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The United States in Latin America: the overstated decline of a superpower

By Tom Long

Abstract

It is commonly asserted that the United States no longer holds the dominant position it once did in Latin America. This decline is credited to several factors: a global decline in U.S. power, lower levels of U.S. attention to the region, the entrance of new extra-hemispheric challengers, and more “assertive” Latin American leaders. This paper examines those claims of U.S. decline and seeks to empirically evaluate them. U.S. decline has too often been assumed instead of demonstrated; when evidence has been provided it has often been anecdotal. Instead, greater evidence demonstrates significant continuities. U.S. decline, both relative to extra-hemispheric powers and in regards to states within the region has been overstated, in part because of a tendency to exaggerate U.S. power in the past, a focus on changes, and an underestimation of the continued depth of U.S. military, economic, structural, and ideational power in the region. There have been real changes in the geographic concentration and nature of U.S. power, as well as in the economic role of China. However, these changes are often outweighed by the continuities of relationships that are still defined by asymmetry

Publisher: Wiley Online
Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:centaur.reading.ac.uk:67969

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