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Shifting the Balance

Obama and the Americas

edited by Abraham F. Lowenthal, Theodore J. Piccone, and Laurence Whitehead

Publication Year: 2011

In early 2009, at the start of a new administration in Washington, the Brookings Institution Press published The Obama Administration and the Americas: Agenda for Change, offering a roadmap for a fresh approach to U.S. relations with its neighbors. Now, at the midway point of that presidential administration, the editors of that insightful volume follow up with Shifting the Balance: Obama and the Americas, an authoritative and critical look at what President Obama and his team have done in regard to Latin America and the Caribbean, how they have been received in the region, and what steps should be taken in the future.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Front Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5

Table of Contents

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pp. 6-7

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pp. 8-11

The Obama administration has been in office nearly two years, long enough to determine its approach and priorities and to set them in motion. Although President Obama?s approval ratings remain extraordinarily high in Latin America, there are some indications that the grace period is over. First, the pillars that the U.S. administration has set as priorities in its hemispheric ...

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The Obama Administration and the Americas

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pp. 12-39

Barack Obama entered the U.S. presidency with a daunting agenda. At home he faced deep economic recession, a near collapse of the country?s financial institutions, rising unemployment, decaying infrastructure, a dys-functional health insurance system, and countless other accumulated prob-lems. Abroad he inherited two costly and unpopular wars, the continuing ...

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Mexico and the United States: The Search for a Strategic Vision

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pp. 40-53

As usual, most Mexicans viewed the election of a new U.S. president in 2008 with high expectations. It did not much matter that Mexico had not figured prominently in Barack Obama?s electoral campaign, or that he had never set foot on Mexican territory. Mexicans hoped that he would aban-don the kind of unilateral exercise of power practiced by the outgoing ad-...

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Obama and Brazil

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pp. 54-65

When Barack Obama met Brazil?s Luiz In?cio Lula da Silva for the first time in March 2009, his tone was deferential. Not unlike his predecessor, Obama praised the ?progressive, forward-looking leadership? qualities of his Brazilian counterpart and underlined the importance of Brazil?s increasing role in global affairs.1 However, there was not much to the meeting beyond ...

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The United States and Colombia: Recalibrating the Relationship

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pp. 66-79

The United States and Colombia have enjoyed a long and close, yet often complicated, relationship that has gone through various stages. In light of the changed political environment both in Washington and in Bogot? under the new administration inaugurated in August 2010, the time has come to rethink that relationship. Such a rethinking might begin with the current moment....

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The Chavez Challenge for Obama: An Inconvenient Marriage or Frosty Separation

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pp. 80-96

Ideology, geopolitics, and domestic political dynamics in Venezuela and the United States make for a volatile relationship between the Obama and Ch?vez administrations. Ever since his election in 1998, President Hugo Ch?vez has been trying to create a new model of politics and economics, and to challenge U.S. dominance in the region and the world. Through a strategy ...

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U.S.-Bolivian Relations: Behind the Impasse

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pp. 97-110

Bolivia is in the midst of rapid social and political change. Thirty years ago it was a predominantly rural society, based on Andean mining and the ever-present legacy of the 1952 national revolution?which had the close back-ing of the United States. Along with most of South America, it was at the end of a decade of repressive and reactionary military rule. Today Bolivia ...

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Obama's Cuba Policy: The End of the "New Beginning"

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pp. 111-124

When Barack Obama was elected the forty-fourth president of the United States in November 2008, his victory raised hopes in many quarters that Washington and Havana would begin at last to overcome decades of an-tagonism. Even Fidel Castro, the ailing eighty-two-year-old former presi-dent of Cuba, praised the new American president as ?intelligent, educated ...

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The Honduran Crisis and the Obama Administration

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pp. 125-142

In the early hours of June 28, 2009, military personnel arrested Honduras?s president Manuel Zelaya at his home in Tegucigalpa. Clad in his pajamas, he was led at gunpoint and put on a plane bound for Costa Rica. His oust-ing capped months of torrid conflict between Zelaya and nearly every other political actor and institution in Honduras, ranging from the Supreme Court ...

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Haiti: Life beyond Survival

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pp. 143-155

The catastrophic earthquake of January 12, 2010, has had a devastating im-pact on all aspects of Haitian society: social, economic, political, and cul-tural. No aspect of Haitian life was unaffected. The quake will long remain a horrific calamity in the collective memory of Haitians, clearly marked by a Most painful has been the loss of life, estimated to be between 230,000 and ...

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The Democracy Agenda in the Americas: The Case for Multilateral Action

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pp. 156-175

Since the 1980s U.S. foreign policy, at least rhetorically, has emphasized de-mocracy and human rights in its approach to Latin America. While respect for liberal democracy has improved markedly in the region, countertrends in places like Venezuela, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Honduras, along with the entrenched status of the Castro regime in Cuba, keep these issues high on the ...

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Obama and the Americas: Old Hopes, New Risks

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pp. 176-193

In chapter 1, Abraham Lowenthal provides a judicious overview of the hopes for change in the Americas raised by the advent of the Obama administra-tion in January 2009, despite the complexities of internal bureaucratic poli-tics that hedge in U.S. leadership. He gives four good reasons for keeping alive modest but positive expectations: the importance of Latin America for ...


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pp. 194-195


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pp. 196-206

Back Cover

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p. 207-207

E-ISBN-13: 9780815705635
E-ISBN-10: 0815705638

Page Count: 193
Publication Year: 2011