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Panama’s UNSC Strategy

In the newest volume of Diplomatic History, I argue that Panama effectively used its temporary seat on the UN Security Council in 1974 to reshape the international agenda and reframe the U.S. and world perception of the Panama Canal negotiations. The article is called “Putting the Canal on the Map: Panamanian Agenda-setting and the 1973 Security Council Meetings.”

See the article here (sPanama Canalubscription required, so you might want to try through your library).

The abstract follows.

In the early 1970s, Panama’s negotiations with the United States over the status of the Panama Canal ground to a standstill. General Omar Torrijos had rejected treaties left unratified by previous governments only to receive a less generous offer from the Nixon administration. Realizing that the talks were being ignored in Washington, the Panamanian government worked to internationalize the previously bilateral issue, creating and exploiting a high-profile forum: Extraordinary meetings of the UN Security Council in March 1973 held in Panama City. In those meetings, Panama isolated the United States in order to raise the issue’s profile and amplify the costs of leaving the matter unsettled. Using underutilized Panamanian sources, this article examines that meeting, the succeeding progress, and the effect of this early stage on the final negotiations several years later. The case also illustrates how, during the unsettled international environment of the 1970s, a small state utilized international organizations to obtain attention and support for its most important cause.

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