In the Shadow of Failure: Obama’s Quest for Constructive Engagement

As Barack Obama completes his first year in office, he faces challenges that will test his considerable political skills to the very limit. While many voted for Obama because was able to project an image of calm competence that was notably lacking in both John McCain and George W. Bush, the Wall Street crisis and […]

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 […]