The Future of Regional Integration and particularly Political Dialogue in the Western Hemisphere
AbstractThe Western Hemisphere has experimented with various integration initiatives for almost two hundred years but these have been frustrated by several factors including territorial disputes, political instability, ideological conflicts and a huge trust deficit. The OAS was a US-led effort to integrate the hemisphere primarily as a bulwark against Soviet expansionism. Its failure to achieve that objective led to the United States engaging in overt and covert activities to effect regime changes or secure conformity leaving behind a legacy of hostility and mistrust that continues to outlive the end of the Cold War and pose formidable obstacles to integration possibilities. Yet, all is not lost. Democratic systems have become more deeply entrenched, the spectrum of economic philosophies has narrowed and globalization is challenging our separateness. Sharp differences remain but with visionary leadership and inclusive relationship-building, there is more to unite us than there is to divide us. That is the context in which the OAS must rediscover itself.