Latin America Confronts the United States

Latin America Confronts the United States

One of Foreign Affairs Best Books of 2016!

“[A] seminal contribution to international relations theory.”
-Richard Feinberg, University of California, San Diego; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Former NSC Senior Director for Inter-American Affairs

“Tom Long has written an important book, and its message could not be more significant for those interested in the Americas on the world stage as the second decade of the century comes to a close.”
Gene E. Bigler, Journal of Latin American Studies

“Tom Long’s masterful Latin America Confronts the United States … is one of the more sophisticated recent contributions to the literature on US–Latin American relations.”
Dexter Boniface, Rollins College

Latin America Confronts the United States: Asymmetry and Influence (Cambridge University Press, 2015) is now available in paperback and hardcover through Cambridge and Amazon. You can also get it for Kindle at Amazon, including the first chapter for free! It is available at hundreds of libraries worldwide, so check for it or ask your library to add a copy to its collection.

Drawing on research in six countries, the book examines how Latin American leaders are able to overcome power asymmetries to influence US foreign policy. The book provides in-depth explorations of key moments in post-World War II inter-American relations – foreign economic policy before the Alliance for Progress, the negotiation of the Panama Canal Treaties, the expansion of trade through NAFTA, and the growth of counternarcotics in Plan Colombia. The new evidence challenges earlier, US-centric explanations of these momentous events. Though differences in power were fundamental to each of these cases, relative weakness did not prevent Latin American leaders from aggressively pursuing their interests vis-à-vis the United States. Drawing on studies of foreign policy and international relations, the book examines how Latin American leaders achieved this influence – and why they sometimes failed.


 Featured in Foreign Affairs “The Best of Books 2016”!

“…an excellent book not only because of its academic rigor and quite original focus and approach, but most of all because it makes the reader think deeply and widely about U.S.-Latin America relations and more broadly. It revives the diplomatic-history approach to international relations.”
Gian Luca Gardini in H-Diplo/ISSF Roundtable

“[T]his volume represents a valuable contribution to the project of rethinking the relations between the powerful and the less powerful within a rapidly changing global order.”
Laura Macdonald in H-Diplo/ISSF Roundtable

“[A] groundbreaking study and contribution to an emerging scholarship that seeks to globalize international relations by examining it through the lens of the South, the so-called Third World, and the perspective of weaker states.’”
-Juan Pablo Scarfi in H-Diplo/ISSF Roundtable

“Long’s insight is that small does not always mean weak or cowardly. Given how often the United States is assumed to control all destinies in its geopolitical backyard, this tail-wagging-the-dog narrative provides ample reason to reconsider the conventional wisdom of US hegemony in Latin America.”
-Russell Crandall in Survival

“Tom Long’s book does stand out for its analytical rigor and should pave the way for more theoretically motivated scholarship on US–Latin American relations.”
-Dexter Boniface in Latin American Research Review

“Long joins a growing list of scholars who have challenged the deeply held assumption that hegemonic U.S. power has left little space for Latin American countries to take the initiative in their relationships with Washington. He demonstrates that in fact, when dealing with the United States, capable Latin American leaders have not only successfully defended their interests but also astutely intervened in U.S. domestic politics to alter the way that Washington defines and pursues its interests in the region.”
-Richard Feinberg in Foreign Affairs

“His greatest theoretical contribution arises from the strength of his empirical work. … Long investigates four cases in which “the Latin American leaders were the demandeurs” for US policy change … Those cases are based upon archival work conducted in six countries and three languages, along with elite interviews for the more recent cases. And each of them convincingly shows that Latin American leaders were able to exert influence that changed US policy.”
Paul Musgrave in International Studies Review

“Making extensive use of archival sources in and outside the US, as well as in-depth elite interviews with key protagonists across the hemisphere, Long convincingly argues not only that the US did not always get its own way, but also that it is possible for presumably powerless countries in the region to move US policy. … This book is an excellent contribution to our understanding of US–Latin American relations and an important read for anyone interested in this area.”
-Sean Burges, International Affairs

“[T]he book provides a fresh look at a discussion that is often dominated by Latin American worries about US intervention, with little attention paid to ways for Latin America to exercise influence in the United States. .. Long’s book thus provides an important analysis for Latin American scholars, but also for those studying regional dynamics elsewhere, for example in Asia, where China’s growing influence is an ever more important topic.”
-Oliver Stuenkel, International Journal

“[The case studies] actually offer authoritative diplomatic histories of these important regional developments. The quality of Long’s analysis of these globally significant incidents in US–Latin American relations endows this book with utility far beyond the expected range of courses in International Politics and Latin American Studies.
-Gene E. Bigler, Journal of Latin American Studies

“[Latin America Confronts the United States] is based on some excellent fieldwork, with extensive archival research and interviews with key participants. So beyond the analysis itself, it’s an interesting read.”
-Gregory Weeks, Two Weeks Notice

“Tom Long’s valuable study contributes to this endeavour, by exploring how Latin American countries have used a diverse toolbox of strategies to influence the outcomes of US foreign policy. This is a perspective that fits more naturally with the institutionalist position within international relations in which smaller, weaker states are able to inflate their power in a context of multilateral institutions. What makes it so interesting, however, is that the case studies employed by Long as evidence refer equally to the era in which the Cold War exaggerated US power as to what came next.”
-Gavin O’Toole, Latin American Review of Books

“Estando o no de acuerdo con sus conclusiones, este libro es un aporte fundamental para entender las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y América Latina y el Caribe, a través de un abordaje complejo, que a la vez que reconoce las profundas asimetrías entre Estados Unidos y sus vecinos del sur, intenta mostrar cómo los países no centrales pueden desplegar una cierta capacidad de influencia en los más poderosos.
-Leandro Morgenfeld, Observatorio Latinoamericano y Caribeño

“Más allá de lo aquí señalado, este libro es una obra magnífica que se
sostiene por sí misma. … En suma, Latin America Confronts the
United States: Asymmetry and Influence es una lectura obligada para todos
los interesados en cuestionar si los débiles sufren lo que deben, desde
el ámbito histórico, teórico o práctico.”
-María José Urzúa Valverde, Revista Mexicana de Política Exterior

About the Author

Tom Long is a Reader in Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and an Affilated Professor at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas in Mexico City. His research explores U.S.-Latin American relations, U.S. and Latin American foreign policies, and the dynamics of asymmetrical relationships in world politics. He previously taught at the Univeristy of Reading, CIDE in Mexico City, and American University’s School of International Service. He was a 2017-2018 Fulbright Scholar for Chile, and he has also been a visiting fellow at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro and Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. His articles have appeared in an array of journals, including International Organization, World Politics, International Security,  International Affairs, International Studies Review, Diplomatic History, Latin American Research Review, Bulletin of Latin American Research, and Foro Internacional. He has also written for several policy and popular oulets and frequently discusses inter-American relations and Latin American politics with international press, TV, radio, and online outlets.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s