Engaged LET’S GET
Hope for a new era in collective engagement in the
hemisphere is fading. It’s time for governments in the
region to take the lead on issues of mutual interest
with the U.S.—security, democracy and prosperity.
BY JAIME ALEMÁN
The future of inter- Americanaffairsis anything but cer- tain. Our divisions and struggles are not new, but our troubles and inter- ests have become
increasingly intertwined. The challenges facing our hemisphere—
poverty and inequality, political stability
and citizen insecurity—have not dissipated. But for too long, we have
been unable to settle our differences
to find common ground and create a
path for a better future.
The state of inter-American affairs
today is an unmistakable outcome of
our turbulent struggles of years past.
Despite a renewed sense of hope for
the region this past year, we have been
unable to coalesce around the good-
will that was created. Instead of constructively working together to resolve
many of today’s difficult challenges,
we are left with a sense of loss.
Every member of our community
of nations plays a key part in the inter-American system. But, more importantly, it is the role each country
assumes that defines its scope for success and that of the hemisphere as a
whole. That is not to say that the success of countries hinges completely
on the international system, but our
international efforts reinforce our domestic policies by bringing greater
prosperity and stability at home.
At the end of the Cold War, a future
of deteriorating cooperation was not
the expected path of the Americas.
Exhaustion from political turbulence
for some, troubled finances for oth-
ers, and the collective yearning for a
new era in Latin America triggered a
shift away from the polarizing poli-
tics of earlier decades. A bold vision of
democracy, social justice and respect
for human rights, together with the
economic prescriptions of the Wash-
ington Consensus, promised to usher
in a new era of prosperity and peace
in the hemisphere.