In This Review

U.S. Hegemony and the Americas: Power and Economic Statecraft in International Relations
U.S. Hegemony and the Americas: Power and Economic Statecraft in International Relations
By Arturo Santa-Cruz
238 pp, Routledge, 2019
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Santa-Cruz argues that since the 1970s, the United States has successfully preserved its core interests in Latin America through “thick” economic statecraft, a sophisticated approach that embeds liberal values, mutual gains, and strategic restraint in commercial diplomacy. With some regrettable exceptions—including supporting the brutal overthrow of a progressive government in Chile in 1973 and fruitlessly twisting arms to corral support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq—the United States has eschewed heavy-handed unilateralism in the Americas. In separate chapters on Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America, Santa-Cruz pushes back against the notion that U.S. influence has steadily declined in the Western Hemisphere but declines to pin down the indicators or key measurements of Washington’s sway. Santa-Cruz denounces U.S. President Donald Trump’s raw exercise of coercive power as counterproductive and badly, perhaps irreparably, damaging to the United States’ reputation and legitimacy. Integrating international relations theory and detailed histories, this book is an ambitious, landmark contribution against which future studies of inter-American relations will be judged.