In This Review

Inter-American Cooperation at a Crossroads (International Political Economy)
Inter-American Cooperation at a Crossroads (International Political Economy)
Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 320 pp

The editors of this comprehensive compendium of essays have assembled top experts to offer the latest thinking on Latin American integration schemes -- their modest strengths, persistent weaknesses, and prospects for change and renewal. Their assessment is not encouraging. From the unfinished agenda of economic, trade, and energy integration to the limited progress of subregional arrangements such as Mercosur and the North American Free Trade Agreement, the volume uncovers both strategic and tactical hurdles that raise larger questions of self-identity and common interests. Given the vast disparities within this diverse region, which encompasses both major economies and vulnerable island states, the pan-American dream has never felt more distant. As governments experiment with new and more varied institutional arrangements at both the presidential and the technocratic levels, including partnerships with countries outside the hemisphere, the regional order seems to be best described as one of diffuse multipolarity. To preserve its influence in such a system, the United States will have to navigate Brazil’s ambitions to lead South America and China’s race to secure resources in a way that will mitigate conflict and protect long-standing U.S. interests.