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Western Hemisphere - Recent


At SSI, Western Hemisphere research concentrates on three areas: Western Hemisphere security, external influences on the Western Hemisphere, and the United States and the Western Hemisphere. Dr. Max Manwaring is our Western Hemisphere specialist.

New References from the Military Education Research Library Network

Colombia: CBO Cost Estimate on US-Colombia Trade Agreement

(10/11/11) Remarks by a State Department official concerning internal displacement in Colombia, as well as a Congressional Budget Office cost estimate on the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act. (View it at NDU)

Western Hemisphere

(3/5/08) The Colombia MiPAL has been updated with statements from President Bush and the United States Trade Representative on the Free Trade Agreement. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this country - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

Western Hemisphere

(3/5/08) The Colombia MiPAL has been updated with statements from President Bush and the United States Trade Representative on the Free Trade Agreement. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this country - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

Western Hemisphere

(2/21/08) The Colombia MiPAL has been updated with articles on the free trade agreement from the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Trade Policy Studies, a State Department statement on U.S. citizens held hostage by the FARC, and a report on humanitarian action in Colombia from the Humanitarian Policy Group. Please see the Recently Added Documents section for the latest on this country - the newest updates are in bold. (View it at NDU)

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    Added April 25, 2014

    The Evolution of Los Zetas in Mexico and Central America: Sadism as an Instrument of Cartel Warfare

    Authored by Dr. George W. Grayson.
    View the Executive Summary

    Few cartel leaders acquire fame for culinary skills. However, Miguel Ángel “El 40” Treviño Morales, the sadistic erstwhile chief of Los Zetas, became skilled in preparing "el guiso" (the stew). His recipe is simple. After torturing a victim, even an infant, he plunged him into a 55-gallon pig cooker, doused him with gasoline, and set him on fire.

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    Added August 21, 2013

    2013-14 Key Strategic Issues List

    Edited by Professor John F. Troxell.
    For several years, the Strategic Studies Institute has annually published the Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL). The overall purpose of this document is to make students and other researchers aware of strategic topics that are of special interest to the U.S. Army. Part I of KSIL is entitled "Army Priorities for Strategic Analysis" (APSA) and is a list of high-priority topics submitted by Headquarters, Department of the Army. Part II is entitled "Command Sponsored Topics" and represents the high-priority command-specific topics submitted by MACOMs and ASCCs. This KSIL provides military and civilian researchers worldwide a listing of the Army's most critical national security issues.

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    Added August 16, 2013

    Cartel Car Bombings in Mexico

    Authored by Dr. Robert J. Bunker, Mr. John P. Sullivan.
    View the Executive Summary

    The authors provide an analysis of cartel car bombing incidents in Mexico, with about 20 incidents identified over the last 2 1/2 years. Use patterns are discussed, along with future car bombing potentials in Mexico and the United States.

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    Added December 27, 2012

    Insanity: Four Decades of U.S. Counterdrug Strategy

    Authored by Lieutenant Colonel Michael F. Walther.
    The author provides context to the former DOJ Drug Intelligence Chief’s declaration that the U.S. 40-year national drug strategy is a failure. He argues that the expensive and largely-ineffective supply-reduction strategy should be abandoned in favor of a new, science-based, demand-reduction model.

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    Added December 19, 2012

    Venezuela as an Exporter of 4th Generation Warfare Instability

    Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
    We must adapt our approach to the overwhelming reality that just as the world has evolved from an industrial society to an information-based society, so has warfare. The reality of this evolution demonstrates the need for a new paradigm of conflict based on the fact that information—not firepower—is the currency upon which war is now conducted. The new primary center of gravity is public opinion and political leadership. The “new” instruments of power are intelligence, public diplomacy, media, time, and flexibility. The one thing that remains the same is that one level or another of compulsion still defines war.

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    Added August 16, 2012

    Transnational Organized Crime, Terrorism, and Criminalized States in Latin America: An Emerging Tier-One National Security Priority

    Authored by Douglas Farah.
    The emergence of new hybrid (state and nonstate) transnational criminal/terrorist franchises in Latin America operating under broad state protection now pose a tier-one security threat for the United States. Similar hybrid franchise models are developing in other parts of the world, making understanding the new dynamics an important factor in a broader national security context.

