|About the Book|
The first book-length treatment of the Clinton administration’s Latin American policies, this timely study reads like an insider’s account, based in part on interviews and roundtable discussions with more than 50 participants in the Latin AmericanMoreThe first book-length treatment of the Clinton administration’s Latin American policies, this timely study reads like an insider’s account, based in part on interviews and roundtable discussions with more than 50 participants in the Latin American foreign policy process during these years—from career diplomats to political appointees, White House insiders to jaded professionals. In his balanced analysis of an administration that made some progress in Latin American relations, the author reluctantly concludes that the Clinton presidency failed to build on the favorable international and regional context and on opportunities inherited from the George H. W. Bush administration. The study offers a multifaceted explanation for why Clinton’s Latin American policy was, on balance, not able to accomplish many of its objectives in spite of some important successes, including the ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the historic Summit of the Americas. Citing the collapse of the Governor’s Island accords to return democracy to Haiti and Clinton’s reluctant signing of the Helms-Burton bill that imposed new restrictions on Cuba as among the administration’s failures, the author allows that policymakers were often handicapped by limitations of leadership at various levels, bureaucratic politics, a lack of resources, unexpected events, competing policy priorities, and the influence of domestic politics.In addition, Clinton and his senior-level advisers showed only sporadic interest in Latin America, which, among other factors, had the effect of hamstringing mid-level policy advocates. Such constraints, rather than a lack of vision or a failure to articulate policy objectives, appear to explain why the administration failed to exploit effectively the historic opening for a new post-Cold War approach to U.S.-Latin American relations. This timely study will be a valuable reference for the foreign policy community at large and for students and scholars of international relations.