Social Change in Latin America Today: Its Implications for United States Policy

Social Change in Latin America Today: Its Implications for United States Policy

Social Change in Latin America Today: Its Implications for United States Policy

Social Change in Latin America Today: Its Implications for United States Policy

Excerpt

Most policies in international relations, even for a country like ours whose interests have expanded so fast, are based on ancient ideas. Some of these old ideas are, of course, historical facts of lasting significance. Some of them are encrusted prejudices. We are lucky when our acquaintance with some region of world importance is made up mostly of innocent ignorance because there is in that case a chance to found our policy on fresh and genuine knowledge.

As regards Latin America, the policy of the United States has been largely improvised and there is still time to ignore the past and found a lasting policy on knowledge acquired by the modern methods of social science. The anthropologists can tell us facts about the peoples of Latin America which were not accurately known about any peoples when most of the old notions of diplomacy were formulated and sanctified. This region is bound to play a great role in our affairs. It has been studied by trained observers and we now have the beginnings at least of something like real acquaintance. It would be a great loss to miss this chance, and the purpose of this book is to call the attention of policy-makers and public opinion in the United States to the kind of information they can use if they will.

The scientists who have written the six essays here assembled, and who engaged in long discussions with the members of the study group organized by the Council on . . .

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