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Showing posts from April, 2008

Chilean Foreign Policy: 2008

What is Chile's current foreign policy?Chile's current foreign policy strongly resembles the foreign policy of the Portales period, emphasizing political neutrality, non-intervention, sovereign equality, regional stability, and commercial expansion. The types of problems it faces are also similar to that era, but not specific to it, insofar as it has yet to resolve territorial disputes with Argentina, Bolivia, and Peru.[1] However, its relative economic success and interest based diplomacy, as opposed to a variable ideology-driven policy like those of other nations around the region, have given Chile a position of power within the region disproportionate to its size and small population. Like Brazil, Chile's foreign policy can be divided between regional and extra-regional efforts, [2] but it can also be further subdivided between its commercial and political agenda, with its extra-regional efforts focused primarily on commerce while the principle aim of its regional effor…

Chilean Foreign Policy: Traditions

What are the relevant historic issues in Chile's foreign policy?Since the early 1830s, Chile has developed a reputation for its pragmatic foreign policy, traditionally letting national interests take precedent over ideology. Starting from at least as early as the Prieto administration there was an explicit understanding of the challenges of Chile's situation, isolated from its neighbors by deserts and mountains on the southern Pacific coast and far from European trade routes in the north Atlantic. Accordingly it focused its efforts on policies that would help it protect and defend itself.[1]Strategic HistoryStrategically this meant building a strong navy to defend its almost 3,000 miles of coast on the South Pacific as well competing with Argentina over the South Atlantic. It sought to expand its territory into the Patagonia and fought two wars with Peru and Bolivia, annexing large portions of both countries during the War of the Pacific (1879 – 1884). This war left Bolivia wi…

Chilean Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

Who are the relevant actors in the creation of Chile's national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within?Chile's current Constitution was approved in a national plebiscite in 1980 during the military dictatorship. It has since been amended nine times, but retains the strong executive tradition common in Chile since the end of the Parliamentary Republic in 1925.[1] The government is divided between an executive branch, containing 20 ministries; a bicameral legislature, consisting of a 47 member Senate and a 120 member Chamber of Deputies; and a Judiciary branch. Foreign policy is controlled by the executive branch through the Ministry of Foreign Relations. This ministry is in charge of "planning, directing, coordinating, executing, and diffusing the foreign policy formulated by the President of the Republic." [2] It is responsible for coordinating all activities of all the other state ministries and public institutions as well as overseeing all issues…

Brazilian Foreign Policy: 2008

What is Brazil's current foreign policy? "Brazil is not a small country. It does not, and it cannot, have the foreign policy of a small country."[1] These words, from the current Minister of External Relations express the essence of Brazil's foreign policy. It is a country in pursuit of major power status and, as such, is trying to change the global balance of power in its own favor. Internationally it chooses to pursue its goals through multilateral institutions where it is skilled at organizing consensus positions. It argues for greater equality among sovereign nations and maintains the policy of non-intervention.[2] These positions reflect a nation close to, but not within, the global circle of power. Any widening of the circle could stand to benefit Brazil first. However, to differ with political realists slightly, power is but a means to an end and the fins of Brazil's foreign policy go further than the mere acquisition of influence. Brazil's current foreig…

Brazilian Foreign Policy: Traditions

What are the historic conditions of Brazil's foreign policy?Like Argentina, we will divide the historic conditions of Brazil's foreign policy into three groups; strategic, political and economic.Strategically, Brazil (and Portugal during colonial times) has sought to expand its influence in South America and the South Atlantic. At times this involved aggressive policies with Argentina and other neighbors, but since the end of the Second World War it has achieved this dominance through national industrialization and military arms acquisitions.Politically, Brazil is perhaps best known for its work in multilateral institutions, its politics of non-intervention, and a doctrine of sovereign equality among nations. It has generally followed these principles since its coming of age as a republic in the late 19th century and continues to work toward the democratization of the global order today.Economically, Brazil has tried to transform itself from a primary materials export economy …

