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Forging Democracy [Hardcover]

Juan Carlos Zarate
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)


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Book Description

September 6, 1994 0819195278 978-0819195272
Regional hegemons can and do determine the political evolutions of countries within their respective spheres of influence. This study propounds and tests this new theory by examining the influence of U.S. foreign policy on Central America regime formation in the late 1940s and 1980s. By dissecting and comparing the modern histories of Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, this book provides a fresh analysis of these countries' histories and of U.S. influence in their political development. Forging Democracy contributes significantly to the theoretical debate over democracy at a crucial time when Washington is reconsidering its role as a promoter of democracy all over the world (especially in Latin America). In addition, this theory provides a framework within which to study the effects of other hegemons' policies on their respective spheres of influence (i.e. the French in Africa). This seminal work extends the understanding of past events, present debates, and possible future ramifications of U.S. foreign policies. Contents: Abbreviations; Preface, by Dwight H. Perkins; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Democratization and Its Factors; The United States in Costa Rica: The Stabilizing Effects of U.S. Foreign Policy; The Eagle and the Quetzal: The United States in Guatemala; The Lasting Effects of U.S. Foreign Policy on Nicaragua; Conclusion; Epilogue; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

Editorial Reviews

Review

...significant and interesting....Zarate's contribution is refreshing....Zarate's work may be particularly important now as Washington grapples with defining a new post-Cold War policy for the Western Hemisphere.>>>> (Journal Of Interamerican Studies And World Affairs)

The book will be useful as a resource and tool of reference for undergraduates in Latin American Studies, U.S. foreign policy students, and for those interested in comparative democratization and international relations.>>>> (Democratization)

...an intelligent inquiry into the subject of the relative influence of internal and external...factors in explaining the rise and decline of democracy in Central America.>>>> (Professor Robert A. Pastor)

...an intelligent inquiry into the subject of the relative influence of internal and external...factors in explaining the rise and decline of democracy in Central America. (Professor Robert A. Pastor)

...significant and interesting....Zarate's contribution is refreshing....Zarate's work may be particularly important now as Washington grapples with defining a new post-Cold War policy for the Western Hemisphere. (Journal Of Interamerican Studies And World Affairs)

The book will be useful as a resource and tool of reference for undergraduates in Latin American Studies, U.S. foreign policy students, and for those interested in comparative democratization and international relations. (Democratization)

About the Author

Juan Carlos Zarate is a Researcher at The University of Salamanca in Spain.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 174 pages
  • Publisher: University Press Of America (September 6, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819195278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819195272
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,156,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book presents an excellent analysis of recent Central American history, and in particular of the role of the U.S. in helping sustain -- or undermine -- democratically-elected governments. The case made about Costa Rica merits special praise, as Zarate convincingly argues that the deliberate lack of American intervention at a critical political moment -- the success of leftist candidates in national elections -- helped guarantee the survival of democracy in that nation.
Although Zarate presents a generally optimistic view of US hegemony (both historical and potential) in the region, he does point to the CIA as a crucial and malefic agent that purposefully undermined Guatemala's democracy in the 1950s and subsequently supported a series of military regimes. This honesty is rare among historians of Latin America, who are often blinded by their own ideology, left or right.
Zarate's text is cogently argued and lucidly presented, and I recommend it to anyone interested in US policy in Central America.
-- Adam Lifshey
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