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Colombia Studies

Added August 31, 2010
Type: Monograph
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.
Added May 11, 2010
Type: Monograph
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.
Added February 12, 2010
Type: Colloquium Brief
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.
Added November 27, 2009
Type: PKSOI Papers
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."
Added December 16, 2008
Type: Monograph
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.
Added March 12, 2007
Type: Letort Papers
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.
Added July 01, 2005
Type: Monograph
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.
Added July 01, 2003
Type: Monograph
Perspectives from Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia: Hemispheric Security. Authored by Ambassador Pedro Villagra Delgado, Dr. Luiz Bitencourt, Major General Henry Medina Uribe.
There is a lack of a common view regarding precisely "What is a threat?" and "What is security?" which is the heart of the stability problem in Latin America. These authors acknowledge that the traditional definition of security and threat is no longer completely valid.
Added May 01, 2003
Type: Monograph
The United States and Colombia: The Journey from Ambiguity to Strategic Clarity. Authored by Dr. Gabriel Marcella.
Paper identifies the strategic challenge to Colombia within the context of the weak state and ungoverned space, under attack from the violence and corruption generated bi international criminals, terrorists, and paramilitarism. Lessons learned will have powerful effects for the adaptation of American strategy to the conflict paradigm of 21st century.
Added March 01, 2003
Type: Monograph
Mapping Colombia: The Correlation between Land Data and Strategy. Authored by Dr. Geoffrey Demarest.
The mapping of Colombian national territory, however, is fundamental to the problem of control of national territory. As a threshold matter, policy, strategy, and military asset management in contemporary conflict in virtually any unstable part of the world must deal with the problem of governance in "lawless areas."
Added December 01, 2002
Type: Monograph
Plan Colombia: Reality of the Colombian Crisis and Implications for Hemispheric Security. Authored by Dr. Luz E. Nagle.
The author analyzes Colombia's problems and makes recommendations regarding what it will take to achieve stated U.S. and Colombian objectives in that crisis situation. She also examines the concomitant issue of "spillover" from the Colombian crisis into the rest of the Latin American region. The results and recommendations of this analysis go well beyond prescribing a simple military solution to the complex political-economic-social-moral-security issues of this 50-year-old war.
Added October 01, 2002
Type: Monograph
Colombia's Conflicts: The Spillover Effects of a Wider War. Authored by Mr. Richard Millett.
It provides a careful examination of the so-called "spillover" problems generated by Colombia's three simultaneous wars against illegal drug traffickers, insurgents, and self-appointed paramilitary groups. All seek, in one way or another, violently to change or depose the state. All use the uncontrolled "gray areas" in Colombia and its neighboring states to sustain, conduct, and replenish their nefarious operations without risk of significant interference.
Added May 01, 2002
Type: Monograph
Nonstate Actors in Colombia: Threat and Response. Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
Colombia's "Hobbesian Trinity" of illegal drug traffickers, insurgents, and paramilitary organizations are creating a situation in which life is indeed "nasty, brutish, and short." Political and military leaders can start thinking about the gravity of the terrorist strategy employed by Colombia's stateless adversaries from this point. It is also the point from which leaders can begin developing re
Added March 01, 2002
Type: Monograph
The Past as Prologue: A History of U.S. Counterinsurgency Policy in Colombia, 1958-66. Authored by Mr. Dennis M. Rempe.
The author outlines the history of U.S. counterinsurgency policy and the recommendations made by U.S. Special Survey Teams in Colombia from 1958-66. An examination of that history and the concomitant recommendations indicates that a review of that record would be in order. It provides a point of departure from which policymakers in the United States and Colombia can review where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go.
Added January 01, 2002
Type: Monograph
Colombian Army Adaptation to FARC Insurgency. Authored by Dr. Thomas A. Marks.
The author points out that Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) insurgents actively are pursuing a strategy to mobilize the disaffected and disposed people of Colombia, and to control the entire national territory. At the same time, he argues that no one in the national political establishment has taken the initiative to conduct an appropriate effort to deny FARC its objective.
Added December 01, 2001
Type: Monograph
Colombia's Paramilitaries: Criminals or Political Force? Authored by Mr. David Spencer.
The author points out, first, that the Colombian paramilitary self-defense forces represent some important sectors of society, and enjoy more popular support from Colombian society than the insurgents. Second, the paramilitaries have developed into a powerful irregular force that is proving itself capable of challenging Colombian guerrillas. Third, while they commit horrendous atrocities, they have been successful where the state has not.
Added June 01, 2001
Type: Book
U.S. Security Policy in the Western Hemisphere: Why Colombia, Why Now, and What Is To Be Done? Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.
