Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Obama’s Tango: Restoring U.S. Leadership in Latin America

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on January 13, 2010

by Christopher Sabatini and Jason Marczak, for Foreign Affairs, January 13, 2010.

Since he took office, U.S. President Barack Obama has articulated a policy toward Latin America that is centered on the idea of partnership. As he said last April, there would be “no senior or junior partner to this new engagement.” The United States, in other words, would be but one actor on the regional stage, not its director. But recent crises — from the coup in Honduras to simmering tensions in the Andes — have revealed a fundamental weakness in the Obama administration’s nascent Latin America policy.

Without strong U.S. leadership, partnership in the Americas risks inertia or, even worse, an escalation of tensions on many of the hemisphere’s critical issues, such as transnational crime, democracy, and security. Although some countries — including Brazil and Chile — have been willing to take on diplomatic responsibilities commensurate with their economic status, they remain averse to conflict with neighbors, even to the point of willfully downplaying existing disagreements…(continue reading)

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