Bush legacy: Farewell to the Monroe Doctrine?

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El Salvador's President Tony Saca , a close U.S. ally, can scarcely contain his frustration.

He calls U.S. politicians ''shortsighted'' for failing to reform U.S. immigration laws. He says Latin American populism is ''a pendulum swing toward disaster'' that deserves more U.S. attention....

President Bush has increased aid to Latin America by record amounts and visited Latin America more than any of his predecessors, but his legacy may be the biggest loss of U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere in recent memory.

He remains unpopular and unable to pass initiatives that Latin Americans want, such as immigration reform and free-trade pacts. Trade between South America and China is booming. Governments from Canada to Iran are cutting deals in the region, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has made challenging U.S. interests his foreign-policy mission, through everything from sweet oil deals to a TV news channel that rivals CNN .

''Requiem for the Monroe Doctrine'' is how academic Daniel Erikson put it in an article for Current History, referring to the 1823 declaration by President James Monroe that put the Western Hemisphere off-limits to outside powers.

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