by Alejandro Álvarez
Katz reconstructs the interaction between two dominant views about Latin America: the geopolitical view, which emphasizes a post-neoliberal reality and overlooks the continuity of the primary-export model, and another view, which highlights the persistent uniformity of primary-goods export (the “commodities consensus”) but omits the importance of the political changes that have made the region unique in the world. He proposes to combine the two views.
Among the key changes that he observes among the great competing powers he highlights three sets of problems impacting the region. The first is the complex reorganization of U.S. domination (including military, commercial, economic, and political aspects such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership), reinforcing its presence in Mexico and Central America and maintaining its influence in South America. The second is the economic retreat of its European rivals (in part because of the impact of the global crisis of 2008–2009) and the growing dispute with China on the commercial and investment front (although it is careful not to represent a political-military challenge to the United States in Latin America) and Brazil’s hesitations as a regional power, which have prevented the deepening of alternatives such as Mercosur, the ALBA, and the …
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Latin American Perspectives 2015 42: 47-50