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Volume 51 / Social Sciences


POPE ATKINS, Professor of Political Science, United States Naval Academy

NO MOMENTOUS THEORETICAL, methodological, or academic institutional developments emerged regarding research and writing on the general international relations of Latin America during the period surveyed. The volume of work seems to have stabilized, after declining over the past few years relative to certain individual states and subregions (Mexico and Brazil, Central America and the rest of the Circum-Caribbean, and the Southern Cone). Close attention to an array of topics continued, with numerous important results. Notable works appeared on US policies toward the region, international organizations, the expansion of European interests and activities, and the changing nature of Soviet orientations and actions. In addition, as has traditionally been the case in the study of Latin American international relations, the choice of topics to be studied has followed the rise and fall of current issues: policy analyses were concerned especially and increasingly with narcotraffic, democratization and redemocratization, and human rights. As in HLAS 49 and in order to avoid repetition several international political economic aspects (including the debt issue) are covered in the ECONOMICS: GENERAL chapter (see p. 211-238).

Heraldo Muñoz's excellent article (item bi 91001123) is an important assessment of the state of Latin American international relations research. The second edition of Pope Atkins' broad-ranging (Latin America in the international political system (item bi 89004027) attempts to draw together Latin American international relations in overtly systemic terms, viewing the Latin American region as a separate international subsystem with its own characteristics, within which policy analyses of State and nonstate actors are integrated and international political economy addressed as a crucial consideration.

With regard to general US policies in the region, two works should be singled out. A book edited by John Martz (item bi 89003572) is an authoritative analysis of US policies and policy-making from 1961-86, with excellent contributions by 10 experts. Lars Schoultz's National security and United States policy toward Latin America (item bi 88002007) is a companion-piece to his admirable earlier work, Human rights and United States policy toward Latin America (1981). Schoultz focuses on US policymakers' core concerns with the causes of Latin American instability and the consequences for US security interests.

Michael Kryzanek's book (item bi 88001251) is a good introduction to US-Latin American relations. Designed as an undergraduate textbook, it devotes attention to the evolution and current dilemmas of US-Latin American relations and to US policy formulation. Howard Wiarda (items bi 88002015 and bi 90006732) sees numerous faulty assumptions on which the Reagan Administration's Latin American policies were founded; yet, he says, over time these policies became more nuanced and mature. Sharp criticisms of President Reagan's Latin American orientations continue to be set forth: Heraldo Muñoz (item bi 91001124) agrees with the first half of Wiarda's equation; Janet Brown and Andrew Maguire (item bi 88000256) and Walter LaFeber (item bi 88000255) decry US developmental policies; Tom Farer (item bi 91001116) addresses human rights, international law, and intervention; and Viron Vaky (item bi 91001148) chides policymakers for overblown conceptions of US power in Latin America.

Some good international histories treating aspects of US policy also appeared. These are particularly welcome in the present era of diminished interest in the subdiscipline on the part of US historians. Mark Gilderhus (item bi 89003196) presents a stimulating, well-documented account of President Woodrow Wilson's conception of Pan Americanism. Neale Ronning and Albert Vannucci (item bi 91001095) have edited a volume of studies on the personal influence of six US ambassadors since the late 1920s on the national policies of several Latin American countries. Stephen Rabe (item bi 88001253) explores President Eisenhower's Latin American policies in the context of anticommunism and evolving East-West conflict. Rabe (item bi 88002623) also reviews some of the literature on the history of US interventionism in the region. In addition, two interesting historical retrospectives revisit the Kennedy presidency: Ronald Scheman (item bi 91001094) has edited a book based on a conference of academics and former officials assessing the Alliance for Progress, and Joseph Tulchin (item bi 89000321) presents an article analyzing the bases for US actions under the Alliance and during the Cuban missile crisis.

The policies of other outside States continue to receive due attention. William Perry and Peter Wehner (item bi 88001252) have edited a useful volume on the Latin American policies of Canada and seven nonhemispheric states: Federal Republic of Germany, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Netherlands, Japan, and Israel. Two articles by Bahbah (item bi 88002005) and Goldfield (item bi 91001142) examine Israel's significant military interactions with Latin America.

With reference to European actions, a book based on an impressive international seminar sponsored by the Centro de Investigaciones Europeo-Latinoamericanas (EURAL) explores a broad range of current topics (item bi 89003574). Articles on the subject are by Alejandro Chanona Burguette (item bi 89000158) on the European Parliament and Latin America; Michael Ehrke (item bi 89000156) and Wolf Grabendorff (item bi 89000316) on the mutually beneficial but often fragmented European-Latin American relationship; and Verónica Loynaz-Fernández (item bi 89000157) on the development and current significance of a special European-Latin American international subsystem. A brief collection edited by James Ferguson and Jenny Pearce (item bi 91002937) treats British policy under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in an interesting but highly partisan manner.

The most important work on the Soviet Union and Latin America is the second edition of Cole Blasier's classic, The Giant's Rival (item bi 88002003). Augusto Varas (item bi 88002002) brings together 10 Latin American scholars for a broad-ranging, dispassionate, and sophisticated analysis of the Soviet presence in Latin America, with special attention paid to mutual perceptions in the various relationships. Jaime Suchlicki (item bi 91003065) offers a fairly standard ends-means analysis of Soviet policy toward Latin America and the US response. Rodolfo Cerdas Cruz (item bi 89002766) realistically assesses the potential impact of perestroika on COMECON orientations toward Latin America. Marc Edelman (item bi 91001112) reviews Soviet policies since the 1917 revolution and finds a mixture of revolutionary and pragmatic motivations.

