Obama and U.S. Foreign Policy

Historians, of all people, should understand the dangers of prematurely evaluating a President’s foreign policy record. Quite apart from all that we learn as archives open, the passage of time provides perspective. To take an obvious example: while few contemporary observers would celebrate it now, at the time, Ronald Reagan’s approach to Afghanistan was heralded […]

Process, Policy, and the Burdens of History in Latin America

After three months in office, Barack Obama traveled to Trinidad and Tobago in April 2009 to attend the Fifth Summit of the Americas.  Already his presidency had been consumed by issues of major importance, both at home and abroad; Obama no doubt spent his days thinking about the global economic crisis, wars in Iraq and […]

Plaintains and Fried Rice, Dollars and Yuan: Latin America, the PRC, and the United States

The ghost in the room, Cuba, was the most important topic when President Barack Obama, in his opening remarks at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, offered a “new beginning” with Havana.  The specifics at this point are not huge: family travel, remittances, perhaps Cuban membership in the OAS, but Obama has […]