It remains one of the great mysteries why most people in the United States neither know nor care much about Latin America, despite geographic proximity and a long and deep history of U.S. involvement in the region. Scheman takes on that basic question in this comprehensive and well-argued text. Arthur Schlesinger has argued that U.S. interest in Latin America seems to peak and ebb in 30-year cycles; if the Schlesinger pattern holds, Latin America is scheduled to disappear once more from the U.S. radar. Scheman fears this will happen. He does not claim that Latin America should be central to U.S. foreign policy, but he does argue that several kinds of issues make it important to the United States -- economic (open markets and transparency in commercial dealings); political (democracy and the rule of law); social (the challenges of poverty); and moral (respect for human rights) -- and these, he shows, are issues that increasingly know no borders. Scheman asserts that the hemisphere needs new multilateral frameworks and institutions -- the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Development Bank, he argues, are insufficient -- but he ultimately wants Americans to think of America in broader terms, looking toward such goals as a greater American common market -- a challenge indeed.
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