In important respects, the regional context of the Western Hemisphere has changed dramatically in the past decade. Authoritarian rule has given way to democracy in almost every Latin American country; societies wrenched by years of violent and costly civil wars, driven by Cold War ideological rivalries, have decided to settle their differences with ballots rather than bullets; state-controlled, closed economies have been pried open, both by the distress of massive debt and the opportunity of new markets.
Today’s world is marked by borders made porous by technological change, more fluid economic resources, and the continuous movement of people. Hemispheric relations have also undergone a sea change toward more institutionalized cooperation. This has been manifest in many issues: economic cooperation as embodied in NAFTA, MERCOSUR, and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) process; political cooperation through multilateral diplomacy (for example, the Ecuador-Peru conflict); peacekeeping operations (Central America, Haiti); and a more active Organization of American States, charged with defending democracy.
Even security cooperation has been shown in confidence-building measures among historical rivals in the Southern Cone and peacekeeping operations in Central America and the Caribbean. Terms such as multilateralism, regionalism, consensus, and convergence pepper descriptions of hemispheric relations throughout the volumes reviewed here. Most of these volumes must have been prompted in part by a shared belief in the positive potential of these changes. Regionalism, moreover, means more than just free trade or military confidence-building measures; it refers to the hemispherewide convergence of values promoted by the evelopment of multilateral institutions, the development of a common community. The Summit of the Americas process best exemplifies this new regionalist impulse. The three summits over less than ten years (Miami 1994, Santiago 1998, Quebec 2001) have solidified common principles and priorities in areas such as strengthening democracy, education, and sustainable development; promoting free trade and the development of science and technology; and reducing corruption and transnational crime.
Even the summit organization itself, with little institutional infrastructure of its own, utilizes existing multilateral and regional organizations to implement its plans of action. Collectively, these seven books enable readers to assess the prospects for regionalism in three broad areas: economic, military-security, and social-political. Two of the volumes, The United States and Latin America: The New Agenda and The Future of Inter-American Relations, are very broad in scope and assess major developments and issues in all three areas.
The contributions to the Dominguez volume as a whole seem to suggest a \”visible shift in favor of regionalist multilateralism\” (p. 5), wheras the contributions to Bulmer-Thomas and Dunkerley are less sanguine, suggesting only that \”the present government of the United States shows every sign of being authentically torn between multilateralism and unilateralism\” (p. 319). The Grugel and Hout volume looks at economic regionalism in Latin America, Asia, and Central Europe as a response of developing countries to the challenges of globalization.
While only two chapters cover Latin America (one about Chile and the other Brazil), the theoretical chapters and other case studies are useful to comparativists interested in the political economy of regionalism. The remaining four volumes focus on cooperation regarding security relations. A key theme of these is that the security situation in Latin America has become much more complex and difficult to manage since the end of the Cold War. The best overview of the range of these complexities is International Security and Democracy.
Its contributors argue not only that traditional threats to security persist in the region, but that democratization itself and the growth of nontraditional threats have created new forms of insecurity for the region’s nation-states. The persistence of traditional threats was brought home by the violent Ecuador-Peru conflict of 1995-96, which is richly documented in the Marcella and Downes volume. Traditional threats, such as arms races, border conflicts, and forced modernization programs, are also the focus of the Tulchin and Rojas work. Despite some progress on specific issues, the ontributions to this volume make clear that considerable divergence remains among major actors concerning the possibility, desirability, and means for enhancing cooperative security.
Finally, Tom Farer’s Transnational Crime in the Americas is devoted to showing how regional security relations are increasingly dominated by nontraditional threats stemming from transnational organized crime. While the context of hemispheric relations has indeed changed, it is not as certain that hemispheric cooperation, integration, and regionalism have now become the favored eans for addressing challenges. Regional cooperation and hemispheric projects have a long but fitful pedigree in Latin America, stretching back to the Bolivarian dream of early independence. The last concerted push toward regionalism came in the 1960s with the creation of the Latin American Free Trade Association and other subregional economic integration projects. During this period, the U. S. government sought to unite Latin American countries around the Alliance for Progress.
Visions of free trade and hopes for democratic governance propelled those efforts just as they do today; but the visions became clouded by Cold War ideological conflict, nationalist-authoritarian retrenchment, economic crisis, and revolutionary violence. While most of the contributions in these volumes offer specific prescriptions for enhancing regional cooperation, they make remarkably little reference to the precedents of the past. Only the Bulmer-Thomas and Dunkerley volume puts current relations in historical context. Their volume, moreover, is the least optimistic about the future of regional cooperation.