A sampling of Soviet articles is again included, all from the journal América Latina, published in Spanish by the Latin American Institute at the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (items bi 89002778, bi 88002557, bi 91001117, bi 91001118, bi 91001144, bi 88000877, and bi 88002542). This editor asked in HLAS 49 (p. 586) if current Soviet academic efforts portended more scholarly sophistication and subtle understanding of Latin American international relations; the answer is, "not yet."

Latin American policies and intra-regional relations continued to receive significant attention. Jack Child (item bi 89001090) warns against complacency about the potential for conflict in Latin American interstate relations; Walter Little (item bi 88002533) challenges what he sees as an alarmist official US view about South American instability and conflict, seeing the continent characerized in very opposite terms. Alberto Cisneros Lavaller (item bi 89003578) reveals his US graduate training as he constructs a mathematically-based model of Latin American conflict. Augusto Roa Bastos (item bi 91001134) interweaves numerous tangible and intangible factors in an analysis of the problems of Latin American integration. Augusto Varas (item bi 88002592) wrestles imaginatively with the elusive concepts of security in Latin American policy-making. Juan Carlos Puig (item bi 89003577) brings together a disparate collection of his prior work, loosely connected by the theme of Latin American integration. Three books edited by José Silva-Michelena (items bi 89003573, bi 89003579, and bi 89003580) address both normatively and scientifically the relationship of global economic crisis to Latin American peace and security; they adopt an essential characteristic of international political economy often missing in econometric policy models: a realistic attitude about political structures, processes, and possibilities. A leader in the study of Latin America's international relations, Silva-Michelena died in late 1986 at the age of 52; these are his last works.

Interest in international organizations and regimes has been modestly revived with some fresh research and writing. Rodrigo Egaña (item bi 91001113) discusses the activities of European NGOs in Latin America, and Héctor Gros Espiell (item bi 88002004) studies those of the International Labor Organization. Antonio Montilla (item bi 88002566) challenges Latin Americans to be less passive and more united in the Inter-American System and to challenge US domination because it does not serve Latin American interests; Ronald Scheman (items bi 91001146 and bi 91001147) addresses primarily US policymakers and urges revitalization of the Inter-American System in the interest of all member parties. Francesca Miller (item bi 91001165) analyzes the role of women in the Inter-American System during its formative first four decades. Carlos García Bauer (item bi 88002019) offers a juridical treatment of human rights in the Inter-American System, and Genaro Carrió (item bi 89003575) reproduces and comments on the basic inter-American agreements regarding human rights.

Numerous works address specific inter-American issues and policy concerns. The Inter-American Dialogue (item bi 89003576) addresses and prescribes reasonable and progressive actions regarding Central America, debt, drugs, migration, and democracy.

The traffic in illicit narcotics has received particularly intense scrutiny. Scott MacDonald's book (item bi 89003569) is an impartial, informative overview of narcotraffic patterns and related policies and problems. MacDonald notes that scholarly research has lagged and that the collection of first-hand data can be a hazardous undertaking, leaving the field open to intrepid journalists. Paul Eddy, Hugo Sabogal, and Sara Walden (item bi 89003568) are journalists who make the most of a sensational topic, working hard to use vivid language and engaging in pop psychologizing about such things as "male menopausal acts." Among academics, Bruce Bagley has emphasized US policies in some broad-ranging articles (items bi 89000326, bi 89002813, and bi 91001098). He seeks to explain why the US has been losing the war on drugs declared by President Reagan in Feb. 1982 as a matter of urgent national security. He addresses the numerous international situational and domestic bureaucratic and social problems and obstacles impinging on US policy action, and considers the available alternative options; his argument that US policy failures are rooted in the realist perspectives of the international politics on which they are based is particularly interesting (item bi 89002813). The Venezuelan National Commission against Illicit Drug Use (item bi 88002016) offers perceptions by Latin Americans of their own domestic problems related to consumption. Ampara Díaz Uribe (item bi 89002778) offers a provocative but undocumented and sometimes moralistic set of assertions about narcotrafficking. Donald Mabry (item bi 89002798) reviews and expresses alarm about the use of US armed forces in the war on drugs. Ethan Nadelmann (item bi 89000314) takes on the sensitive issue of Latin American governmental corruption as a problem in US anti-drug policies. Two articles discuss some institutional aspects of US policy-making and policies: Raphael Francis Perl (item bi 89002796) diagnoses the congressional role in international narcotics control as part of an overall expanded role in US foreign policy-making and James W. Van Wert (item bi 89002795) describes US government actions, country programs, and problems. Most authors share a skepticism about the viability of US-led policies of eradication and interdiction as long as the US and, increasingly, European markets for illicit drugs are so profitable. Bagley (item bi 89002813) puts it plainly and succinctly: "If there is demand, there will be supply."

Concern with Latin American democracy and human rights continues, but is analyzed in terms of the new political environment, i.e., concern has shifted from ending the abuses of military regimes to developing and protecting human rights in a positive and long-term way under more responsive democratic governments. Two books, one edited by Juan Somavía (item bi 88001254) and the other written by Luis Díaz Muller (item bi 88002018), address the subjects in broad political, security, economic, social, and international organization terms. Tom Farer's work (item bi 89001134) is a frank and lively discussion of the fundamental tenets of the US human rights movement by one of its leaders in the Latin American arena. With regard to principles of human rights in the Inter-American System, see García Bauer (item bi 88002019) and Genaro Carrió (item bi 89003575), discussed above.

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