U.S. studies of the international relations of Latin American states and inter-American foreign policy have traditionally been viewed (stuck even) through the prism of U.S. hegemony, in large part for good reason. Since the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, the United States has treated the hemisphere as its special prerogative. As the overwhelming economic, military and political power, the Colossus to the North became the central factor shaping how Latin America and Caribbean states identified and asserted their national interests in foreign policy.
That scholarly approach to the international rela tions of Latin America and the Caribbean—while largely justifiable—precluded the development of more granular, comparative U.S. scholarship on the foreign policymaking processes and institutions in the region. Fortunately, as the shadow of U.S. power has waned in the hemisphere, the field has enjoyed somewhat of a boom. From single country case studies (such as Aspirational Power by Mares and Trinkunas on Brazil) to edited volumes on regional multilateralism (such as Pia Riggirozzi and Diana Tussie’s The Rise of Post-Hegemonic Regionalism: The Case of Latin America) to analyses of remerging extra-hemispheric powers’ role in the region (such as Kevin Gallagher’s The Dragon in the Room: China and the Future of Latin American Industrialization and R. Evan Ellis’s China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores), academics, think-tankers and policy analysts are turning their attention to the evolving dynamic of international and global relations in the hemisphere.
To this much-welcome flurry of research and publication, former director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Joseph Tulchin, has added his historical perspective. His book, Latin America in International Politics: Challenging US Hegemony, is an erudite, nuanced and sweeping view of the evolution of Latin American foreign policies in the context of U.S. power from independence to the present.
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