The United States and Latin America: Shaping an Elusive Future

  • March 01, 2000
  • Dr Donald E Schulz

The demise of the Cold War has produced not an "End of History" but a "New World Disorder," which may well become more tumultuous in the decades ahead. Thus, it is crucial at this turn of the millennium to reconsider the prospects for regional security, the challenges that both new and old dangers may pose to U.S. interests, and the kind of strategy and policies that might enable the United States to both better cope with current problems and head off those that are just over the horizon. The author first analyzes U.S. security interests in Latin America, then goes on to survey the primary challenges to those interests, and how well U.S. strategy and policy are equipped to cope with them. He suggests how the security environment is likely to change over the next quarter century, both in terms of the new dangers that may arise and the evolution of problems that already exist. His conclusion that we are not strategically equipped to face the future is a disturbing one, for Latin America's importance to the United States is growing fast even as our attention is flagging. Will we have the insight to recognize our own interests, the will to commit sufficient resources to attain them, and the intellectual wherewithal to relate our means to our ends?