Analyzing international relations theory, not evaluating history, is the central purpose of this study of interstate relations in Latin America during the Cold War. Christopher Darnton, an assistant professor of politics at the Catholic University of America, examines why bilateral rivalries persist and what conditions lead them to end. During the Cold War, such rivalries endured even though Latin American states were ostensibly allied with one another and the United States in the Rio Treaty of 1947, an anti-Communist pact. Darnton finds that traditional theories of conflict resolution, whether they are realist, liberal, or constructivist, are insufficient explanatory models. His oft-repeated hypothesis is that “the combination of economic downturn and a common foe will produce rapprochement between interstate rivals” (p. 45). Vested interests, like military establishments, traditionally block civilian politicians who seek peace because they fear a loss of power and prestige....

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