A global policy in a regional setting : the Eisenhower administration, Latin America & Brazil, 1953-1961
This thesis re-examines the Eisenhower administration's policies in Latin America, focusing specifically on the case study of Brazil (1953-1961). In doing so it moves beyond the existing historiography, which has divided the field in to two distinct camps. The Traditional school, led by scholars like Stephen Rabe and Mark Gilderhus, has argued that US policy during this time was informed by national security concerns and the fighting of the Cold War. However, the Revisionist school, led by scholars such as Walter LaFeber and James Siekmeier, has argued that US policy was more concerned with fighting Latin economic nationalism and extending the American economic system throughout the region. It is the contention here that there were, in fact, two separate objectives underpinning US policy at this time - economic preponderance and the need to be seen to be "winning" the Cold War - and that it was the relationship between these two aims that was the defining characteristic of US policy during this period. This division arose out of the way that US foreign policy evolved in the post-World War Two era and, therefore, was not a deliberate construct by US officials. As a result, there was an inherent tension within US policy between those aims in the strategic sphere and those in the economic sphere. Establishing a link between these two distinct areas of policy is the major theme of this thesis: as is demonstrated throughout, the lack of a defining Grand Strategy within US policy would prove to be enormously problematic for the Eisenhower administration as they struggled to reconcile the tensions between the differing aspects of their Latin American policy. Whilst this trend will be highly prominent in this analysis of US-Latin American relations, it is with respect to Brazil that the full impact of this tension between economic idealism and strategic pragmatism becomes most evident. By adopting an analytical framework that incorporates both strategic and economic aspects of US policy, this thesis expands upon the existing historiography relating to the field and offers up a new appraisal of the US approach in the Cold War period.
- PhD