Argentina: A Short History by Colin Lewis

By Colin Lewis

With distinct specialise in political intrigue, army energy, and such key figures as Eva Peron and Videla, this can be a enticing survey of the using forces at the back of Argentina, its dramatic upward thrust, and up to date difficulties.

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Having been attracted by the possibility of constructing an exclusively Latin American sense of continental identity in place of the idea of PanAmericanism (rooted in the Monroe Doctrine) being peddled by Washington, some Argentine statesmen and politicians moved from a position of ‘independence’ from the USA to outright opposition to the US strategy for the Americas during the 1940s. For many in Argentina, US measures such as the Good Neighbor Policy and Alliance for Progress were seen as crude mechanisms to deny the country its rightful role as continental leader and to compel conformity with an economic model that would secure the regional and global position of the USA.

The differential movement of international prices for traditional and ‘new’ pastoral commodities had an impact on River Plate producers and regions, as did the decline in the price of imported wage goods like textiles and foodstuffs. Hence, some areas of the republic favoured direct relations with the international economy while others were exercised by fears of a loss of domestic and overseas markets. In part, these contending interests and differing opportunities account for internal disorder, conflictive approaches to domestic and external economic policy, and the content and tone of international relations.

The first, the ‘American’, ran from around Independence to the 1860s. The dominant preoccupations were securing recognition and relations with neighbouring countries. The two were closely inter-related. qxd 04/10/02 07:38 Page 22 22 Argentina: A Short History civil disorders that complicated relations with neighbouring countries and foreign powers. Indeed, in the immediate postIndependence period, the distinction between neighbouring countries and rebellious provinces was finely drawn. In these circumstances, European foreign ministries were convinced neither of the ability of Latin American administrations to govern nor to defend territorial integrity.

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