The pendulum of Latin American politics is swinging rightward once again. Yet as the “pink tide” recedes, the forces of change have more to do with socioeconomics than ideology. Dramatic economic and political crises have coincided in countries like Brazil and Venezuela. Still, the final result for Latin America may be the emergence of centrist, pragmatic modes of governance, and with them, opportunities for the U.S. to improve relations. The new administration must look beyond the neoliberal model of the 1990s, and develop an approach to relations fit for the 21st century.
North America the economic powerhouse has reigned supreme for nearly a century, becoming the largest and strongest in the world, an industrial dynamo, a commodities cornucopia and a magnet for millions upon millions of immigrants seeking a better life.
While some concerns have been expressed about the expanding Chinese footprint across the region, most serious analysts and government authorities view the deepening economic relationship as a largely positive development for both China and Latin America.
On March 6th, The Dialogue hosted an open discussion on the future of NAFTA and the global impacts of its potential reform or repeal. Along with substantial political uncertainty about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), there is also widespread confusion about the various options and scenarios for reform within the complicated architecture of the multilateral trading system. Many of the possible outcomes would have grave implications—not only for the economies of Mexico, the US, and Canada, but also for other major trading partners.
Without question, what is at stake in this election are two entirely different ways of understanding the United States and its role in the world. On Tuesday the voters will have their final say –and the time to govern will begin. Whoever wins, the polarization, rancor and malaise that this election brought to the fore will permeate US politics for years to come.
Cuts to Washington’s energy engagement could undermine the connections that help support U.S.–Latin American cooperation on issues from security to immigration. When it comes to weakening energy integration in the Americas, there are few winners.