Monday, April 2, 2007

Weekly debate: U.S. hegemony and the Americas

Since the era of the Monroe Doctrine, U.S. influence over the Americas has reigned supreme. Though other countries have at times made inroads into Latin America they have been insufficient to knock the U.S. off its lofty pedestal.

However, with the advent of the era of globalization an increased number of countries have made significant steps in their relations with the Americas. Here is a brief look at some of the main players:


Hugo Chavez is deadest on becoming the antithesis of George W. Bush: attentive to Latin America’s concerns and more than willing to create pan-American unity as a counterweight to the U.S. (Case in point- Chavez’ shadow tour during Bush’s visit last month to Latin America). Chavez surplus in petrodollars is working well to his advantage, leading to anxiety by officials in the U.S.


China’s rapid economic expansion has relied on Latin America for help. It’s in the region where raw commodities are obtained and where China has been slowly expanding markets for their goods. China has quickly established stronger relationships with just about every Latin American country and has even exerted political pressure to defend their interests.


Russia lacks the political power of Venezuela and the economic clout of china, yet its key to Latin America revolves around arms sales. Russia is, for all intents and purposes, helping to militarize the region whether it is selling rifles for Venezuela’s army or fighter jets to Colombia. Foreign Policy magazine mentioned in January “more guns and less butter is the last thing the troubled region needs” though Russia is content to displace the U.S. from a vital piece of the arms market.


The dark horse in this new era of Latin American relations is Iran. Don’t be fooled thinking that Iran’s lone interest is in the relations between Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmenijad; Iran is keen on establishing closer ties to the region. For example, Brazil recently rejected U.S. requests to stop investing in Iranian oil projects and Mexico has gradually opened its market to Iranian goods.

Is the era of U.S. hegemony over Latin America waning or will it continue stronger than ever? Are there any other actors we are forgetting bout in our analysis such as Europe? Would it be premature to say that U.S. influence will decrease for good or are is it a small dent?

What do you think?

Links- The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg, Taipei Times, RIA Novotsi, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Foreign Policy, Bend Weekly,, Guardian UK, Voice of America, Fars News Agency, Bloomberg, Mehr News


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