The perception of a Soviet security threats either to the United States through Latin America or directly to the nations of the hemisphere was always a bone of contention in inter-American relations. The importance of the Soviet menace—its nature, relevance, and explanatory value in understanding Latin American social and political trends—never truly constituted an area of agreement or understanding between the northern and southern halves of the continent. The anti-Soviet, anti-Communist approach to Latin America was never as important abroad as it was domestically in the United States. In the new world order characterized by economic globalization, free market homogeneity, and cutthroat competition for scarce capital and frequently protected markets, the real economic check placed on Latin American autonomy is not the fear or reality of conscious, active, explicit retaliation by the United States. For the nations of Latin America, the end of the Cold War has meant high expectations and unexpected frustration.