National Security and United States Policy Toward Latin America

National Security and United States Policy Toward Latin America

Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 398
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  • Book Info
    National Security and United States Policy Toward Latin America
    Book Description:

    Lars Schoultz proposes a way for all those interested in U.S. foreign policy fully to appreciate the terms of the present debate. To understand U.S. policy in Latin America, he contends, one must critically examine the deeply held beliefs of U.S. policy makers about what Latin America means to U.S. national security.

    Originally published in 1987.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5849-1
    Subjects: Technology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
    (pp. viii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    (pp. xix-2)
    (pp. 3-33)

    In the waning days of America’s involvement in Vietnam, a weary Secretary of State was asked to discuss the forces that had brought about defeat. Henry Kissinger responded that the collapse had come at home, not in the jungles of Indochina. Too many citizens had come to oppose U.S. policy, he said, and “any foreign policy of the United States that is not based on public support, and above all on congressional support, will not have a firm foundation.”¹ Lacking this support, two administrations had been ruined and a third was overseeing the forced withdrawal of American forces from Indochina....

    (pp. 34-68)

    “Since the early nineteenth century, the primary interest of the United States in Latin America has been to have the area be a peaceful, secure southern flank.”¹ Thus begins the brief discussion of Latin America in the most widely adopted national security textbook of our time. Few U.S. citizens recognize how difficult it is for policy makers to be given these obvious but vague goals—peace and security—and told to convert them into concrete public policy. It is a staggering task. No U.S. citizen knows, for example, how to make Bolivia peaceful and secure. Frustrated with attempts in this...

  10. Part I The Causes of Instability
    • 2 POVERTY
      (pp. 71-105)

      A substantial proportion—probably a majority—of policy makers believes that poverty is the cause of instability in Latin America. For over thirty years a focus upon poverty has been the hallmark of liberal interpretations of instability in Latin America. Representative Gerry Studds, for example, would be expected to attribute “the primary cause of violence in El Salvador” to “human misery,” just as Senators Leahy and Pell would be expected to conclude that “the large social and economic disparities which have dominated Salvadoran society bred this revolution.”¹ There is no surprise in these statements; indeed, their absence would be surprising....

      (pp. 106-140)

      Since the end of World War II, the foreign policy of the United States has been dedicated to the containment of Communism The United States pursues this policy because of the belief that Communism is a threat to our peace and security.

      U.S. citizens differ in their understanding of the precise nature of the threat. Many conceive of the threat in terms of an economic model communism vs. capitalism To most U.S policy makers, however, communism as an economic system is no threat, indeed, it is perceived as such an objective failure that no one would willingly choose it over...

  11. Part II The Consequences of Instability:: Strategic Access
      (pp. 143-159)

      Two important facts begin all discussions about the relationship between raw materials and national security: first, raw materials are not distributed equally among the nations of the world and, second, the locations where they are distributed are often not the locations where they are needed.

      These two facts are the source of considerable concern in Washington, for over the course of the twentieth century the United States has developed into the world’s largest importer of unprocessed raw materials. Until about 1910, U.S. supplies of most raw materials greatly exceeded domestic needs, but this surplus disappeared in the years immediately prior...

      (pp. 160-190)

      In their public pronouncements and especially in their statements before congressional committees, Washington policy makers often assert that Latin America provides the United States with two significant types of military assistance: access to military facilities and military support from Latin American armed forces. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze these two aspects of Latin America’s role in U.S. policy makers’ strategic planning. As in the preceding analysis of raw materials, the goal is not only to discuss the beliefs and perceptions of policy makers but also to assess the specific nature both of U.S. military bases in Latin...

      (pp. 191-222)

      Freedom of the seas is among the most enduring and significant principles of United States foreign policy. In times of peace the world’s maritime routes—or, to use the term employed by national security officials, sea lines of communication (SLOCs)—belong to no nation, all nations are free to use the sea for military, commercial, or recreational purposes. When international tensions rise, however, the continued use of essential sea lines becomes a fundamental problem of national security. An assistant secretary of defense summarized perfectly the Latin American aspect of this problem when he warned that “radical regimes, working with Cuba...

  12. Part III The Consequences of Instability:: Strategic Denial
      (pp. 225-267)

      Since the end of World War II a fundamental problem facing U.S. policy makers has been how to keep the Soviet Union out of Latin America. The problem is strategic denial, and it is part of the very core concern of postwar U.S. foreign policy: the containment of Communism. But it is more than that. Since 1823, a quarter century before publication of theCommunist Manifestoand almost a century before the Russian Revolution, the United States has pursued a general policy of keeping other nations, whatever their ideologies or intentions, from acquiring territory and, later, influence in the Western...

      (pp. 268-307)

      Imagine for a moment that the worst has happened: it is the year 2000, and all of Latin America is in the hands of governments directly allied with Cuba and closely linked to the Soviet Union. Soviet naval vessels patrol at will in the Caribbean, and the 1962 Kennedy-Khrushchev agreement barring Soviet offensive weapons from Cuba has become irrelevant, since several other Latin American governments have offered Moscow bases throughout the region.

      What are the implications for U.S. security? The Communist countries of Latin America, like their Eastern European comrades, remain anxious to trade with the United States. But it’s...

      (pp. 308-330)

      The battles that have been occurring in Washington over United States policy toward Latin America are the product of policy makers’ differing beliefs about the causes and consequences of instability.

      In the 1980s, the policy makers who believe Communist adventurism is the cause of instability in Central America based their belief on what they consider irrefutable facts: Nicaragua had fallen to people who called themselves Marxists, El Salvador was falling to people who called themselves Marxists, and Guatemala was besieged by two guerrilla groups with suspicious names: the Guerrilla Army of the Poor and the Revolutionary Organization of the People...

    (pp. 331-366)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 367-377)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 378-378)