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Talons of the Eagle

Latin America, the United States, and the World

Fourth Edition

Peter H. Smith

Publication Date - December 2012

ISBN: 9780199856954

432 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $74.99

An eminent scholar's perspective on the interaction between global trends and inter-American affairs


Topical and up to date, Talons of the Eagle: Latin America, the United States, and the World, Fourth Edition, presents an eminent scholar's perspective on the interaction between global trends and inter-American affairs--a subject that has become crucially important in the current era. Rather than concentrating solely on U.S. policy, Peter H. Smith uniquely addresses the structural relationships between the two regions by focusing on international systems, the distribution of power, and the perception and pursuit of national interests. Throughout, this provocative text casts light on such contemporary issues as economic integration, drug trafficking, undocumented migration, and the rise of Latin America's "new left." It also analyzes Latin American reactions and responses to the U.S.--and to the rest of the world--in these complex and troubling times.

New to this Edition

  • Addition of two new chapters (one on immigration, another on drug trafficking)
  • Narrative brought up-to-date (to 2012)
  • Sharpening the distinction between "hard" and "soft" power.
  • Thoroughly rewritten and reorganized

About the Author(s)

Peter H. Smith is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Simón Bolívar Professor of Latin American Studies at the University of California, San Diego. A former president of the Latin American Studies Association, he is the author of more than twenty books, including Democracy in Latin America: Political Change in Comparative Perspective, Second Edition (2011) and coauthor of Modern Latin America, Seventh Edition (2019).

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 2007
September 1999
August 1996


"Historian by training, political scientist by self-education, prolific and wide-ranging writer by inclination, Peter Smith has given us, once again, a must-read volume that merits a prominent place in our libraries and our syllabi."--David Scott Palmer, Boston University

"An excellent introduction to U.S.-Latin American relations and a good read. Peter H. Smith does a good job drawing on scholarship from international relations, history, and political science to craft his narrative."--Mary Rose Kubal, St. Bonaventure University

"Well written and engaging to read."--Victoria Castillo, The College of William and Mary