Brazilian Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

In this next section we will discuss Brazil's foreign policy. As we mentioned earlier, Brazil is unique among its neighbors, representing roughly half of the continent physically, economically, and in population, it is also the only nation in South America who is a major world player outside the region.[1] This fact is in large part due to its professional diplomatic service and the clear articulation of national foreign policy. Accordingly, any discussion of Brazil's current foreign policy must take into consideration its relevant traditions. We will ask the same three questions in this section as we used in the last section on Argentina: 1) Who are the relevant actors in the creation of national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within? 2) What are the relevant historic foreign policies? 3) What is the current foreign policy?1) Who are the relevant actors in the creation of Brazil's national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within?Brazi…

Latin America News Review

(Apr. 14, 2008) Here are some of the big issues to follow this week around Latin America. The EU begins a visit to Bolivia Monday to help mediate in the conflict over the new national constitution; the lower eastern half of the country has threatened secession over the current draft. Ecuador and Colombia renewed the cross-border verbal sniping with President Correa's critical comments in Mexico, to which the Colombian government leveled the harsher criticism, acussing Correa of contradictions, saying the government had foreknowledge of Reyes movements and was not unaware of his presence in Ecuador. Normalization of bilateral relations will probably not happen this week.Ecuador's President also called for the creation of a new Organization of Latin American States during his visit to Mexico (perhaps similar to the seemingly defunct South American one) based on the Grupo de Rio. Correa is upset over what he calls U.S. manipulation of the special meeting of the Organization of Am…

Argentina's Foreign Policy: 2008

What is Argentina's current foreign policy? To understand Argentina's current foreign policy it is necessary to understand the economic crisis of 2001 and its effect on what we are calling the 'current' policies of former President Nestor Kirchner and his wife, the current President, Cristina Fernandez. As we mentioned in the last section, the government of Carlos Menem embraced open market liberalization, influenced by the neoliberal policies of the Washington Consensus which, it is claimed, were responsible for the financial crisis of 2001.[24] Accordingly, subsequent administrations, have tried to distance Argentina from both the policies and institutions of the Washington led financial institutions while balancing the realities of Argentina’s public debt and the need for foreign investment at home. The economic stimulus program begun by Kirchner has required increased government spending and the need to look for new sources of foreign investment, all while not appe…

Argentina's Foreign Policy: Traditions

What are the relevant historic issues in Argentina's foreign policy?The historic conditions of Argentina’s foreign policy can be divided into three groups; strategic, economic, and political. Strategically, Argentina has been preoccupied with containing Brazil and Chiles' influence in the southern cone, Perú in the Northwest, settling border conflicts with Chile, and regaining sovereignty of the Falkland/Malvinas, Georgias Sur, and Sandwich Sur islands from the United Kingdom.[5] Economically, Argentina has based their foreign policy on attracting foreign investment and finding markets for their export products. Politically, Argentina has taken an independent stance in international relations and fought for sovereign equality between nations.Strategic PolicySince the founding of the republic in the early 19th century Argentina’s foreign policy has consistently sought to define its territorial claims and become a leader in regional interstate politics. These two broad goals are…

Argentina's Foreign Policy: Actors and Institutions

Who are the relevant actors in the creation of national foreign policy and what structures do they operate within?The executive branch controls foreign policy in Argentina. It is composed of six secretaries, 10 ministers, a ministerial chief, and one military liaison; all appointed by the President.[1] While citizens have the right to propose legislation through their provincial representatives, the legislature does not have the right to decide issues related to foreign policy or international treaties. The president has the power to name and remove ministers, ambassadors and consular officers, sign international treaties, and regulate foreign trade through commercial agreements. The president is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces but must consult with the Senate and military high command before deploying military forces.The current President of Argentina is Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (b.1953), the wife of former president Néstor Kirchner. She is a lawyer and longtime mem…