chapter
21 Pages

2U.S.–Latin American Relations and Political Theory

Realism and liberalism are the two dominant theoretical perspectives of international politics, and each can be useful in the study of U.S.–Latin American relations. The theory of realism has a long pedigree. Its intellectual roots stretch back to the ancient Greek and Chinese civilizations. Both Thucydides and Sun

Tzu, who authored the History of the Peloponnesian War and The Art of War respectively, wrote of international politics from a realist perspective. In the sixteenth century, the Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli also wrote of statecraft from a realist perspective with emphasis on alliances, counter-alliances, balances of power, and the imperative of state survival. In Machiavelli’s world, the Italian peninsula was populated by separate city-states, each striving for security in the absence of a common ruler above them. This same kind of anarchic environment characterized Thucydides’ world of ancient Greek city-states.