Soft power and its impact on U.S. influence in Latin America
Cronin, Jason William
Trinkunas, Harold A.
Bruneau, Thomas C.
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The role of Latin America in U.S. foreign policy has ebbed and flowed for over 100 years. Over the last 15 years, the relationship between the United States and Latin America has seen a precipitous drop in both cooperation and cordiality. The amicable relationships that the United States once enjoyed with Brazil and Venezuela specifically have become acrimonious. With the United States' increased interest in completing a Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement by January, relations with Brazil are vital. The United States' continued dependence on imported petroleum from Venezuela and America's concern over Venezuela's growing relationship with Cuba make this country also important to U.S. foreign policy. The thesis focuses on the United States' ability to use its cultural influence (soft power) to positively effect U.S. relations with Brazil and Venezuela. By analyzing past and present effects of U.S. cultural influence in these two countries, the U.S. can better understand and appreciate the influence it wields as the world's only remaining super power. This thesis finds that despite historic evidence, the U.S. has had and continues to have a propensity to use soft power influence tactically, diminishing the effectiveness of its innate power and influence as being the global leader in military, economic, cultural, and technological matters. Conversely, the U.S. attempts to use its hard power (military and economic) strategically, thereby only breeding anti-Americanism globally.
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