The Brookings Institution de Washington DC.
Throughout his visit, Obama may confront issues far removed from
But, this presidential visit ought not go to waste. President Obama chose
In this regard, one can draw similarities to Obama choosing
Obama will undoubtedly go through the motions and raise issues that the
For starters, departing from practices by some in the past, Obama should treat Latin Americans and the Chilean leadership as equals. After all, in spite of the superpower gap,
For instance, among over 210 economies around the world, on Government Effectiveness,
The fact that the United States’ quality of governance is not superior to that of Chile ought to be seen as evidence of Chile’s progress over the past couple of decades, and as a sobering reminder to the U.S. that it is not a model country on governance. Model countries, such as Scandinavian economies and
Another common trait is self confidence. Polls suggest that citizens in
Undoubtedly, in President Obama’s major public address to
The fact is, in contrast to the destructive squabbling between Democrats and Republicans that dominate Washington politics, Chilean politicians, from all parties, even if they disagree on emphasis and details, have shared for years a common agenda on maintaining sound financial and macro-economic policies, sustaining robust growth and poverty alleviation and expanding social safety nets, open markets and good governance.
In his message to the region, Obama should focus on the region’s major constraint to future progress and social peace: glaring inequality. He should not waste this opportunity by speaking at length on the obvious (to Latin Americans) virtues of democracy and protection of human rights. With the exception of
The traditional political approach to inequality focuses on inequality of income, access to productive jobs and educational opportunities. It would behoove Obama to suggest that an underlying determinant of economic inequality is political inequality. In
When U.S. presidents travel to countries in an emerging region, with their vast entourage of officials and executives, it is typical to see a focus on partnership agreements (and on vague grandiose pronouncements). Obama's trip to
But it is important to keep in mind that such bilateral transactional approach should not come at the expense of a commitment to a few economic and policy fundamentals in the U.S.: establishing truly open markets (to goods, services, ideas and people) into the U.S., prudent fiscal policies to attain macro-economic stability, and making the financial sector more resilient to strive toward sustained growth in the U.S. A pledge by Obama on these fronts, which would entail tackling domestic undue influence by protectionist, as well as Wall Street, vested interests, is likely to have more of a concrete impact on