Further complicating matters, the United States will open the summit with diminished prestige and influence. The chaotic withdrawal from Kabul, the failure of NATO efforts to deter Russia, or of U.S. sanctions to force a restoration of democracy in Venezuela, as well as the bitter internal divisions within U.S. society, together paint a picture of a major power in decline. U.S. planners preparing for the next Summit of the Americas need to remember that. The decrease in U.S. capacity is, moreover, undeniable. American negotiators will need, consequently, to temper expectations of what the United States will be able to do with the region in the near term. That said, it is profoundly in U.S. national interest to reassert itself as the region’s international partner of choice going forward.
Patrick Duddy is the director of Duke University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Affairs. During a long career as a Foreign Service officer, he was posted frequently Latin America. His last overseas assignment was as the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela. In Washington, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and was responsible for oversight of the Western Hemisphere Office for Economic Policy and Summit Coordination along with other portfolios.