Latin American disengagement from the United States secular trends of increased autonomy, 1948-1983.
Committee ChairVolgy, Thomas J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractTwo major goals guide this work: first, to empirically describe patterns of secular Latin American behavior in their foreign policy vis a vis the United States; second, to theoretically explain such patterns. Trends of foreign policy behavior in three dimensions: economic, political and diplomatic, were studied for twenty Latin American nations during 36 years. Pooled time-series cross-section statistical analysis was utilized for explanatory purposes. Results suggest empirical evidence to accept that the Latin American political, economic and diplomatic foreign policy behavior towards the US shows a sustained tendency towards disengagement (or increased distancing) for the 1948-83 period. Economic disengagement seems to precede political disengagement. Economic disengagement is recorded in nineteen out of twenty countries in the study, while political disengagement occurs in all twenty. Diplomatic disengagement is recorded in thirteen out of the twenty countries included. Six models, each representing a different theoretical approach, were tested to determine which of them best explains the occurrence of foreign policy disengagement in Latin America: (1) Declining hegemony; (2) Dependency; (3) National Capabilities; (4) World Systems; (5) Integrative model; (6) Interaction effects model. Model 6 proved to have the highest statistical significance. Geographic location and the relative position in the world system are the two sets of variables that best explain foreign policy distancing from the hegemon. Geographic closeness to the US is associated with countries showing greater verbal (political) autonomy in the UN, while engaging in greater levels of convergence in their diplomatic behavior vis a vis the US. Economic disengagement is best explained by the relative position of countries in the World System. Opposite from what is predicted by the theory, as countries move upwardly in the system, they tend to build greater levels of economic convergence with the US as they share common economic interests.
Degree ProgramPolitical Science