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Argentina and the United States

Argentina and the United States: An Alliance Contained

David M. K. Sheinin
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Argentina and the United States
    Book Description:

    In the first English-language survey of Argentine-U.S. relations to appear in more than a decade, David M. K. Sheinin challenges the accepted view that confrontation has been the characteristic state of affairs between the two countries. Sheinin draws on both Spanish- and English-language sources in the United States, Argentina, Canada, and Great Britain to provide a broad perspective on the two centuries of shared U.S.-Argentine history with fresh focus in particular on cultural ties, nuclear politics in the cold war era, the politics of human rights, and Argentina's exit in 1991 from the nonaligned movement. From the perspectives of both countries, Sheinin discusses such topics as Pan-Americanism, petroleum, communism and fascism, and foreign debt. Although the general trajectory of the two countries' relationship has been one of cooperative interaction based on generally strong and improving commercial and financial ties, shared strategic interests, and vital cultural contacts, Sheinin also emphasizes episodes of strained ties. These include the Cuban Revolution, the Dirty War of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the Falklands/Malvinas War. In his epilogue, Sheinin examines Argentina's monetary crash of December 2001, when the United States-in a major policy shift-refused to come to Argentina's rescue.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-3729-6
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    In August 1988, Argentine and Bolivian military officers met secretly in Buenos Aires. The occasion was the Fourteenth Bilateral Conference on Military Intelligence. Both countries were under democratic rule. Each had come through violent periods of military dictatorship in the 1970s and early 1980s. Both faced an ongoing threat of military intervention in national affairs. Just over a year earlier, during the 1987 Easter Week uprising, renegade army officers had tried to oust the government of Argentine president Raúl Alfonsín. The coup attempt was crushed by military units loyal to constitutional rule. U.S. president Ronald Reagan had come out immediately...

  5. 1 Trade, Progress, and Nation Building, 1800–1880
    (pp. 7-30)

    Until about 1900, what Argentines and Americans shared was a modest commercial exchange, a relationship limited by distance and differing views of history and nation. At midcentury and beyond, U.S. commercial activity in Argentina, highlighted by the presence of a handful of American railroad entrepreneurs, took ideological, business, and political inspiration from the U.S. expansion west and south, past the Mississippi, into Mexico, and on to the Caribbean basin. Though on a much smaller scale than the advance across the continental United States, American commerce and investment in Argentina can also be tied to the consolidation after 1790 of national...

  6. 2 Pan-Americanism, World War, and the Bolshevik Menace, 1880–1923
    (pp. 31-55)

    In the last half of the nineteenth century, Argentine elites consolidated their national political structure by tying the interests of commercial and finance capital to those of the state. This was done to a degree far greater than in the United States. In the constitution of 1853 popular politics and the protection of individual freedoms were subordinated to the authority of merchants and bankers in the running of government. By the 1880s, private bankers determined credit rules, held public debt, and determined national economic policies. In the United States, during a severe financial crisis in the first decade of the...

  7. 3 Sanitary Embargo, Cultural Connections, and Wartime Neutrality, 1924–1946
    (pp. 56-89)

    Traditionally, historians have considered the period from 1924 to 1946 one of escalating misunderstanding and conflict between the United States and Argentina. It began with the political fallout from the Fordney-McCumber Tariff (1922) that imposed heavy duties on many Argentine exports. Argentine leaders accused the United States of restricting fair and free competition. Then came the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in Argentina, the U.S. ban on Argentine beef in 1926, and Argentine denunciations that the United States was now relying on trumped-up charges of unhealthy cattle to block beef imports from South America. Problems continued in 1928 at the Sixth...

  8. 4 Cold War and the End of Argentine Democracy, 1947–1961
    (pp. 90-121)

    In U.S.–Latin American relations, 1947 to 1961 delimits a period of growing tensions around the related problems of nationalist and revolutionary movements in Latin America, Soviet expansionism in the third world, and U.S. preoccupations with a cold war Communist menace gaining new footholds in Latin America. The Río Pact of 1947 and the Organization of American States Charter of 1948 set in place what President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been unable to achieve during his 1936 visit to Buenos Aires—the basis for a new, U.S.-dominated inter-American security and defense system. Between 1952 and 1961, the United States provided...

  9. 5 The Sixties: Military Ties, Economic Uncertainties
    (pp. 122-149)

    One day in 1961, at the training grounds of the Colegio Militar, Argentina’s equivalent to West Point, two key figures in Argentina’s cold war fight against Communism confronted one another over old and new strategies. Both men were already dedicated cold war warriors and followers of the U.S.-led fight against Communism in the Americas. Their disagreement came as a reflection of the growing influence of American military strategy and ideologies in Argentina. At the time, Jorge Rafael Videla, future de facto president and leader of the first junta that followed the coup d’état of 1976, was a lieutenant colonel and...

  10. 6 Descent to Dictatorship, 1970–1983
    (pp. 150-180)

    During the 1970s, Argentine-U.S. relations experienced their most strained period since the first Perón presidency. During Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the United States established human rights as a foreign policy priority. Americans turned their attention to the abuses of the Argentine dictatorship (1976–83) and punished the military by prohibiting the sale of military equipment and working to isolate the regime diplomatically. Carter’s human rights emphasis, though, was anomalous. The 1970s represented a high point in bilateral ties in other areas. Cultural relations were never better. Moreover, the Argentine military took its inspiration from National Security Doctrine and U.S. military training...

  11. 7 The Forging of a New Relationship, 1984–1999
    (pp. 181-208)

    At 1:30 p.m. on 15 October 1988, a concert began at the Malvinas Argentinas Stadium in Mendoza, Argentina, that featured Peter Gabriel, Sting, Youssou N’Dour, and the Americans Tracy Chapman and Bruce Springsteen. There were twenty-seven thousand people in the stadium, and that night, at the El Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires, sixty-two thousand more heard the five rock superstars. It was the end of a thirteen-nation pro–human rights concert tour organized by Amnesty International and underwritten by a $5 million infusion of cash from Reebok. “I consider myself a citizen of the world community,” Tracy Chapman told the...

  12. Epilogue: The Crash of 2001 and Beyond
    (pp. 209-218)

    During the 1990s, President Carlos Menem dominated Argentine politics. His political control of the judicial, executive, and congressional branches of government allowed for an unchecked implementation of domestic economic, social, and monetary policies that dovetailed with U.S. government and IMF goals for Argentina and the Americas. Menem’s government was a Latin American leader in the promulgation of neoliberal policies that included widespread privatizations of large state-run corporations, the dismantling of expensive federal government programs, hostile confrontations with organized labor that helped decimate union membership, and the elimination of barriers on foreign trade and investment. Most important, Argentina legislated “convertibility,” the...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 219-266)
  14. Bibliographical Essay
    (pp. 267-278)

    There are a number of works on U.S.-Argentine relations, though relatively few compared to studies on the relations between the United States and the Latin American countries most influenced by Americans in the twentieth century, particularly nations in the Caribbean basin. While there are many more books and articles that address topics relevant to bilateral ties, this chapter is concerned primarily with works that explicitly consider problems in relations between the two countries. The most thorough and comprehensive study of the history of Argentine foreign relations, including U.S.-Argentine ties, is the Historia general de las relaciones exteriores de la República...

  15. Index
    (pp. 279-285)