ECONOMIC REGIONALISM: TOWARD AN FTAA? In Latin America, the turn toward the market preceded the collapse of communism. It began in the midst of the debt crisis of the early 1980s, under pressure from international lending agencies, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; and from the U. S. government, especially the Department of the Treasury and the U. S. Agency for International Development. Neoliberal economic prescriptions did not win widespread acceptance, however, until the 1990s, when there was clearly no longer any viable alternative.
After communism collapsed, economic liberalization led to the rapid growth of world trade, finance, and investment; the spread of information technology; and the increased mobility of production, marketing, research and development, and labor, a process commonly dubbed globalization. Grugel and Hout’s thesis is that \”the tendency toward globalization is undermining the independent policymaking capacity of the state\” (p. 5). The weaker states of the developing world are especially threatened by increased economic and political marginalization.
Not only must they compete against each other as never before for private capital investment, they must also find ways to adapt to the rapidly changing information-based technology, production, and distribution that characterizes today’s global markets. Furthermore, they must navigate an increasingly complex world stage occupied by many nonstate actors: multinational corporations, nongovernmental organizations, multilateral agencies, and even transnational criminal networks. Regional cooperation and integration has thus become a defensive strategy for avoiding rogressive marginalization. For developing states, regionalism is not simply a means for increasing market access or attracting foreign investment, but also for increasing the international leverage of state actors as they confront the complex forces of globalization (pp. 6-11). Without question, Grugel and Hout’s thesis partly explains Latin America’s newfound enthusiasm for regionalism. But two other major factors are also at work. The first is changes in financial capital flows in the hemisphere; the second is trade liberalization.
Changes in Financial Flows As shown by the chapters by Wendy Hunter and Pamela Staff in The Future of Inter-American Relations, the end of the Cold War turned down the spigot of U. S. financial aid, leaving Latin American countries to scramble for private investment. As private transnational capital has far outstripped bilateral government assistance, international financial institutions, such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank, have superseded USAID and the U. S. Treasury as the managers of regional capital flows.
Not only have these multilateral agencies increased the frequency and intensity of their interventions in national economies, Hunter shows, but they have also diversified their activities from strict fiscal, monetary, and macroeconomic management to issues of institutional reform, social welfare (especially education, pensions, and health care), and the environment. The concept of development propagated by these institutions comprises not simply macroeconomic growth and stability but other elements that clearly have an impact on economic performance (pp. 16-21). In addition, international financial institutions are increasingly working with NGOs, business, and other private sector actors to complement their traditional interaction with governments (pp. 121-26). Starr points out that the international financial institutions have had to adapt their mission to a new and largely supportive management role. Instead of providing funding for major development projects, today the development banks serve primarily to facilitate private investment and to promote investor confidence (pp. 136-40). Whereas a rincipal task of the IMF used to be rescheduling debt and inducing fiscal responsibility on the part of governments in order to ensure continued interest payments to creditors, today its major tasks are managing the volatility of financial and currency markets, in order to protect private investment, and promoting government monetary and fiscal soundness (pp. 141-45).
The watchwords of the international financial institutions are efficiency, transparency, and stability. Are these financial agencies capable of meeting the challenges posed by the era of globalization? According to both Starr and Hunter, the expansion of that role is ecessary to maintain democratic stability. To the extent that they promote the values of efficiency, transparency, and stability, these institutions will enhance the legitimacy of the region’s democracies. But not only do democracies need stable markets; markets need democracy to keep stable, as seems to be a lesson of the 1994 Mexican peso crisis and the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Trade Liberalization The second factor, trade liberalization, began sweeping the region in the wake of the debt crisis, to facilitate export promotion and to redress balance of payments deficits.
Numerous unilateral tariff reductions and bilateral free trade agreements led to a decline of regional tariffs from an average of 40 percent to 11 percent from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s (Future o flnter-American Relations, 155-61). Free trade area agreements, such as NAFTA, MERCOSUR, and the Andean Group, have become a strategy for encouraging, harnessing, and cementing free trade and its benefits. There is also the ambitious proposal launched by the Clinton administration at the 1994 Miami Summit to begin the process of creating a hemispherewide Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) by 2005.
Several of the contributions to The Future of Inter-American Relations assess the prospects for forging an FTAA. Robert Devlin, Antonio Estevadeordal, and Luis Jorge Garay, in a lengthy, data-filled review of trade flows, make clear that most trade remains dominated by a few bilateral linkages (for example, Mexico-United States, Brazil-Argentina) and that little actually has changed in terms of the development of truly regional trade flows. The bulk of their chapter is a balance sheet of potential positives and negatives from a prospective FTAA.
