Rethinking Latin America: A New Approach in US Foreign Policy

By Frechette, Myles | Harvard International Review, Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

Rethinking Latin America: A New Approach in US Foreign Policy


Frechette, Myles, Harvard International Review


Even though the Cold War ended two decades ago, its outdated strategies continue to shape US foreign policy. Nowhere is this more evident than in the foreign relations of the United States with Latin American countries. Because US interests in the region have changed, the United States must apply new strategies to achieve its new goals. Instead of militaristic intervention and paternalism, the United States should adopt an increasingly hands-off approach as Latin American countries assert themselves more strongly in the world arena. The exception to this strategy is trade, since increasing trade in the Americas is the best way to alleviate poverty and many other problems that plague the region. Not only are paternalistic policies expensive and ineffective, but they also strengthen anti-US sentiments within the region, creating more problems than solutions. The United States should not worry that its influence is declining but instead adjust to the reality that Latin American countries deserve respect in managing their internal affairs as the United States helps them further integrate into the world community and the global economy.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

An Evolution of Interests

The end of the Cold War is significant not just because communism fell in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The post-Cold War order also brought about a change of US strategic interests in Latin America. For more than four decades between the end of World War II and the demise of the Soviet Union, US policy in the region was part of a grander Cold War strategy. Policies and actions were examined and carried out in the light of the greater goal of containing and eventually defeating communism. To deal with the specter of communism, the United States often depended on the use of covert force. The best-known examples of successful US intervention in Latin America occurred in 1954, when the United States overthrew President Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala, and in 1973, when the United States encouraged the Chilean military to oust Salvador Allende, the democratically elected president of Chile. In both cases, the reason was that those leaders were too close to communism for US comfort.

But with the fall of the Soviet Union, fear of communist influence in Latin America should no longer drive US policy. US goals in the region have shifted from resisting communism to promoting growth, stability, and democracy. As a result, it is not only reasonable but also necessary that the United States change its policy from interventionism and paternalism to cooperation. The United States should work with Latin American countries as equal partners in promoting the common welfare of the Western Hemisphere.

Military Relations and US Paternalism

US military policy toward Latin America still contains remnants of the Cold War era. As a result, the relationship between the United States and Latin America should be reformed to better suit the needs of the 21st century. The United States has and should continue to decrease its military presence in Latin America.

The United States developed strong military ties in the region following World War II. Most weapons systems were either purchased from the United States or obtained from excess US stocks. The United States provided the model for training and doctrine and assumed a tutelary role which included deciding which weapons systems were transferred in order to maintain regional stability.

Nowadays, when a Latin American country wants to modernize its weapons systems, Western European countries and former members of the Soviet Union regularly compete with the United States as suppliers. The sophistication, complexity, and cost of US weapons systems also exceed the needs and resources of most Latin American nations. The United States, for example, no longer produces non-nuclear submarines, opening opportunities for several western European countries that do. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Rethinking Latin America: A New Approach in US Foreign Policy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.