Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: The Influence of Small States on Superpowers: Jamaica and U.S. Foreign Policy

By Feinberg, Richard | Foreign Affairs, March/April 2016 | Go to article overview

Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: The Influence of Small States on Superpowers: Jamaica and U.S. Foreign Policy


Feinberg, Richard, Foreign Affairs


The Influence of Small States on Superpowers: Jamaica and U.S. Foreign Policy BY RICHARD L. BERNAL. Lexington Books, 2015, 456 pp.

"You can get it if you really want," the Jamaican reggae singer Jimmy Cliffexhorted listeners in his 1970 song by that title. To judge from Bernal's memoir, Jamaicans have taken that message to heart. Bernal, a former Jamaican ambassador to the United States, makes the case that despite being a small, geopolitically irrelevant island, Jamaica has often had its way with its much more powerful neighbor. He recounts how during his tenure in the 1990s, on issues such as trade preferences, foreign aid, debt relief, and counternarcotics, Jamaica succeeded in moving Washington closer to Jamaican preferences by building a constituency of Jamaican American immigrants and influential Americans from Jamaican families, such as Colin Powell and Harry Belafonte. …

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