On a Certain Impatience with Latin America

Courtesy Reuters

Democracy even under a tyranny continued to advance.

--Edith Hamilton, "The Greek Way"

PUBLIC opinion in the United States has shown a sporadic impatience at the failure of many Latin American republics to achieve a greater degree of political democracy. The persistence of dictatorships in our midst throughout a war fought for democracy was a moral embarrassment. The establishment of new dictatorships after victory has seemed to some like a rejection of what we fought to achieve. While we were still fighting we put the best face on the business, just as we did with respect to our Soviet ally. The war over, opinion in this country has sometimes tended to react in the manner of a stern father in the privacy of his home after his children have publicly embarrassed him.

But is the relationship of the United States to the Latin American nations in fact paternal? Or is

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