In This Review

The Future of Inter-American Affairs
The Future of Inter-American Affairs
Edited by Jorge Domínguez
Routledge, 1999, 288 pp

Dominguez takes aim at John Quincy Adams, George Kennan, and even Foreign Affairs in this disappointing collection of essays on the future of inter-American relations. These targets represent for Dominguez the "realist" school -- accepting of U.S. hegemony, skeptical about multilateralism, doubtful about democracy promotion, or just plain dismissive toward Latin America. His predictable counterproposal calls for greater commitment to multilateral institutions and democratization throughout Latin America. Because of issues such as immigration and drug trafficking, Latin America now "affects the quality of life in the United States," Dominguez warns. But some coauthors are less sanguine about the possibility of change. Pamela Starr sees the IMF remaining unprepared and unable to control financial turbulence; Anita Isaacs offers a critical take on democracy activists. Not that Dominguez is a pollyanna. But one wonders whether he has read either Adams or Kennan, who both deployed arguments about Latin America that were more cultural than realist -- and whose Yankee skepticism has been revived recently by Samuel Huntington, Lawrence Harrison, and David Landes. Unfortunately, Dominguez prefers to smother this prickly debate with his rigid categories of realism and multilateralism -- a simplistic approach that neither Adams nor Kennan would have even contemplated.