In This Review

The United States and Latin America: The New Agenda
The United States and Latin America: The New Agenda
Edited by Victor Bulmer-Thomas and James Dunkerley
Harvard University Press, 1999, 420 pp

An interesting and provocative discussion of U.S.-Latin American relations from a largely European perspective. Growing out of a study group at London's Institute for Latin American Studies and a Harvard conference, this fine collection of essays brings together senior American scholars, such as John Coatsworth and Jorge Dominguez, with British and Latin American experts. The book's strength lies in its strong contextual approach, underscoring the historical continuities in U.S. behavior toward Latin America. Dunkerley, for example, surveys U.S. policy from 1800 until 1945, while Dominguez presents a sharp analysis of the Cold War's impact on U.S. attitudes toward the region, especially Cuba. Excellent overviews of regional trade and investment provide some needed forward thinking on the implications of NAFTA for the harmonization of financial services, regulation, and tax policy. The volume's weaknesses include an absence of any discussion of Brazil, an almost obsessive concentration on Cuba (ironic, in light of the authors' criticism of Washington's anticommunist phobia), and very little on the recent financial crises that elicited the massive U.S.-led bailouts for both Mexico and Brazil.