.
U

nder the Trump administration, policy towards Latin America was marked by combative rhetoric, cutting off foreign aid, and an announcement of a return to the Monroe Doctrine that had been declared dead during the Obama administration. In many ways, this limited the ability of the administration to pursue a cooperative relationship with the region. While there may be some areas where the Trump administration’s approach to Latin America should be continued, the Biden administration needs to turn the page and shift U.S.-Latin American foreign policy.

It is critical that the Biden-Harris approach to Latin America seeks to address the shared challenges facing the Western Hemisphere, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic. As many pundits and advocates have noted, there is a need for the Biden administration to resurrect Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy as an approach to relations with Latin America. Under the Good Neighbor Policy, FDR sought to discard U.S. interventionism in Latin America and ushered in a Golden Age of U.S.-Latin American cooperation. The period was marked by reductions in trade barriers, mutual respect in foreign policy, and attempts to develop a shared Pan-American identity. As with the Great Depression that FDR faced, the COVID-19 pandemic has significant impacts both at home and abroad. These two sides of the coin are also inextricably linked. As such, the Biden administration should create a Good Neighbor Policy for the 21st century that responds to the pandemic and benefits both the United States and Latin America for years to come.

The Americas have been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the three countries with the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths are all in the Western Hemisphere: The United States, Brazil, and Mexico. While nations have sought to tackle the pandemic within their own borders, the virus easily crosses between countries, emphasizing the need to collectively respond to the crisis. The World Health Organization and the United Nations warn about vaccine nationalism and the slow vaccine rollout in many countries in the Americas as hindering these efforts. The United States should not only to promote vaccination efforts at home, but develop partnerships with labs across the Americas to manufacture and distribute the vaccine. This supports the recovery of the region and serves U.S. interests. As the United States vies for influence in Latin America vis-à-vis China, “vaccine diplomacy” can allow the United States to highlight its support for the region, an action that China has already undertaken. Providing aid and support to the region is also an important tool for bolstering the U.S. image in the region, particularly after the Trump Administration’s heavy-handed approach to the region.

It is equally important that the United States work with the region to address the economic fallout of the pandemic. According to recent forecasts from the International Monetary Fund, the Latin America and Caribbean region experienced a 7.4% contraction in 2020 and is only expected to see GDP growth of 4.1% in 2021. The Americas are economically interdependent and responding to economic crisis requires ensuring that the economies of neighboring states are also recovering. The United States should promote trade and further integration within the Americas. While this has long been a goal of U.S. foreign policy, the pandemic recovery may encourage more states to participate. However, another page should be taken from the Good Neighbor Policy—the United States should not create inequitable trading partnerships but respect the interests of all parties involved. FDR reduced tariffs unilaterally towards Latin America as a part of the Good Neighbor Policy and as a sign of friendship towards the region.

Addressing the fallout of the pandemic in the United States and Latin America will not be a simple task, but working together to address them and respecting partners across the region will make the task more feasible. Creating a framework that allows for mutual respect and allows for disagreement on some issues can allow the Biden administration to usher in a new gilded age of U.S.-Latin American relations. While the challenges that the Americas face are great, addressing them offers the opportunity to rewrite Inter-American affairs.

About
Adam Ratzlaff
:
Adam Ratzlaff is a contributing editor with The Diplomatic Courier and a specialist in Latin American foreign and public affairs.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

a global affairs media network

www.diplomaticourier.com

When Your Neighbor is Ill, Be A Good Neighbor

Photo by Robert Nyman via Unsplash.

March 15, 2021

U

nder the Trump administration, policy towards Latin America was marked by combative rhetoric, cutting off foreign aid, and an announcement of a return to the Monroe Doctrine that had been declared dead during the Obama administration. In many ways, this limited the ability of the administration to pursue a cooperative relationship with the region. While there may be some areas where the Trump administration’s approach to Latin America should be continued, the Biden administration needs to turn the page and shift U.S.-Latin American foreign policy.

It is critical that the Biden-Harris approach to Latin America seeks to address the shared challenges facing the Western Hemisphere, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic. As many pundits and advocates have noted, there is a need for the Biden administration to resurrect Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy as an approach to relations with Latin America. Under the Good Neighbor Policy, FDR sought to discard U.S. interventionism in Latin America and ushered in a Golden Age of U.S.-Latin American cooperation. The period was marked by reductions in trade barriers, mutual respect in foreign policy, and attempts to develop a shared Pan-American identity. As with the Great Depression that FDR faced, the COVID-19 pandemic has significant impacts both at home and abroad. These two sides of the coin are also inextricably linked. As such, the Biden administration should create a Good Neighbor Policy for the 21st century that responds to the pandemic and benefits both the United States and Latin America for years to come.

The Americas have been particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the three countries with the highest number of COVID-19 related deaths are all in the Western Hemisphere: The United States, Brazil, and Mexico. While nations have sought to tackle the pandemic within their own borders, the virus easily crosses between countries, emphasizing the need to collectively respond to the crisis. The World Health Organization and the United Nations warn about vaccine nationalism and the slow vaccine rollout in many countries in the Americas as hindering these efforts. The United States should not only to promote vaccination efforts at home, but develop partnerships with labs across the Americas to manufacture and distribute the vaccine. This supports the recovery of the region and serves U.S. interests. As the United States vies for influence in Latin America vis-à-vis China, “vaccine diplomacy” can allow the United States to highlight its support for the region, an action that China has already undertaken. Providing aid and support to the region is also an important tool for bolstering the U.S. image in the region, particularly after the Trump Administration’s heavy-handed approach to the region.

It is equally important that the United States work with the region to address the economic fallout of the pandemic. According to recent forecasts from the International Monetary Fund, the Latin America and Caribbean region experienced a 7.4% contraction in 2020 and is only expected to see GDP growth of 4.1% in 2021. The Americas are economically interdependent and responding to economic crisis requires ensuring that the economies of neighboring states are also recovering. The United States should promote trade and further integration within the Americas. While this has long been a goal of U.S. foreign policy, the pandemic recovery may encourage more states to participate. However, another page should be taken from the Good Neighbor Policy—the United States should not create inequitable trading partnerships but respect the interests of all parties involved. FDR reduced tariffs unilaterally towards Latin America as a part of the Good Neighbor Policy and as a sign of friendship towards the region.

Addressing the fallout of the pandemic in the United States and Latin America will not be a simple task, but working together to address them and respecting partners across the region will make the task more feasible. Creating a framework that allows for mutual respect and allows for disagreement on some issues can allow the Biden administration to usher in a new gilded age of U.S.-Latin American relations. While the challenges that the Americas face are great, addressing them offers the opportunity to rewrite Inter-American affairs.

About
Adam Ratzlaff
:
Adam Ratzlaff is a contributing editor with The Diplomatic Courier and a specialist in Latin American foreign and public affairs.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.