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A Good Neighbor Policy for Trump

How to Engage With Argentina and Brazil

Argentinean President Mauricio Macri and his Brazilian counterpart Michel Temer listen to their national anthems before their meeting at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, February 2017. Adriano Machado / REUTERS

Every incoming U.S. president begins his tenure by seeking out opportunities to establish a foreign policy legacy; Donald Trump doesn’t have to look far to find them. In the United States’ own neighborhood, he has a chance to realign relations with two of most important and influential countries in the Western Hemisphere: Brazil and Argentina.

Besides being the largest and third-largest economies in Latin America, the two countries carry great political weight in the region. After years of tense relations, they could help the United States consolidate democratic and free-market development in the region. That would, in turn, enhance U.S. security and prosperity.

Brazil and Argentina are busy attempting to shake off the legacies of years of statist economics. Each now has a market-friendly president desperate to produce economic growth and less friendly toward the neopopulist authoritarianism of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his

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