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    Added August 01, 2012

    2012-13 Key Strategic Issues List

    Edited by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    The purpose of the Key Strategic Issues List is to provide military and civilian researchers a ready reference for issues of special interest to the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense.

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    Added October 03, 2011

    Mexico's "Narco-Refugees": The Looming Challenge for U.S. National Security

    Authored by Dr. Paul Rexton Kan.
    Due to the ongoing and brutal drug cartel violence that has gripped portions of Mexico, there has been a rise in the number of Mexican nationals seeking political asylum in the United States to escape the ongoing drug cartel violence in their home country. This monograph focuses on the asylum claims of these "narco-refugees" who are unwillingly leaving Mexico, and it reviews the special challenges that these asylum seekers pose to U.S. national security interests and public safety.

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    Added September 15, 2011

    Threat Posed by Mounting Vigilantism in Mexico

    Authored by Dr. George W. Grayson.
    In recent years, the Mexican media has highlighted brutal acts of vigilantism, known as linchamientos or citizen violence, against suspected wrongdoers in their communities. Mobs have torched presumed pedophiles; average citizens have beaten suspected home invaders; and passengers on buses have hit, kicked, and tortured men who have tried to rob them. Is this behavior related to the nation’s bloody drug war? Does it spring from the indifference of police to poor areas? Or is a means for members of an anonymous crowd to release frustrations over persistent unemployment, acute poverty, and ubiquitous corruption?

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    Added September 09, 2011

    Adapting, Transforming, and Modernizing Under Fire: The Mexican Military 2006-11

    Authored by Inigo Guevara Moyano.
    Over the past 5 years, the Mexican armed forces have been used as the main tools of the government’s national security policy. They have endured attacks from organized crime and criticism from the media and civil society, forcing them to transform, modernize, and adapt to better fulfil their responsibility of protecting the Mexican state and its people.

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    Added August 25, 2011

    China-Latin America Military Engagement: Good Will, Good Business, and Strategic Position

    Authored by Dr. R Evan Ellis.
    This monograph examines Chinese military engagement with Latin America, finding that the level of such activity is higher than is generally recognized, and has expanded in important ways, with high-level trips by Latin American defense and security personnel, officer exchange programs, growing arms sales, military-relevant space, aviation, and telecommunications collaboration, and a small but important physical presence in the region.

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    Added March 03, 2011

    Brazil's Security Strategy and Defense Doctrine

    Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring, Andrew Fishman.
    Unlike other areas of the world, Brazil has no bloody religious or ethnic conflicts, and its last border conflict took place in the early 19th century. Brazil’s new national defense strategy consists of three principal elements that it hopes to develop: 1) advanced technologies; 2) a space program; and 3) a peaceful nuclear capacity.

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    Added December 13, 2010

    La Familia Drug Cartel: Implications for U.S.-Mexican Security

    Authored by Dr. George W. Grayson.
    While claiming to do the “Lord’s work,” the ruthless leaders of La Familia Michoacana have emerged as the dominant exporter of methamphetamines to the United States, even as they control scores of municipalities in Michoacán and neighboring states.

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    Added September 21, 2010

    A New Chapter in Trans-American Engagement

    Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring, Eva Silkwood Baker.
    The critical need to develop a serious hemispheric partnership for opening “A New Chapter in Trans-American Engagement” was stressed at the 2010 Western Hemisphere Security Colloquium, held on May 25-26, 2010, in Miami, Florida. The issues and recommendations discussed emphasized that building a viable regional security partnership in the Hemisphere is not a strictly short-term, or unilateral, or even bilateral defense effort. Regional security will result only from long-term, multilateral, civil-military partnering efforts. Thus, the generalized results of the colloquium emphasize three highly interrelated needs and an associated recommendation.

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    Added August 31, 2010

    Dilemmas of Brazilian Grand Strategy

    Authored by Dr. Hal Brands.
    The author discusses the grand strategy Brazil has pursued under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He argues that Lula’s policies have raised Brazil’s profile and enhanced its diplomatic flexibility, but have also exposed Brazil to several potent strategic dilemmas that could compromise, or at the very least complicate, its geopolitical ascent.

