Globe and Hemisphere: Latin America's Place in the Postwar Foreign Relations of the United States

By J. Fred Rippy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
THE WESTERN-HEMISPHERE CONCEPT: PERMANENT OR FLEETING?

NATIONAL security and prosperity are two fundamental objectives of the foreign relations of the United States, and the Western Hemisphere was long assumed to be of greatest importance in the attainment of both. But this assumption is now said to be outmoded. The champions of the new One-World idea have buffeted and berated this Western-Hemisphere concept until it may never recover its lost prestige. Since the late 1930's they have vigorously attacked it with three main arguments: (1) the "shrinkage of the earth" by inventions in transportation and weapons of war and resulting magnification of the external threat to Hemispheric security; (2) inadequacy of the Hemisphere as a self-sufficient economic unit; (3) geopolitical pronouncements that reduce the Hemisphere's two continents to a mere island surrounded by the immense land masses of Eurasia and Africa -- a mere island with an area of only sixteen million square miles!

The Western-Hemisphere concept, with all that it implies, may not survive. It may not deserve to survive without prudent modification. It could be consigned to the rubbish-heap of discarded presiding ideas if public officials of the United States and those who elect them aspire -- or continue to aspire -- to lead the entire world into an era of global peace and plenty and expend more energy and larger resources in shaping the destiny of the peoples of the Old World than in improving the fortunes of the New.

Only the future can reveal whether this aspiration exceeds

-1-

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