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    Chapters 1-15 end with Questions for Review.
    New to This Edition
    Introduction: Global Politics and U.S.-Latin American Relations
    Analytical Tools
    Concepts of Power
    Caveats and Limitations
    1. The European Game
    European Rivalry in the New World
    Imperial Order: The Rules of the Game
    Enter the United States
    U.S. Imperialism I: Territorial Expansion
    Pocketbook Diplomacy
    Military Conquest
    Eyes upon Cuba
    U.S. Imperialism II: Commercial Empire
    A Sphere of One's Own: The Pan-American Community
    Obtaining John Bull's Acquiescence
    Securing the Caribbean
    Spanish-Cuban-American War
    Taking Panama
    Recipe for Intervention
    2. The Gospel of Democracy
    Roles of Ideology
    The Meanings of Manifest Destiny
    Obstacles to Democracy
    History and Character
    The Problem of Race
    Intervention for Democracy
    Taking Sides: The Mexican Revolution
    Dollar Diplomacy I: The Dominican Republic (1916-1924)
    Dollar Diplomacy II: Nicaragua (1909-1925)
    Dollar Diplomacy III: Haiti (1915-1934)"
    Promoting Democracy?
    3. Latin America: Responding to Imperialism
    Option 1: The Bolivarian Dream
    Option 2: External Powers
    Pax Britannica?
    Opposition to Pan Americanism
    Hispanidad and Francophilia
    Option 3: Rivalry and Subregional Hegemony
    Argentina's Manifest Destiny
    God Is a Brazilian
    Option 4: Doctrines and Diplomacy
    Cultures of Resistance
    Mexico: War and Invasion
    Cuba: Inside the Monster
    Nicaragua: Origins of Sandinismo
    Continental Solidarity
    In Retrospect
    4. Mr. Roosevelt's Neighborhood
    Crucibles: Nicaragua and Cuba
    Nicaragua, 1927-1933
    Cuba, 1929-1933
    The Good Neighbor Policy: Political Dimensions
    Cuba, 1933-1936
    The Good Neighbor Policy: Economic Dimensions
    Applying Leverage
    Extending Assistance?
    The Good Neighbor Policy: Ideological Dimensions
    Sizing Up the Neighborhood
    5. Closing Ranks
    United States as Superpower
    Cold War: The Rules of the Game
    The Cold War in Latin America
    Courting Dictators
    Cleaning House
    The Nixon Trip
    6. Making Friends
    Social Science, Ideology, and Foreign Policy
    The Alliance for Progress
    Forming the Alliance
    Requiem for Failed Expectations
    Holding the Line: Dictators as Friends
    7. Crushing Enemies
    Intervention in Guatemala
    Cuba, Castro, and the Bay of Pigs
    The Dominican Invasion
    Chile: Allende Overthrown
    The Seizure of Grenada
    Central America: The Contra War
    El Salvador
    On U.S. Interventions
    8. Latin America: Fighting the Cold War
    Option 1: The Socialist Path
    Parties and Elections
    Guerrilla Movements
    Revolutionary States
    Option 2: The Anticommunist Crusade
    Deliverance for Dictatorship
    National Security Doctrines
    Human Rights and the United States
    Option 3: Seeking a Third Way
    A New International Economic Order?
    Nonalignment and Foreign Policy
    From Contadora to Esquipulas
    Legacies of War
    9. The 1990s: Hegemony and Geoeconomics
    Aftermath of the Cold War
    Rearrangements of Power
    Hegemony by Default?
    Toward a New Economic Agenda
    The Washington Consensus
    North American Free Trade
    From NAFTA to FTAA?
    Summitry and Setbacks
    Geoeconomics: The Rules of the Game
    10. Latin America: Playing the Geoeconomic Game
    Narrowing Options
    Twilight of Revolution?
    Forms of Economic Integration
    Model 1: Trading Around
    Model 2: Joining with the North
    Model 3: Subregional Integration
    Model 4: Hubs and Spokes
    The Outside World
    The European Campaign
    The Asia Card
    The Problem of Asymmetrical Significance
    Legacies of Neoliberal Reform
    Protest and Resistance
    Policy Debates
    11. Post 9/11: The War on Terror
    Unleashing War
    Concurrent Developments
    Obama's Wars
    Exiting Iraq
    War on Terror: The Rules of the Game
    Two-Level Games
    George Bush and Latin America
    Regime Change and Democracy
    Obama and Latin America
    Cuba (Again)
    Coup in Honduras
    12. Latin America: Seizing Opportunities
    The Political Context
    The New Left
    The Burial of FTAA
    Latin America Divided
    Mexico: Fox and Calderón
    Brazil: Lula and Dilma
    Venezuela: The One and Only Hugo
    The Rest of the World
    Economic Growth and Change
    Pulling Away from the United States?
    The Benefits of Inattention
    * 13. Dilemmas of Immigration
    Immigration in Long-Term Perspective
    Trends in U.S. Policy
    Crisis in Haiti
    The Post-9/11 Environment
    Immigration and National Security
    Immigration under Obama
    * 14. Drug Trafficking, Drug Wars
    Production and Supply
    Sources of Supply
    Dimensions of Demand
    Policies and Wars
    The Clinton Years
    The Bush Era
    Obama: Rhetoric or Reality?
    Crisis in Mexico
    Retrospect: Impacts on Latin America
    Prospect: Debates over Policy
    15. Debating U.S. Policy
    Varieties of Realism: Conservative and Progressive
    The Relevance of Latin America
    Confronting the Policy Process
    Presidential Prerogatives
    Complicating Factors I: Bureaucratic Wrangling
    Complicating Factors II: Engaging the Public
    Complicating Factors III: Partisan Polarization
    Getting from Here to There
    Back to the Future
    16. Overview: Structure and Change in U.S.-Latin American Relations
    Looking Back: Summation
    Looking Back: Analysis
    Explaining U.S. Policies
    Understanding Latin American Responses
    Differentiating Latin America
    Looking Ahead: What Next?
    A Guide to Further Reading