They cover a broad range of complex issues, such as trade diversion, transaction costs, competitiveness, a country’s ability to attract foreign direct investment, and asymmetrical gains and losses of trade-all of which warrant at least a chapter in themselves. For the authors, the economic benefits clearly outweigh the costs (pp. 162-82). What is missing from their balance sheet, however, is an important bottom line: whether an FTAA would enhance the quality of life for the majority of people in the hemisphere.
The 1994 Chiapas uprising, along with protests against the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, and free trade in general, arise not from people’s concerns about trade diversion or transaction costs but from job insecurity, labor rights, environmental destruction, poverty, and inequality-all of which are perceived to accompany the unrestrained growth of market economies. Indeed, it is the political backlash against NAFTA that prevented President Clinton from obtaining \”fast track\” authority from Congress to negotiate Chile’s accession to NAFTA or to move ahead with the FTAA.
Clearly, forging a political consensus on free trade will be much more difficult than overcoming the economic obstacles to an FTAA. Roberto Bouzas’s chapter in The Future of Inter-American Relations and two contributions on trade issues in the Bulmer-Thomas and Dunkerley volume reveal the many divergent dynamics that will make FTAA progress difficult. One problem is deciding whether the FTAA will follow the NAFTA model of integration or the one used to create MERCOSUR. These are not two geographic poles of one common hemispheric project but instead represent two competing visions.
Each of the key protagonists, the United States for NAFTA and Brazil for MERCOSUR, has been struggling to define the prospective FTAA process according to its own priorities and interests (Future of Inter-American Relations, 211; United States and Latin America, 93, 116). According to Grugel and Marcelo de Almeida Medeiros in Regionalism Across the North-South Divide, MERCOSUR is not premised on the progressive liberalization of trade or of the national economies (p. 53). To Brazilian elites, economic liberalization and economic integration are distinct projects.
Brazil has pursued the latter with Argentina and other Southern Cone countries for political reasons. Economic integration would help to bury permanently the geopolitical rivalry that has long existed between Brazil and Argentina (p. 54). Brazilian political leaders believe that economic integration would help them pursue much-needed domestic economic and bureaucratic reforms (pp. 54-55). Brazil is clearly in control of MERCOSUR as an integration project; larger regionalist efforts dilute Brazil’s ability to control the process to its benefit.
Brazilian firms supported MERCOSUR because they stood to gain from regional integration with Brazil’s smaller and economically weaker neighbors, but they are not as supportive of hemispheric attempts (such as the FTAA) that would widen market competition to include firms from countries that could outdo them-firms from Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, and, of course, the United States (pp. 55-56). This wider competition would inevitably require a major restructuring of Brazilian firms and entire industries as they adjusted to a more competitive environment (pp. 6-57). A final political reason is that Brazil seeks to blunt the influence of the United States in the region. Without a doubt, this competition with the United States over the future of hemispheric integration is one of the key political dynamics underlying regional integration. The creation of NAFTA helped to spur the deepening and broadening of MERCOSUR; this, in turn, led to U. S. efforts to broaden NAFTA and seize control of hemispheric integration via a series of bilateral treaties. One only has to look at the Brazilian– U. S. ug-of-war over Chile to see this dynamic at work. The chapter by Jean Grugel (\”The Chilean State and New Regionalism\”) discusses Chile’s role in the development of regional free trade. Chile and NAFTA first discussed affiliation in the mid-1990s but were thwarted by growing U. S. congressional and public antipathy toward further integration and President Clinton’s failure to obtain \”fast track\” negotiating authority. As a result, Chile negotiated a free trade agreement with MERCOSUR in 1996, becoming an associate member. By avoiding full membership,
Chile was better able to negotiate selective tariff reductions that would protect its agricultural producers from competition from Brazil; it also left open the option of negotiating other free trade deals independently of MERCOSUR (pp. 73-75). In late 2000, Chile exercised this option by concluding a free trade agreement with the United States, again moving closer to NAFTA membership. Chile’s trajectory shows that Brazil is losing the contest over managing the FTAA process. Today that process stands at the fork of two divergent regionalist roads: one that leads to integration with NAFTA and the other to integration with MERCOSUR.
