KEY QUESTIONS • What is the current state of U.S. relations with Latin America? • What (if anything) is unique or “new” about the present situation? How much have we seen before? • Where is the relationship headed? What might the future hold?
BASIC ASSUMPTIONS • International system based on tacit codes of conduct or “regimes” • Regimes change according to distributions of power • U.S. relations with Latin America thus take place within changing contexts (“regimes”) • Latin America is more important to U.S. than is generally recognized
COURSE DESIGN (1) • Conceptual Approaches • Power: “hard” and “soft” • Asymmetry • Rules of the game (“regimes”) • Grand strategy • Historical Trends • The Imperial Era • The Cold War • Post-Cold War Era: Geoeconomics and the 1990s • 9/11and New Geopolitics
COURSE DESIGN (2) • The Post-Cold War Era • The New Economic Agenda • Drugs and Drug Trafficking • Immigration Policy • 9/11 and U.S.-Latin American Relations • War on Terror and Latin America • Geoeconomic and Geopolitical Games • What Can Latin America Do? • Barack Obama and Latin America • Toward a New U.S. Policy?
IMPLICATIONS • Focus on Latin America as well as U.S. • Coherence of strategic options • Criterion: plausibility, not “success” • Irrelevance of psychological, national-character explanations • Thus: Logical dynamic of relationship
Core Propositions (i) • A key to the U.S.-Latin American relationship has been asymmetry of power. • For the United States, policy toward Latin America is derivative from U.S. concerns about global issues and power relations; for Latin America, the stance toward the United States is a primary determinant of overall foreign policy. • For the United States, the priority of Latin America has varied considerably; for Latin America, the United States has always been a top priority.
Core Propositions (ii) • The United States and Latin America have both pursued “grand strategies.” • These strategies have been forged on the basis of “bounded rationality.” Hence, the study of ideas, attitudes, and culture is essential to an understanding of inter-American relations. • For this same reason, it is especially important for U.S. observers to comprehend the “logic” of Latin American reactions to the United States. • An additional key is awareness of trends and developments at the global level. These affect both the content of U.S. policy and the feasibility of Latin American reactions.
Core Propositions (iii) • Changing global “regimes” have fostered specific codes of conduct or “rules of the game”—geopolitical and/or geoeconomic. Inter-American affairs have unfolded within these changing contexts. • Since 9/11, two distinctive rules of the game have simultaneously been in effect (geopolitical and geoeconomic). Latin America has in general preferred to abide by the latter.
AND THE FUTURE? Readings and discussions about policy options….. (see Talons, chs. 15-16)