Setbacks to Achieving the Post-Cold War Vision 323
Despite high enthusiasm for hemispheric integration at the 1994 Miami Summit, in succeeding years, progress toward realizing this vision stalled as the consensus on liberal economic integration eroded, and ideological differences separated some regional powers from others and from the United States. There were speed bumps on the road to a community of democracies too. By the end of the twenty-first century’s first decade, mass approval of democratic governance had declined from its early 1990s levels, the United States cast doubt on its commitment to protect democracy by supporting a failed coup against Venezuela’s elected president Hugo Chávez in 2002, a 2009 coup removed Honduras’ democratically elected leftist president, Manuel Zelaya, and the OAS democracy-protection mechanisms had worked well in some cases, but less well in others. Perhaps most surprising, America exercised less influence in the Western Hemisphere-and conversely, Latin American states enjoyed greater independence-than at any time in the preceding hundred years. By the mid2000s, Washington had lost control of the Organization of American States, saw its credibility and soft power resources decline, could not garner support for various diplomatic initiatives, and watched as regional powers increasingly worked together through arrangements that excluded the United States. Much of the story behind these developments had to do with economic and political dynamics in Latin America, U.S. domestic politics, China’s emergence as an economic heavyweight, and regional reactions to U.S. foreign policy after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.