Friday, May 23, 2008

U.S.-Latin America Relations - A New Direction for a New Reality

U.S.-Latin America Relations - A New Direction for a New Reality

This is the title of a report published in May 2008 by the Council on Foreign Relations. The task force which brought out the report includes among others Charlene Barshefsky former USTR.

Here are some highlights of the report:

-For over 150 years, the Monroe Doctrine provided the guiding principles for U.S. policy toward Latin America, asserting U.S. primacy in the foreign affairs of the region. Over the past two decades, those principles have become increasingly obsolete. Washington’s basic policy framework, however, has not changed sufficiently to reflect the new reality. U.S. policy can no longer be based on the assumption that the United States is the most important outside actor in Latin America. If there was an era of U.S. hegemony in Latin America, it is over.

-the era of the United States as the dominant influence in Latin America is over. Countries in the region have not only grown stronger but have expanded relations with others, including China and India.

-Latin America hasbenefited greatly in recent years from democratic opening, stable economic policies, and increasing growth. Many countries are taking advantage of these developments to
consolidate democratic institutions, broaden economic opportunities, and better serve their citizens.

-The region has undergone a historic transformation politically, with military authoritarian rule giving way to vibrant, if imperfect, democracy in almost every nation. Economically, Latin America is now one of the more open market regions in the world and a crucial global provider of energy, minerals, and food.

-U.S. policymakers must change the way they think about the region. Latin America is not Washington’s to lose; nor is it Washington’s to save. Latin America’s fate is largely in Latin America’s hands.

-Latin American states,especially the larger ones, do not consider their interests to be primarily determined by diplomatic, trade, or security ties with the United States.

-Latin America already supplies more oil to the United States than does the Middle East, and the
region has great potential to be a major provider of alternative fuel sources, increasing U.S. and regional energy security through diversification.

These highlights are reproductions from the report itself....

Full report in uncorrected version

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