Whether Chile’s choice to move closer toward integration with the United States and NAFTA is a harbinger of the FTAA’s future direction remains to be seen. But it is clear that the prospects of getting Brazil’s agreement on a prospective FFAA dominated by the economies of the North are diminishing. Continuing trade disputes with the United States and Canada (for example, Canada’ decision in early 2001 to cut off Brazilian beef imports for fear of mad cow disease) are symptoms of much deeper conflicts between the two regionalist projects. SECURITY REGIONALISM: TOWARD COOPERATIVE SECURITY
Increased cooperation in the security realm is a second major theme addressed by many of the contributors to these volumes. In the concluding summary of Strategic Balance and Confidence-Building Measures in Latin America, Joseph Tulchin and Ralph Espach write, \”In the aftermath of the Cold War, strategic relations in the Western Hemisphere have been characterized by wide-ranging confusion and episodes of profound lack of confidence between states\” (p. 172). Part of the confusion involves ambiguity in the very definition of security in light of the changing nature of threats. Throughout the region, military and security institutions ust anticipate not only the traditional threats of military invasion or border conflicts with other states but also nontraditional threats posed by nonstate actors, such as transnational organized criminal organizations, international terrorists, even computer hackers. Indeed, \”warfare\” can be conducted via the rapidly growing technological and informational web that renders borders meaningless. Environmental destruction and even democratization itself may threaten a country’s security. The contributors stress the need for more cooperative measures to deal with these multifaceted threats.
The Clinton administration gave the name cooperative security to a new paradigm of regional security. The essence of cooperative security is to engage in multilateral confidencebuilding measures and to facilitate peaceful conflict resolution through international institutions in order to avoid the emergence of serious crises. Ultimately, the goal is to create \”pluralistic security communities,\” containing the firmly established expectation that common social and economic problems can be solved only by institutionalized procedures without resort to threats or violence (International
Security and Democracy, 12). This strategy is part of a broader foreign policy based on \”enlargement\” (to differentiate it from the Cold War policy of \”containment\”). Our national security strategy is based on enlarging the community of market democracies while deterring and containing a range of threats to our nation, our allies and our interests. The more that democracy and political and economic liberalization take hold in the world, particularly in countries of geostrategic importance to the United States, the safer our nation is likely to be and the more our people are likely to prosper. William J. Clinton, \”A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement,\” draft presidential directive, National Security Council, July 1994, 2, quoted in International Security and Democracy, 274. ) The concept of cooperative security has received diplomatic support among several Latin American countries, as evidenced by the 1995 Defense Ministerial held in Williamsburg, Virgins, and by several resolutions of the OAS Commission on Hemispheric Security. Beyond this broad concept, the contributors to the four volumes ealing with security issues focus on four intertwined themes: the impact of democratization on regional security, the persistence of traditional threats, the emergence and growth of nontraditional threats, and the role of the United States.
The Impact of Democratization The articulation of cooperative security as a new regional security paradigm exemplifies a widely and perhaps deeply held belief that democracies have an aversion to fighting wars against each other. Known as the \”democratic peace thesis\” among scholars, this idea has generated the expectation that as democracies were eestablished and consolidated throughout the region, the incidence of interstate war would diminish. According to this view, military establishments would become effectively subordinated to civilian (and presumably democratic) rule, their traditional missions as social and political guardians would diminish, their budgets would be reduced, and their institutions would be downsized. With civilians firmly in control, moreover, traditional \”balance of power\” politics, geopolitical rivalries, and destabilizing arms races would be abandoned in favor of more cooperative measures, such as diplomacy and confidence building.
Has democratization led to more cooperative security and less conflict? This is the central issue addressed by contributors to International Security and Democracy. The most direct answer is provided by the empirical overview of armed conflict in Latin America by David Mares and Steven Bernstein (\”The Use of Force in Latin American Inter-State Conflicts\”). Their compelling conclusion is that \”democracies in Latin America are unaffected in their decision to utilize force in their foreign policy by whether or not the country with which they have a dispute is democratic\” (p. 41).
Without entering the debate concerning whether the countries of Latin America can all be considered democratic, it is clear that democratization is a dynamic and uneven process that creates uncertainty among political actors and instability across borders. Thus, although the democratic peace thesis might be applicable to consolidated democracies, it is much less clear that democratizing countries are similarly averse to engaging in war with one another. One need look no farther than the EcuadorPeru conflict to realize that the democratic peace thesis requires substantial qualification in the Latin American ontext. Most of the other contributors affirm that although democratization is not a sufficient condition for the development of cooperative security, it is probably a necessary one. The three chapters that form part 1 of International Security and Democracy, along with several chapters in Strategic Balance and Confidence-Building Measures in the America show that democratization has indeed defused geopolitical rivalries and reduced military tensions in the region, laying the foundation for more cooperative elationships in the Southern Cone, albeit to varying degrees.
