemporary world the area of great decisions is the Eastern Hemisphere. As a consequence the energies of our leading statesmen, diplomats, and soldiers have been primarily absorbed in dealing, with the problems posed there by the threat of communism and the demands of the cold war, and by the po-

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