A Whole New World?

The United States in moving inexorably toward closer political and economic association with Latin America. A quartet of recent books helps us plan the journey.

Issue: Winter 2001-2002

George W. Bush has seized enthusiastically upon what had initially been his father's concept-a comprehensive Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)-as, hopefully, one of the most personal hallmarks of his presidency. At a summit of hemispheric leaders in Quebec this April, general agreement was secured for conclusion of such an historic accord by January 1, 2005-with universal ratification to follow by the end of that year. If successful, this process would make NAFTA the world's largest trading bloc, comprised of some 900 million people and boasting a combined annual GDP approaching $10 trillion. Even more fundamentally, by laying the basis for an ever-more integrated Western Hemisphere community of nations, it would imply a considerable revision of past U.S. geostrategic priorities (traditionally oriented across the Atlantic toward Europe), over the course of the new century (and era) that we are now entering.

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