The most dramatic change has come in Argentina. Under Carlos Menem, Argentina transformed itself from a U. S. antagonist to one of the staunchest U. S. supporters. It ended its nuclear arms program and signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, dropped plans to develop intermediate-range missiles, and signed on to the Missile Technology Control Regime. It began to participate actively in global military missions, such as Haiti and the Gulf War, and adopted cooperative security as the basis of its ew foreign policy orientation (International Security and Democracy, 126-28, 136-40). As the authors point out, however, this turnaround was the result not simply of a more open polity but perhaps a more open (and vulnerable) economy. After bouts of hyperinflation in 1989 and 1990, Menem redefined Argentina’s national interest primarily in terms of achieving economic stability and growth, recognizing that good relations with the United States and other major trading partners (especially Brazil) were the best eans to those ends (International Security and Democracy, 51-63). Although the changes in Chile’s and Brazil’s security policies have been less dramatic than Argentina’s, these countries have moved in a similar direction, toward greater cooperation with their former geopolitical rivals in the Southern Cone. Chile’s foreign policy initiatives have been gradual and incremental, showing significant continuity with the Pinochet period. For example, Chile has focused much of its diplomatic efforts on resolving longstanding border disputes with Peru and Argentina.
It has avoided increasing its global commitments to peacekeeping operations, although it maintains its longstanding participation in U. N. missions in India-Pakistan and Palestine (International Security and Democracy, 84-87). Brazil falls somewhere between Argentina’s radical shift and Chile’s continuity. The Brazilian government (especially since the beginning of the Cardoso administration) has shifted its security commitments from its southern border with Argentina to its northern and western borders in the vast Amazon territory. Consonant with this geographic eorientation is a growing emphasis on nontraditional threats, primarily from the growing presence of transnational crime related to illegal drug manufacturing, trafficking, and money laundering (International Security and Democracy, 114-15; Strategic Balance, 47-59). Although Argentina, Brazil, and Chile have taken certain steps that have had the collective effect of enhancing security among them, their foreign policies lack the convergence necessary to create a \”pluralistic security community. \” While Argentina has explicitly allied itself more closely with the U.
S. vision of hemispheric security, Brazil continues to eschew hemispherewide security arrangements under the auspices of the OAS because of the U. S. tendency to dominate that organization. Instead, the Brazilian strategy has been to seek a greater voice in the United Nations and to act as a leader in subregional organizations, such as MERCOSUR and the Rio Group (Strategic Balance, 57-58). Moreover, all three countries (especially Brazil and Chile) have embarked on significant defense modernization programs that appear to signal ontinuing reliance on independent deterrent capabilities rather than multilateral cooperation. Clearly, a shared vision of regional security, let alone a common mission, has yet to materialize among the most important Latin American democracies. The impact of democratization on regional security in Central America has been considerably less positive than in the Southern Cone. Chapters in International Security and Democracy by Caesar D. Sereseres (\”Central American Regional Security: Postwar Prospects for Peace and Democracy\”) and Fernando Zeledon-Torres (\”Security,
Agenda, and Military Balance in Central America: Limits to Democratic Consolidation in the 1990s\”), show that the resolution of longstanding, violent, and costly Cold War conflicts in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala have not removed the region’s security problems. Although democracies have replaced authoritarian regimes, the underlying socioeconomic causes that fed the conflicts have not ended but by many measures have returned to prewar levels in poverty, inequality, high unemployment, lack of quality land, environmental degradation, and migration (pp. 213, 229).
In this context, Central America faces both old and new security threats. Border disputes and friction over migration continue to trouble the region, particularly between El Salvador and Honduras and between Nicaragua and Costa Rica (pp. 226-27). Moreover, the continuing incapacity of government institutions exacerbates the generalized sense of insecurity in the region. Violent crime, often the product of out-of-work and overarmed former soldiers, has soared; kidnappings, murders, robberies, smuggling of drugs and people, and corruption are dismally commonplace (pp. 13-14; 229-33). As Sereseres points out, \”there is a clear vacuum of authority as a result of military withdrawal and insufficient civil police and judicial system capabilities\” (p. 213). Zeled6n laments that as difficult as it was to end the armed conflicts in the region, it is harder yet to sustain the economic resources and political will for the creation of legitimate and lasting democratic institutions (pp. 222-23). Sadly, the promised fruits of peace in Central America have yet to be enjoyed by most of its inhabitants. Persistence of Traditional Threats