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    Added May 11, 2010

    Crime, Violence, and the Crisis in Guatemala: A Case Study in the Erosion of the State

    Authored by Dr. Hal Brands.
    In this monograph, the author argues that rampant crime and violence have led to a full-blown crisis of the democratic state in Guatemala. He discusses the various criminal groups active in that country, and outlines a strategy for improving public order, strengthening government institutions, and combating the root causes that inform criminal activity.

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    Added February 17, 2010

    Do Oil Exports Fuel Defense Spending?

    Authored by Dr. Clayton K. S. Chun.
    Rising oil prices facilitate the acquisition of greater resources and perhaps economic development. But oil revenues can also drive a government to finance massive military equipment purchases like Saudi Arabia did in 1979. The nature of governments that rely on raw material extraction and long-term development of military programs may affect how their current and future spending occurs regardless of oil prices. How nations decide to use their national wealth helps explain some of the perennial problems facing oil and commodity exporting nations and provides insights into their relations with other countries.

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    Added February 12, 2010

    Drug Trafficking, Violence, and Instability in Mexico, Colombia, and the Caribbean: Implications for U.S. National Security

    Authored by Mr. Evan Brown, Dr. Dallas D. Owens.
    The growing violence and instability in Mexico and the Caribbean will clearly demand greater attention from the United States in the future. As the trafficking organizations continue to defy authorities, undermine governance, and escalate violence, Mexico has become much more of a national security challenge rather than simply a border problem. This conference offered an important opportunity to assess these threats, and to consider what can be done to counter them.

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    Added January 07, 2010

    Something Brewing in Venezuela

    Authored by COL Phillip R. Cuccia.
    Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the January 2010 newsletter.

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    Added January 05, 2010

    Security Sector Reform: A Case Study Approach to Transition and Capacity Building

    Authored by Dr. Sarah Meharg, Ms. Aleisha Arnusch. Edited by Professor Susan Merrill.
    Security sector reform (SSR) has emerged since the end of the Cold War as an important tool for stabilizing and reconstructing post-conflict countries. It offers a means of arresting the failure process in failing states and supporting failed state recovery. The U.S. Government endorses the concept of SSR as a component of stabilization reconstruction in the new (October 2008) U.S. Army Field Manual 3-07, Stability Operations.

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    Added November 27, 2009

    Democratic Governance and the Rule of Law: Lessons from Colombia

    Authored by Dr. Gabriel Marcella.
    Colombia has experienced conflict for decades and, as the author observed, was a “paradigm for a failing state” in that it was replete with terrorism, kidnapping, murder, corruption, and general lawlessness. But today it is much safer through the imposition of the "Rule of Law."

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    Added September 25, 2009

    A "New" Dynamic in the Western Hemisphere Security Environment: The Mexican Zetas and Other Private Armies

    Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
    A new and dangerous dynamic has been introduced into the Mexican internal security environment. That new dynamic is represented by a private military organization called the Zetas, and involves the migration of power from traditional state and nonstate adversaries to nontraditional nonstate private military organizations. Moreover, the actions of this irregular nonstate actor tend to be more political-psychological than military, and further move the threat from hard power to soft power solutions.

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    Added September 25, 2009

    Dealing with Political Ferment in Latin America: The Populist Revival, the Emergence of the Center, and Implications for U.S. Policy

    Authored by Dr. Hal Brands.
    Frustration with poverty, corruption, and citizen insecurity within the political scene in Latin America is widespread as is political and ideological ferment. Given Latin America’s strategic importance to the United States, these changes and their diplomatic ramifications are of considerable interest to American policymakers.

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    Added August 27, 2009

    Mind-Sets and Missiles: a First Hand Account of the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Authored by Mr. Kenneth Michael Absher.
    A detailed chronology and analysis of the intelligence failures and successes of the Cuban Missile Crisis is provided.

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    Added August 07, 2009

    The Role of Cuban Paramilitary Organizations (People's Militias) in the Post-Castro Era

    Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
    Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the August 2009 newsletter.

