Political scientists construct organizing devices designed to assist in the understanding of political data by ordering seemingly disparate facts and events into some meaningful pattern that can be analyzed. This chapter discusses international systems theory, which provides the analytic framework used for selecting, organizing, and comparing data relating to Latin American international relations. It deals with a discussion of how the approach applies to the study of international relations in general as well as Latin America’s international relations in particular. The study of any field of politics involves the problem of how an analyst handles values—not only as a detached observer but in making interpretations and defining personal preferences as well. Systems theory emphasizes structures and processes in the study of politics. When applied to international politics, systems theory presents some methodological problems. The international political system has been integrated through the informal means of power distribution and through formal international institutions.