The Hemispheric DivideIssue: Mar-Apr 2009
FOR THE first time in nearly two centuries, the United States will find a Latin America that has unapologetically dropped the region's traditional deference to U.S. power. When President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrive for the Fifth Summit of the Americas in April, they will step into a political and diplomatic environment dramatically different from that confronting any of their predecessors. Understandably, the Obama administration will assert its disposition to forge partnerships, recover ground lost in recent years, and work toward the shared prosperity, social inclusion and common security agenda to which the region's governments have loosely agreed. But, with a global financial crisis and domestic recession constraining resources, not to mention a foreign-policy agenda that is all but saturated with other strategic priorities, the United States faces clear limitations on what it can achieve in its own neighborhood.