bq. In the hopes of enhancing its geopolitical sphere of influence, the U.S. government has often invested in the smallest nations (e.g. trading preferences, IMF financing privileges, military investments, and development aid). Indeed, although the economic rules of the game are skewed in its favor, the U.S. sometimes changes these rules to benefit the smallest nations for political purposes. With the rise of austerity politics, however, the U.S. may not be as willing — or able — to extend such trade and finance benefits to smaller nations.
From a “recent op-ed”:http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=from-possibility-to-austerity-2011-03-31 by my GW colleagues Stephen Kaplan and Harris Mylonas.