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    Added June 25, 2009

    2009 Key Strategic Issues List

    Edited by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    The purpose of the Key Strategic Issues List is to provide military and civilian researchers a ready reference for issues of special interest to the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense.

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    Added May 07, 2009

    Mexico's Narco-Insurgency and U.S. Counterdrug Policy

    Authored by Dr. Hal Brands.
    The alarming rise in drug-related violence in Mexico is discussed and the prospects of U.S. counterdrug policies in that country is assessed. The author argues that current U.S. policies are ill-suited for confronting the Mexican drug trade, and advocates a more holistic, better integrated approach to counternarcotics.

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    Added April 02, 2009

    Drug Trafficking, Violence, and the State in Mexico

    Authored by Dr. Phil Williams.
    Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the April 2009 newsletter.

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    Added February 09, 2009

    Kiss the Embargo Goodbye

    Authored by Dr. Alex Crowther.
    Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the February 2009 newsletter.

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    Added December 16, 2008

    War without Borders: The Colombia-Ecuador Crisis of 2008

    Authored by Dr. Gabriel Marcella.
    The concept of war without borders is used to analyze the strategic implications of the Colombian attack against a FARC camp inside Ecuadorean territory on March 1, 2008. Lessons learned apply directly to the policy of the United States and the hemispheric community.

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    Added July 16, 2008

    Key Strategic Issues List, July 2008

    Edited by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    The Key Strategic Issues List gives researchers, whether military professionals or civilian scholars, a ready reference of those issues of particular interest to the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense. Its focus is strategic, rather than operational or tactical. Every year, the KSIL helps guide research efforts to the mutual benefit of the defense community and individual researchers.

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    Added June 03, 2008

    Chavez - The Beginning of the End

    Authored by Dr. Alex Crowther.
    Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the June 2008 newsletter.

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    Added March 03, 2008

    After Fidel, The Deluge?

    Authored by Dr. Alex Crowther.
    Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the March 2008 newsletter.

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    Added January 15, 2008

    A Contemporary Challenge to State Sovereignty: Gangs and Other Illicit Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) in Central America, El Salvador, Mexico, Jamaica, and Brazil

    Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
    Building on his 2005 monograph, Street Gangs: The New Urban Insurgency, the author answers questions regarding “What are the implications of the gang and other Transnational Criminal Organizations’ assault on stability in the Western Hemisphere?” and “What are the implications of the clash of values between liberal democracy and criminal anarchy?”

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    Added October 04, 2007

    American Grand Strategy for Latin America in the Age of Resentment

    Authored by Dr. Gabriel Marcella.
    A healthy Latin America is of critical value to the United States as a global power. It is besieged by a powerful force of resentment engendered by a combination of weak states, social exclusion, criminal violence, and corruption. The United States needs a new grand strategy that addresses the causes rather than the symptoms of the malaise.

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    Added September 13, 2007

    China's Expansion into and U.S. Withdrawal from Argentina's Telecommunications and Space Industries and the Implications for U.S. National Security

    Authored by Ms Janie Hulse.
    China is increasing its presence in strategic industries in Latin America as U.S. engagement in the region wanes. Chinese involvement in Argentina’s telecommunications and space industries, in particular, creates security vulnerabilities for the United States and calls for enhanced U.S. commerce, aid, and diplomacy with Argentina and the region as a whole.

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    Added August 24, 2007

    Latin America's New Security Reality: Irregular Asymmetric Conflict and Hugo Chavez

    Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
    The author answers questions regarding “What is President Hugo Chavez doing in Venezuela?” “What are his plans for the future and for the rest of Latin America?” and “What are the implications for stability and instability in the Hemisphere?”

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    Added July 30, 2007

    Security Requirements for Post-Transition Cuba

    Authored by Dr. Alex Crowther.
    Whither Cuba's military?

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    Added July 18, 2007

    2007 Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL)

    Edited by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    The Key Strategic Issues List gives researchers, whether military professionals or civilian scholars, a ready reference of those issues of particular interest to the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense. Its focus is strategic, rather than operational or tactical. Every year, the KSIL helps guide research efforts to the mutual benefit of the defense community and individual researchers.

