[Home] [Current Tables of Contents]

[ HLAS Online Home Page | Search HLAS Online | Help | FAQ | Comments ]

Volume 61 / Social Sciences


ALDO C. VACS, Professor of Government, Skidmore College

THE PUBLICATIONS REVIEWED IN THIS SECTION on the international relations of South America, except Brazil, show that some general traits noticed in previous editions of HLAS are still present: a trend toward more objective and well-documented studies and a focus on relevant current issues such as regional integration, impact of globalization, economic interactions, links between the consolidation of the existing democratic regimes and foreign policy, internationalization of attempts to eliminate drug production and traffic, discussion of new regional security arrangements and approaches, and relations between regional and extrahemispheric blocs. At the same time, a portion of the international relations' literature produced in the region continues to be centered on traditional topics such as border disputes, territorial demands, and political-diplomatic relations with neighboring countries and the US. A growing number of these works are less nationalistically biased that in the past, examining and exploring solutions to these problems in the context of integration initiatives and alternative ways to insert the region into the contemporary process of globalization. Most of the books, chapters, and articles reviewed in this section continue to be published in the largest countries in the region—Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela—or are focused on them. It is possible to detect, however, a relative increase in the quantity and quality of works addressing regional issues and issues affecting some of the smaller countries, particularly in the cases of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Uruguay.

A substantial number of recent publications address the different processes of multinational and bilateral integration underway in the region, with special emphasis on the origins, evolution, consolidation, and external relations of existing regional arrangements such as Mercosur and the Andean Community. Most works highlight the important progress made since the 1980s in the integration process within the region and its beneficial economic and political consequences, but they also discuss some of the shortcomings of regional integration in terms of macroeconomic coordination, political cooperation, social progress, and environmental protection. Among the excellent works thoughtfully examining the evolution and prospects of Mercosur as this integration initiative completed its first decade are the book written by Roberto Bouzas and José María Fanelli (item #bi2003006126#) and the collections of articles edited by Jorge Campbell (item #bi2001005396#), Daniel Chudnovsky and Fanelli (item #bi2003006091#), and Riordan Roett (item #bi2001005411#). Other noteworthy analyses of Mercosur look beyond the economic dimension to address important social and cultural aspects of the process of integration, including the works edited by Gerónimo de Sierra (item #bi2001005330#) and Julio Godio and Daniel Szabón (item #bi2002000389#).

The development of the Andean Community and its prospects are discussed in several works, including the useful studies by Raúl Barrios Morón (item #bi2001005425#) and Héctor Maldonado Lira (item #bi2002000378#). Several works mentioned in the Argentine, Bolivian, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, Uruguayan, and Venezuelan subsections examine the specific integration policies pursued by each of these countries in the regional context and highlight the economic, political, and social impact that these processes have had on each country. At a different level, other valuable works discuss the bilateral economic relations and prospects for integration between specific countries and neighboring nations and subregional blocs including Argentina (item #bi2001005342#), Bolivia (item #bi2001005410#), Chile (item #bi2001005419#), Peru (item #bi2001005414#), and Venezuela (item #bi2002000376#).

As in the past, many works on regional security concentrate on the issue of drug production and traffic, often addressing from a critical perspective the impact of the US approach to the "war on drugs" on the Andean region, as is done by Belén Boville Luca de Tena (item #bi2001005405#), and on Colombia, as discussed in valuable contributions by Bruce Bagley (item #bi2001006098#), Russell Crandall (item #bi2002004461#), Tatiana Matthiessen (item #bi2001005344#), and Juan G. Tokatlian (item #bi2003006148#). In general, these experts agree that the drug policies sponsored by the US have been largely ineffective and counterproductive as they failed to stop drug production and traffic; generated growing domestic economic, social, and political problems; and contributed to undermining the authority and legitimacy of Andean governments.

Border conflicts and territorial disputes continue to generate polemical, journalistic, and academic writings, particularly focused on the Argentine-British, Argentine-Chilean, Bolivian-Chilean, Colombian-Venezuelan, and Ecuadorian-Peruvian confrontations. Some of these publications contain traditional nationalistic denunciations of the adversary's wickedness and defenses of the author's own country positions, but there are several studies that address these territorial issues more objectively, attempting to document their claims and to offer cooperative solutions to the disputes. Among these works, several deserve mention: the collection of articles on Argentine-Chilean relations edited by Eve Rimoldi de Ladmann (item #bi2001005342#), the studies of Argentine-British relations under Alfonsín and Menem by Agustín Romero (item #bi2001005353#) and on the evolution of these relations in the 1990s by the Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (item #bi2003006117#); Fernando Salazar Paredes' analysis of the Bolivian-Chilean-Peruvian negotiations (item #bi2003006089#); the book edited by Socorro Ramírez and José María Cárdenas on Colombian-Venezuelan relations (item #bi2002000386#); and the works on Ecuadorian-Peruvian diplomatic negotiations by Diego Cordovez (item #bi2003006137#), and Mónica Herz and João Pontes Nogueira's (item #bi2003006150#).

The bilateral relations between specific South American countries and their neighbors, the US, and European countries are another traditional topic examined in several interesting works reviewed in this section. However, in many recent studies of this kind, there is a tendency to move away from the traditional political-diplomatic historical accounts and to focus more closely on the economic, strategic, and cultural aspects of the relations from a policy-oriented perspective. There is also a growing interest in analyzing relations between the South American countries and states in the Asian-Pacific Basin area—particularly China, Japan, and South Korea—that gradually have become more important commercial partners for some countries in the region and, in the South Korean case, a source of new immigrants as well.

In recent years, a number of important reference works have been published that examine the historical evolution, contemporary features, and prospects of the foreign relations of some individual countries in the region. Among them, a few stand out: the multivolume history of Argentina's external relations edited by Andrés Cisneros and Carlos Escudé (item #bi2001005420#); Fernando Salazar Paredes' study of Bolivia's foreign policy (item #bi2002000373#); the collection of articles on Colombian foreign policy edited by Ardila, Cardona, and Tickner (item #bi2003006123#); the study of Ecuador's international policies by Fernando Yépez Lasso (item #bi2003006130#); the massive historical study of Peru's foreign policy by Juan Miguel Bákula (item #bi2003006099#); and the collection of articles on Venezuela's foreign relations edited by Kaldone G. Nweihed (item #bi2001005395#).

Go to the:

Begin a Basic Search | Begin an Expert Search

[ HLAS Online Home Page | Search HLAS Online | Help | FAQ | Comments ]

Library of Congress
Comments: Ask a Librarian (12/06/11)