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The Inter-American System in an Era of Declining United States Hegemony

Link: http://doi.org/10.23870/marlas.307

As published in the Middle Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies, Volume 4, Number 2 (2020), pp.194–212.

Author: Thomas Andrew O'Keefe

ABSTRACT

The inter-American system encompasses the institutional and legal framework promoted by the United States of America following the first International Conference of American States in Washington, DC, in 1890 as a means of consolidating US hegemony in the Western Hemisphere. After WW II, it became most identified with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (aka the Rio Treaty). The first significant challenges to US dominance and leadership within the inter-American system appeared in the 1970s and 1980s, although it did not become symptomatic of a wider decline in US hegemony in Latin America until the administration of George W. Bush. In particular, many countries withdrew from the Rio Treaty, refused to participate in the inter-American human rights system, and utilized the OAS to repudiate US foreign policy on Cuba and the “War on Drugs.” Furthermore, new hemispheric organizations appeared such as the Union of South American Nations and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States that purposefully excluded the United States. During the Obama years, a frustrated US Congress threatened to cut US contributions, while administration officials retreated from taking a proactive role in the OAS. For its part, the Trump government has boycotted hearings of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and reduced its funding. The article concludes with a discussion of the inter-American system without the domineering presence of the nation which spawned it to promote its own geopolitical priorities, precisely when an effective regional body is crucial for addressing many hemispheric challenges.

ACCESS FULL ARTICLE AT: http://doi.org/10.23870/marlas.307

01/06/21. 10:55:00 pm. Categories: Articles ,

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