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Volume 63 / Social Sciences

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: THE CARIBBEAN AND THE GUIANAS


FRANK O. MORA, Professor of National Security Strategy, National War College
JACQUELINE ANNE BRAVEBOY-WAGNER, Professor of Political Science, The City College and The Graduate School and University Center, The City University of New York

One important trend in the literature is the number of studies on the impact of globalization on the region's economies and social structures. Much of the research continues to have a strong political or ideological approach (item #bi2006001836#, among others), but are good sources of data and analysis. Some publications offer interesting and rigorous frameworks and analyses for understanding the uniqueness of the region's societies and their vulnerabilities to the forces of globalization (item #bi2005004547#) and to relations with developed countries, particularly Europe (item #bi2005002652#). Within the context of globalization, scholars continue efforts at understanding the complex and rapidly changing nature of migration and remittances (items #bi2006001700#, #bi2005004708#, and #bi2006001680#) and their impact on the region's economies and fragile democracies.

One salient and consistent pattern in the literature is the dominance of Cuban foreign policy, particularly regarding relations with the US. One interesting feature is the analysis of changes in Cuban foreign policy since the mid-1990s when the island's foreign relations became more diverse and complex yet still governed by its efforts to bypass ever-increasing attempts by the US to isolate it (items #bi2005004476#, #bi2006001716#, and #bi2006001841#). Unlike in the past, some of these studies do offer useful conceptual frameworks to their empirical analysis other than a Marxist or imperialist approach. On the other hand, as in the past, the literature has a healthy number of entries on US policy toward Cuba (items #bi2006001801#, #bi2005005409#, and #bi2004003874#, among others), each with a very critical perspective as to the policy's effectiveness or impact on political change in the island.

As in the past, much of the non-Cuba literature focuses on the diplomatic history of the Dominican Republic. Some very useful accounts by Dominican public officials examine foreign policy from the experience of foreign minister (item #bi2006001831#) or ambassador to the US (item #bi2006001695#). These are very thorough accounts though at times self-serving. The Dominican government continues its welcomed efforts at providing a survey and key documents related to the country's foreign relations (item #bi2006001802#). [FOM]

NON-HISPANIC CARIBBEAN

For international relations specialists, the beginning of the 21st century has been an interesting time for examination. The challenges for small states include determining the most appropriate economic strategy to meet the demands of globalization, devising strategies in view of the multidimensional nature of security, resolving inter- and intrastate conflicts, coping with US dominance, enhancing regionalism and attempting to secure fair deals in bilateral and global trade negotiations, meeting energy needs, and addressing environmental issues, among many others. An analysis of international relations theory reveals that some scholars continue to develop new angles to realism, while liberal theories remain central, especially institutionalist approaches; constructivist approaches have gained prominence; new angles have been incorporated into foreign policy analysis; and critical theorists are generating more research efforts.

In the Caribbean, however, very little seems to be happening in terms of international relations research. The little that there is continues to be descriptive and unimaginative. To be sure, the literature of the 2000s reflects an increasing focus on regionalism in keeping with global trends (items #bi2006003498# and #bi2006003554#). Another focus is an old one, the continuing issue of "size and survival" (item #bi2006003556#). In regard to the other publications reviewed during this period, now that the flurry of works on Haiti has ceased as some stability has returned to that country, the literature consists of compilations of speeches and documents which, although informative, do very little to advance the study of international relations in the region (item #bi2006003551#). It is hoped that this period of low scholarly output will be followed by one of literary flowering as scholars focus on rethinking the region's interaction with the hemisphere and the world. [JBW]


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