CHAPTER I Twenty-one Republics among the "Prescriptioneers"

IF YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE BEEN anywhere in Latin America recently, there is no question, on your return, of what your fellow countrymen will ask you:

"How are they feeling down there about the world situation?"

And subsequent questions more or less instantly will develop what Question No. 1 really means.

It means simply this:

In the heaving world-power balances of our years--in Hitler war or Nazi peace, or in shadow of the prospect of new world hegemony from Russia--are the twenty republics and the 120,000,000 people below the Rio Grande for us or against us?

It is a simple question, but it is not to be simply answered. Nothing is simple today about the structure of world-power balances or the ganglia of nationalistic self-interests, ideological affinities and emotional mainsprings which control the flow of international sympathies. Nothing in our complex modern world is less simple than Latin America, if only because it is half in and half out of modernity.

And nothing is less simple about Latin America than its relations with the United States.

Yet upon every crucial phase of our national policies in respect to world problems, the importance of Latin America impinges. In war, we should need open trade in the twenty republics' essential tropical products, pipe lines to the Mexican and Caribbean oil fields, access to the Latin countries' vast ore and chemical

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