(C. Douglas Dillon - bringing the date to the prom)
With the recent news of Sec. of State Clinton's defense pact with Colombia, I was thinking about how our foreign policy has been something of a hit-and-miss situation with regards to Latin America in recent years.
Historically, Latin America has always seemed like the girlfriend you had under the bleachers but never took to the prom (h/t Susie!) - someone you needed in a pinch, but never took very seriously. We had the Good Neighbor Policy during World War 2 and the Alliance for Progress during the Cold War. Both overtures were made out of fear. Certainly fear the Axis would establish a beach head during World War 2 and definitely a fear of Cuba's close association with the Soviet Union during the Cold War would lead to a communist sweep of the Southern Hemisphere.
We have usually always pledged undying love and support but only in crisis - not on the day-to-day. Because of that, I don't think the average American really knows anything about the vast expanse of land just south of us - nothing about the people, the culture, the politics. We know all about the drugs, immigration and NAFTA - but nothing of the inner-workings of a continent so close to us. And that is ultimately our problem.
So, in an effort to put some historic perspective on what we do overseas - not only in Latin America but Africa and the rest of the world, I'm going to regularly include some of our Foreign Policy issues of the past so hopefully some light can be shed on what we need to do if we're planning on staying the super-power we so much like being. On top of that, ignorance of your culture and the world not only isn't cool - it's dangerous.
Here is a Press conference from August 22, 1961 featuring Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon, giving an outline of the events at the Punta del Este Conference in Uruguay.
C.Douglas Dillon: “No matter how good their intentions, no matter how much national effort is brought to bear upon their enormous problems, the leaders of Latin America cannot translate their ambitious plans and dreams for their peoples into reality without financial and technical assistance from the United States. And on the long term basis, which is indispensable to sound programming. We must recognize the questions about the future of the Alliance for Progress are not our prerogative alone. They’re also being asked in Latin America about us, about our intentions, about our capacity to help make The Alliance for Progress a success. These questions were raised in open meeting at Punta del Este by the representative of the Castro regime. Who boasted that only their monolithic form of statism could produce progress."