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    Added March 12, 2007

    Colombia and the United States--The Partnership: But What Is the Endgame?

    Authored by Ambassador Myles R. R. Frechette.
    The United States has provided a considerable amount of economic, police, judicial, and military assistance to the American-Colombian strategic partnership since Plan Colombia. But much work looms ahead to eliminate the threats to state authority—the terrorism and the drug trafficking that nurture so much violence and corruption. These threats continue as the producers have learned how to outwit government counternarcotics efforts.

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    Added December 29, 2006

    Castro's Cuba: Quo Vadis?

    Authored by Dr. Francisco Wong-Diaz.
    The United States, particularly the Army, has a long history of involvement with Cuba. What would be the strategic and political implications attendant to Castro’s eventual demise or incapacitation?

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    Added October 05, 2006

    Defense, Development, and Diplomacy (3D): Canadian and U.S. Military Perspectives

    Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
    The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College (USAWC); Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada; and the Canadian Land Forces Doctrine and Training System cosponsored a colloquium at Kingston, Ontario, Canada, on June 21-23, 2006.

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    Added July 17, 2006

    2006 Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL)

    Edited by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria, II.
    In today’s dynamic strategic environment, political changes can become challenges very quickly. Any list of key strategic issues must, therefore, include the broadest array of regional and functional concerns. This is a catalogue of significant issues, arranged as potential research topics, of concern to U.S. policymakers. As such, the KSIL is a ready source of topics that members of the defense community and academia can use to focus their research efforts.

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    Added July 14, 2006

    Canadian Defense Policy--A breath of Fresh Air

    Edited by Dr. Alex Crowther.
    Each month a member of the SSI faculty writes an editorial for our monthly newsletter. This is the Op-Ed for the July 2006 newsletter.

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    Added May 31, 2006

    Addicted to Oil: Strategic Implications of American Oil Policy

    Authored by Commander Thomas D. Kraemer.
    In his 2006 State of the Union address, President Bush proclaimed that "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world." The plan he then proposed is step one in weaning America from its addiction, and is a necessary but not fully sufficient step to ensuring our future national security through Middle East Oil independence.

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    Added January 01, 2006

    The Mexican Armed Forces in Transition

    Authored by Colonel Ian Nicholls, Dr. Jordi Diez.
    After the 9/11 attacks on the United States, homeland defense became the primary issue in U.S. defense policy. It was clear that homeland defense would have to become a trilateral continental issue and include Canada and Mexico.

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    Added October 01, 2005

    Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Bolivarian Socialism, and Asymmetric Warfare

    Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
    The author answers questions regarding Who is Hugo Chavez? How can the innumerable charges and countercharges between the Venezuelan and U.S. governments be interpreted? What is Chavez's bolivarianismo? And, What are the implications for stability and instability in Latin America?

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    Added July 01, 2005

    Sustainability of Colombian Military/Strategic Support for "Democratic Security"

    Authored by Dr. Thomas A. Marks.
    At a time when counterinsurgency is again widely discussed, embattled Colombia has implemented a Democratic Security and Defense Policy that shows every sign of success against a complex narco-insurgency that has raged for four decades. The strategic initiative has been seized by acting upon the principle that personal security is the basis for state vitality.

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    Added June 01, 2005

    The Strategic Implications of the Rise of Populism in Europe and South America

    Authored by Dr. Steve C. Ropp.
    Are U.S. policy planners adequately prepared to deal with a potential future burst of populist turbulence in Europe or South America? Steve C. Ropp looks at this understudied phenomenon and offers some suggestions to strategic planners for mitigating its effects on the global democratic core of representative democracies.

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    Added June 01, 2005

    U.S. National Security Implications of Chinese Involvement in Latin America

    Authored by Dr. R Evan Ellis.
    The underlying demographic and economic trends driving China's engagement with Latin America are significant and enduring—indicating that China's increased presence in the Western Hemisphere is likely to both endure and expand. This paper explores these trends, their manifestations, and some of the dynamics through which they may impact the national security of the United States.

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