US policy towards Latin America after the cold war - Essay Example

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In 1947 the Truman Doctrine forever changed America's foreign policy from an isolationist one to a more active policy of involvement with other countries in order to curb what they perceived as a Communist threat to the world and hence their own democratic stability…
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US policy towards Latin America after the cold war
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Download file to see previous pages In 1947 the Truman Doctrine forever changed America's foreign policy from an isolationist one to a more active policy of involvement with other countries in order to curb what they perceived as a Communist threat to the world and hence their own democratic stability.The United States fear of communist dominance has a direct bearing on the policy they adopted towards Latin American countries. The Truman policy was directly responsible for establishing the Cold War, and then the focus of the policy was the prevention of the rise of Communism. This has especial relevance in the context of its policy towards Latin America. During the Cold War years, the United States adopted a very aggressive interference in Latin American affairs in its attempt to weed out communism. In the Post Cold War years though, the policy while still against the influence of Communism, has softened considerably and has shifted focus to stabilizing countries democratically and economically - a result of understanding that the spread of Communism arises from poverty and exploitation.The thrust of American policy concerning Latin America can broadly be divided into four areas: democratic stabilization, free trade and the economic opportunities it offers, the immigration problem and the war on drugs.Democratic stabilization is a key focus in America's policy. Originating from the desire to stop the spread of Communism, the U.S.A has, since the Cold war, focused on helping to stabilize democracies, which they feel are better alternatives and which do not threaten the U.S.' own security. A notable example is their support of the Mesa government in Bolivia and Enrique Bolanos' presidency in Nicaragua (Roger Noriega). However, despite the fact that their support for democracy is well intentioned, the failure of the Mesa administration in Bolivia (culminating in his resignation in 2005) highlights the fact that while democracy is a good thing, the U.S. needs to focus also on the effectiveness of the governments they choose to support, and the government's ability to handle the political and economic situation of the country. The U.S. has always publicly stated their support for democratic protestors in Cuba as well, and promised support in the event of a democratic revolution. This sort of heavy handed "Big Brothering" has also caused much resentment as the people of that country feel that the U.S is really disguising its dictatorship in the form of aid. Venezuela's Chavez has vehemently refused to accept any of U.S aid with the inevitable strings attached to it.
Stemming from their support of democracy also came the realization that democracies, no matter how well intentioned, could not effectively stabilize a country unless it was economically stable as well. The majority of Latin American countries are impoverished and this is a vital cause of political instability and also revolution. Thus the second focus of policy on increasing Free trade. Free trade would open up economic opportunities and make available goods and services to economically challenged regions without the stifling taxes and tariffs imposed. LatinAmerica has been important to the U.S. in this regard as it is a major importer of American goods and services. Many raw materials are also sourced from the Latin countries. (http://www.wesfryer.com/uslapolicy.html). However protectionism has been a problem with many Latin countries, as well as with America. The grumbles on outsourcing by U.S. politicians have severely affected free trade agreements with Latin countries, and in the case of Mexico stalled the NAFTA act for a while. However the passing of NAFTA, finally meant the lowering of tariffs on many aspects -vehicles, textiles, computers etc. Investment restrictions also eased. By advocating free trade the economic restrictions lessen and the opportunities for growth open up. There is scope for employment and a better standard of life. The U.S. focus on this aspect has therefore also helped them to address another ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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