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This chapter examines the reasons for the instability in Latin America during the Cold War. The oil crisis of 1973–4, followed by trade deficits, depression, and high inflation, helped promote revolutionary ideas among the landless peasants and urban poor of many Latin American countries. Under Jimmy Carter, with his interest in promoting human rights, a more active and enlightened US policy towards Latin America might have been expected. However, his aims were inconsistent, as the moral cause of human rights clashed with local realities and other American interests. The chapter first considers the Reagan Doctrine and Ronald Reagan’s meddling in El Salvador before discussing the involvement of the US in Nicaragua and the ‘Contragate’ scandal. It concludes with an assessment of the US invasions of Grenada and Panama.


Paul Kirby

This chapter examines the power of gender in global politics. It considers the different ways in which gender shapes world politics today, whether men dominate global politics at the expense of women, whether international—and globalized—gender norms should be radically changed, and if so, how. The chapter also discusses sex and gender in international perspective, along with global gender relations and the gendering of global politics, global security, and the global economy. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with the participation of female guerrillas in El Salvador's civil war, and the other with neo-slavery and care labour in Asia. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that asks whether war is inherently masculine.