fundamentally a function of Getting hemispheric policy
policies and choices that the to work more effectively in
nation itself makes, not the re- Washington requires straight-
sult of its relationship with the forward, though not simple,
United States. Such relations things.
can accelerate the develop- First, policy must be put in a
ment process by underwriting broader context of national se-
sound political and economic curity and domestic relevance.
policies, but the primary de- Energy cooperation and im-
velopment burden is and al- migration reform, for example,
ways has been domestic. are a tailor-made issues in this
By internalizing this real- regard.
ity, Latin American leaders can Second, the complexity of
focus their energies on the eco- policymaking in Washington
nomic and political reforms means that most issues of im-
necessary to develop their portance in the region are not
economies. One example: they solely up to the White House.
can take direct steps to attract Congress, the independent ju-
to the region the global capi- diciary and other independent
tal flows required for develop- government institutions, in-
ment by improving the climate terest groups, public opinion,
for domestic and foreign in- and the press all help deter-
vestors through education and mine whether and when the
workforce development, reg- moment is right to advance
ulatory modernization, tax various issues.
policy, and the rule of law, to Third, 2009 will bring an en-
name just a few. Doing the larged Democratic Party ma-
hard work in these areas will jority in Congress. This will
help build the region in a man- bring greater attention to a
ner consistent with the desire number of issues that have
to build a mature relationship been on the party’s domestic
with the U.S. based on part- agenda since 2000, including a
nership in the achievement of healthy respect for organized
common goals. labor’s priorities which—it
This is already happening in goes without saying—do not
many countries. include initiatives for hemi-
Brazil continues to grow ec- spheric trade expansion.
onomically, and is taking di- What do these Washington
rect steps to reduce poverty realities mean for policy rec-and reposition itself in the ommendations?
global economy. Chile’s free- It’s not wrong to call for
trade-agreement with the U. S. “more attention” to the region,
has been a boon for that na- but unless a solid case can be
tion; but it was Chile’s clear- made to pursue specific hemi-eyed vision of the agreement spheric priorities within the
as a catalyst to accelerate its broader national and eco-existing development path nomic security and political
that has made the agreement context, recommendations
such a resounding success. will fall on deaf ears.
Mexico, Central America, Peru, It’s appropriate to call for
and others are similarly using expanded trade and invest-trade agreements with the U.S. ment as an important, though
to strengthen their develop- not sufficient, driver of hemi-ment. Colombia and Panama spheric development, but the
will also, hopefully, have the current model of trade and inopportunity to do this soon. vestment promotion will need
to be reworked with a nod to
the politics of trade expansion
both in Washington and in the
Finally, it’s important to
take steps together to reduce
poverty in the hemisphere, but
without an appreciation of
what drives national and regional development in a global
economy, or a keen appreciation of the tools available
to the U.S. for such activities,
policy recommendations will
The key is to understand
how Washington works, keeping expectations realistic,
continuously promoting the
hemispheric agenda and focusing on the specific initiatives where progress can be
made. Keeping these principles in mind will offer the
best chance.for revitalizing a true U.S. partnership with the Americas.
of the Council of
the Americas in
and from 1995 to
1998 was senior
adviser to the
special envoy for