In substantive U.S. national security terms, the author addresses the questions, Why Colombia, Why Now, and What Is To Be Done? He points out that the fragile democracy of Colombia is at risk, and that the violent spillover effects of three simultaneous wars pose a threat to the rest of the Western Hemisphere and the interdependent global community. He recommends an actionable political-military s
Added June 01, 2001
Type: Book
Plan Colombia: Some Differing Perspectives. Authored by Dr. Gabriel Marcella, GEN (RET) Charles E. Wilhelm, Colombian General Alvaro Valencia Tovar, Dr. Ricardo Arias Calderon, Mr. Chris Marquis.
Contains introduction and four papers present distinct perspectives on the potential effectiveness of Plan Colombia. Co-authors include former Commander of US Southern Command, former Vice-President of Panama, a noted Colombian military intellectual, and New York Times correspondent.
Added May 01, 2001
Type: Monograph
The Search for Accountability and Transparency in PLAN COLOMBIA: Reforming Judicial Institutions--Again. Authored by Dr. Luz E. Nagle.
The author argues that confidence in an efficient, courageous and transparent judiciary goes to the very heart of the governability of Colombia, and that Plan Colombia does not address the root causes of Colombia's problems. These are weak government, inequality, absence of citizen participation, corruption and an ineffective legal system.
Added May 01, 2001
Type: Book
Plan Colombia: The View from the Presidential Palace. Authored by Mr. Eduardo Pizano.
The author, a former member of the Colombian Senate and now the General Secretary to the President of Colombia, discusses various misconceptions stemming from the uncertainty and confusion that permeated conference discussions involving U.S. policy in Colombia and the implementation of Plan Colombia. Finally, he argues that there are no cocksure short-term answers to Colombia s problems. What is c
Added May 01, 2001
Type: Monograph
European Perceptions of Plan Colombia: A Virtual Contribution to a Virtual War and Peace Plan? Authored by Dr. Joaquin Roy.
Europeans apparently do not approve of the seeming U.S. emphasis on providing military equipment and training to Colombia for a counternarcotics effort in what they see as a larger strategic political conflict. At the same time, he reports that Europeans are not only concerned with the counternarcotics violence in Colombia, but also with the economic, security, and political spillover effects for
Added May 01, 2001
Type: Book
U.S. Support of PLAN COLOMBIA: Rethinking the Ends and Means. Authored by Dr. Stephen E. Flynn.
The author argues that the U.S. emphasis on drug control in its support of Plan Colombia is misguided and akin to prescribing an antibiotic regime to combat a disease not caused by bacteria or similar micro-organisms. The illegal drug industry in Colombia is not the cause of that country's fragile socio-political system, but a symptom of and a contributor to the fragility of the Colombian state.
Added April 01, 2001
Type: Monograph
Fighting the Hobbesian Trinity in Colombia: A New Strategy for Peace. Authored by Colonel Joseph R. Nunez.
After introducing what he calls the Hobbesian trinity, the author discusses alternatives to intervention and notes the complexity of the human rights challenge. He suggests a new strategy for improving human security, government accountability, democratic reform, and peace prospects. The author argues that the current approach is heading the wrong way, moving away from peace and fomenting greater instability.
Added April 01, 2001
Type: Book
Plan Colombia: The Strategic and Operational Imperatives. Authored by Dr. Gabriel Marcella.
Examines the strategic theory within Plan Colombia, the master plan which the government of Colombia developed to strengthen democracy through peace, security, and economic development. Recommends that the United States and the world community assist Colombia, but the sacrifices must be made collectively by Colombians.
Added March 01, 2000
Type: Monograph
The United States and Colombia: Untying the Gordian Knot. Authored by Ambassador David Passage.
Twenty-five years after the end of the Vietnam War, the ghost of that war still haunts the corridors of the decision makers when it comes to making long-term commitments to situations that remotely resemble anything like our Indochina experience. That is the case in with Colombia, which is embroiled in an internecine struggle with two guerrilla movements bent on overthrowing the government as well
Added March 01, 1999
Type: Monograph
Landpower and Ambiguous Warfare: The Challenge of Colombia in the 21st Century. Authored by Dr. Richard Downes.
The meeting highlighted the urgency of the Colombian crisis and the need for a comprehensive response by Colombia, the United States, and the regional community of nations. Much of the dialogue developed the principal subthemes of the conference: the sources of violence; the role of the guerrillas, paramilitaries, and narcotraffickers; the institutional capabilities and responses of the Colombian government and armed forces; and the role of the United States.
Added March 01, 1999
Type: Monograph
Colombia's Three Wars: U.S. Strategy at the Crossroads. Authored by Dr. Gabriel Marcella, Dr. Donald E. Schulz.
U.S. policy is at a critical juncture. Can a strategy based on counter-narcotics be enough and even be separated from counter-insurgency? Authors argue no, that a more robust and comprehensive level of support is necessary, given the gravity of Colombia's problems.