U.S. Policy in Latin America – Fall 2017

Course number: PUBPOL 590

Course attributes:

Course description:

To the extent possible, this course will examine the major elements of U.S. policy toward the hemisphere as expressed in the planning documents, policy pronouncements, and legislation of the U.S. government.  We will attempt to answer the question: what did U.S. policy makers say they were hoping to accomplish in the region and how successful were they? The course will also introduce students to the interagency process and the range of departments, agencies, and offices with an influence on policy formulation and implementation.  Finally, the course will examine in some detail key policy prescriptions: the formula for economic modernization know as “the Washington Consensus,” Plan Colombia and the War on Drugs, the Summit of the Americas process, and efforts to achieve hemispheric free trade.  The course will also consider the significance of the Obama Administration’s decision to restore relations with Cuba, the much-discussed “pivot to Asia”, and the early signals of both change and continuity coming from the new Trump administration.

With the end of the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America was recast. The global Manichaeism of the previous era dissolved with the break-up of the Soviet Union.  For the United States, it became possible to see the Western Hemisphere in a new light.  Absent any real ideological challenges or conventional security threats, U.S. policy toward the region reflected new priorities: specifically a determination to help the nations of the region consolidate and extend political gains, to encourage the overhaul of the region’s always vulnerable economies through structural reform and free trade, to promote regional integration, and fight drug trafficking.

The underlying assumption fueling this policy evolution was that by strengthening representative democracy, spurring development and initiating a process of regional economic integration with democratically elected governments, the interests of all of the countries of the region, including those of the United States, would be advanced.  In the nearly 16 years since 9/11, new factors have arisen which forced the United States to reassess its approach in the region. Illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and drug-related violence have become perennial irritants in our relations with the hemisphere as well as fodder in our domestic political debate, especially in connection with Mexico.

Anti-U.S. populism, particularly in the Andean region, surged and more recently receded. Brazil emerged as the most influential political nation in South America, but recently mired in an economic downturn is struggling with a corruption scandal of historic proportions.  Extra-regional actors, like China, arrived and altered the historically comfortable position of the United States. All of this happened precisely at a moment when the Western Hemisphere has arguably become both more independent of the U.S. than it has ever been, but also more economically important.  Sixteen years into the new millennium, it is now possible to consider the degree to which U.S. policy in Latin America since the end of the Cold War has been effective.

Instructor biography:

Ambassador Patrick Duddy is the Semans International Visiting Professor in Duke University’s Office of Global Affairs and serves as a senior advisor for Global Strategy. He is also director of Duke University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean studies. He teaches in both the Fuqua School of Business and the Sanford School of Public Policy. Before joining the Duke faculty, Ambassador Duddy served as a U.S. diplomat for nearly thirty years.  At his retirement from the U.S. Foreign Service, he was one of the Department of State’s most senior Latin American specialists with exceptionally broad experience in trade, energy, public affairs and crisis management. From 2007 to 2010 he served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for both President Bush and President Obama.

Prior to his assignment to Venezuela, Ambassador Duddy was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (DAS) for the Western Hemisphere. In that capacity, he was directly responsible for the Office of Economic Policy and Summit Coordination, which included the hemispheric energy portfolio, as well for the Offices of Brazil/ Southern Cone Affairs and of Caribbean Affairs.

As U.S. Consul General in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ambassador Duddy was the ranking American official in the world’s fourth largest city and directed the largest U.S. consulate general in the western hemisphere.   In San Paulo, Duddy served as the senior USG liaison to one of the most dynamic and sophisticated business communities in the world and as a board member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sao Paulo, the largest American Chamber in the world outside the U.S.  He also served as the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia.

Prior to his assignment in Brazil, Duddy served in a variety of positions around the hemisphere and in Washington including senior positions at the U.S. embassies in Bolivia and Panama. Earlier in his career, he also served in U.S. embassies in Paraguay, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Chile.

Duddy has served as U.S. head of delegation to international conferences on counter-narcotics, energy, and assistance for Haiti.  He has spoken to a wide range of private sector groups, world affairs councils, NGOs, and universities both in the United States and in Latin America.  He has taught at the National War College in Washington, D.C. and lectured at the Foreign Service Institute of the Department State.  He has published op-ed columns on U.S. foreign and trade policy in English, Spanish and Portuguese and been interviewed by NPR, the BBC, and the Voice of America among others.  Duddy is the recipient of the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award and a Presidential Meritorious Service Award.  In May of 2012, Duddy was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree by Husson University. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese.