Superpower Cooperation in South America

  • Howard J. Wiarda


The United States has long been thought of, and has thought of itself, as the hegemonic power in Latin America. In the Western Hemisphere, since 1898 in the circum Caribbean and somewhat later in South America, the United States has been supreme — economically, politically, and militarily. A variety of popular images and metaphors convey the point: the United States is referred to, by the Latin Americans, as the ‘colossus of the north’, the great ‘shark’ as opposed to the Latin American ‘sardines’, the ‘imperialists’, or, more neutrally, ‘the giant’. The metaphors used in the United States convey equally hegemonic images: Americans refer to the Latin American region as ‘our backyard’, the Caribbean as ‘our lake’, or, more kindly, ‘close to home’. United States hegemony has been so dominant for so long and the image of the ‘giant’ so pervasive that when Cole Blasier wrote his path-breaking study of the Soviet Union in Latin America, it is significant that he chose also to emphasize the US role by titling his book The Giant’s Rival: The USSR and Latin America.1 Even a book dealing with the Soviet Union in Latin America was obliged to stress the US role first.


Foreign Policy Dominican Republic South American Country Guerrilla Movement Guerrilla Group 
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  1. 1.
    C. Blasier, The Giant’s Rival: The U.S.S.R. and Latin America (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See the analyses provided in Howard J. Wiarda, In Search of Policy: The United States and Latin America (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1984)Google Scholar
  3. 4.
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  4. 5.
    For background see Blasier, op. cit.; ‘The Rising Soviet Presence in Latin America’, a special issue of World Affairs, vol. 149 (Fall, 1986); and Howard J. Wiarda and Mark Falcoff, The Communist Challenge in the Caribbean and Central America (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1987).Google Scholar
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  7. 8.
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  12. 15.
    See the book-length project being carried out at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, directed by Vladimir Tismaneanu and Howard J. Wiarda, on ‘The Crises in Communist Regimes’; see also the special issue of World Affairs, vol. 150, no. 3 (Winter 1987–8)Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Roger E. Kanet and Edward A. Kolodziej 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard J. Wiarda

There are no affiliations available

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