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May 22, 2013

America’s Goals and Opportunities in Latin America

January 17, 2013 by

President Obama at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia. Pete Souza/White House

This past December marked the 190th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine, the 1823 policy declaration by President James Monroe that essentially made Latin America the exclusive reserve of the United States. And if anyone has any doubts about what lay at the heart of that Doctrine, consider that since 1843 the U.S. has intervened in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Uruguay, Grenada, Bolivia, and Venezuela. In the case of Nicaragua, nine times, and Honduras, eight.

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Mark Carney to head the Bank of England

November 27, 2012 by

Mark Carney in Davos, Switzerland. Jolanda Flubacher/swiss-image.ch

As a Canadian, perhaps I should feel a surge of patriotic pride now that Mark Carney has been designated the new head of the Bank of England – quite a step up for the current governor of the Bank of Canada. There is no question that Mr. Carney is a market-savvy guy (he did, after all, work for the vampire squid), and his experiences as Chairman on the Financial Stability Board (FSB) suggests that he is sensitive to the ongoing systemic risks present in our increasingly complex global banking system.

That said, his recent attack on the Bank of England’s Andy Haldane in a Euromoney interview last month, does give one some cause for concern, particularly as it evinces the usual complacency that most Canadians seem to feel about the basic soundness of their own banking system, which essentially upholds the universal banking model as a viable one. By contrast, in his famous “dog and frisbee speech” delivered last August at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Haldane suggested that: “Regulation of modern finance is almost certainly too complex. That configuration spells trouble…Because complexity generates uncertainty, it requires a regulatory response grounded in simplicity, not complexity.”

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An Easy Way to Improve U.S.-Latin American Relations

July 28, 2011 by

President Obama at the Summit of the Americas. Pete Souza/White House

During his attendance at a recent African Union summit, former Brazilian president Lula da Silva critiqued the structure of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC): “it isn’t possible that Latin America, with its 400 million inhabitants, does not have permanent representation. Five countries decide what to do and how to do it, regardless of the rest of the humans living on this planet.”

Such statements are nothing new. The UNSC’s structure has come under heavy criticism in recent years, with repeated calls for its expansion. Countries like India, South Africa, and Brazil have become the usual suspects as possible new permanent members. And the Portuguese-speaking giant has emerged as the de facto representative for Latin America and the Caribbean to the UNSC.  If the United States backs Brazil’s bid, it will gain considerable political capital in Latin America.

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