1 M?CHIVE COPY NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY NATIONAL WAR COLLEGE REGIONAL SPECIALIZATION THE MIDDLE AMERICAS: MEXICO, PANAMA, CENTRAL AMERICA and the CARIBBEAN BASIN CORE COURSE 5604 MARK H. OWEN KENNETHAINMAN CLASS OF 1997 THE GEOSTRATEGIC CONTEXT SEMINAR J DR. MARVIN OTT: FACULTY COLONEL JOHN P. GIBEAU, USAF. STUDENT ADVISOR COLONEL N.E. WILLIAMS, USMC: STUDENT ADVISOR 3 March 1997
2 Report Documentation Page Form Approved OMB No Public reporting burden for the collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden, to Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports, 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington VA Respondents should be aware that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall be subject to a penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if it does not display a currently valid OMB control number. 1. REPORT DATE REPORT TYPE 3. DATES COVERED to TITLE AND SUBTITLE Regional Specialization. The Middle Americas: Mexico, Panama, Central America and the Carribean Basin 5a. CONTRACT NUMBER 5b. GRANT NUMBER 5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER 6. AUTHOR(S) 5d. PROJECT NUMBER 5e. TASK NUMBER 5f. WORK UNIT NUMBER 7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) National War College,300 5th Avenue,Fort Lesley J. McNair,Washington,DC, PERFORMING ORGANIZATION REPORT NUMBER 9. SPONSORING/MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) 10. SPONSOR/MONITOR S ACRONYM(S) 12. DISTRIBUTION/AVAILABILITY STATEMENT Approved for public release; distribution unlimited 13. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES 14. ABSTRACT see report 15. SUBJECT TERMS 11. SPONSOR/MONITOR S REPORT NUMBER(S) 16. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF: 17. LIMITATION OF ABSTRACT a. REPORT unclassified b. ABSTRACT unclassified c. THIS PAGE unclassified 18. NUMBER OF PAGES 13 19a. NAME OF RESPONSIBLE PERSON Standard Form 298 (Rev. 8-98) Prescribed by ANSI Std Z39-18
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4 1 Introduction Hrstoncally the United States (US> pard attentron to the nerghborhood to its south only m a cnsrs or when convement. Generally viewed as lag,tig m efforts to develop stable governments and self-sustammg economres, Mexrco, Central Amerrca to Include Panama and the Canbbean, henceforth bfiddle America, have m the last decade made progress m &versrfymg and opemng up their economres to global compeutron whrle instrtutmg democratic reforms This progress has come at a price. Rapidly expandmg urban populauons foster socro-economrc problems of vlolent crime, drug abuse, pollunon, sources of emrgrauon, subversion, terronsm, the potentral for msurgency and cozp de ems. Economrc under-development wrdens the gap between the nch and the poor exacerbatmg Illegal ermgratlon to the US. Large mrgrauons from Haru and Cuba have been especaally problematrc The CS pohcy mto the 21st Century should nurture regronal stabrhty and sustam economrc growth Stablhty and higher standards of hvmg are pursued as a prophalaxls agamst uncontrolled rnrgrauon and as a solutron for secunng vrable tradmg partners and secunty alhes. e US National Interests Middle Amenca does not currently represent srgmficant threats to the secunty of the United States. Accordmgly the US presently has no vital mterests m the area which reqmre m&tar-y attenuon. The US does have major and penpheral interests of mamtammg stab&y throughout the region m order to enhance our secunty and promote prospenty withm the US. The top four challenges to our secunty are those posed by massive northward flow of refugees, partrcularly from Mexrco, the conhnued growth of transnahonal crime, drsrupuon of
5 2 trade, and degradahon of the ecosystem. From a pohcy formulahon standpomt, these pnonhes are mcorporated mto the objechves of maintammg stability, economrc growth, and promohon of democracy. The Natzonal Secunty Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement, the North Amencan Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), US achons at the Miamr Summrt of the Americas, and the strong US commrhnent to a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) vabdate US pohcy as reflechng these mterests and pnonhes. US pobcy aimed at stabrhzmg the region is conhnually demonstrated m our achons m supportmg Mexrco durmg it s 1994 financml cnsrs, assuhng wnb the collaborahve effort to drffuse the Peru-Ecuador border dispute, m reestablrshmg the government in Haiti, and through our ongomg pressure agamst the repressrve government of Cuba Context Potenhd US XhOnS must be crafted consrdenng the context m wluch they will be applied The regron appears to be in better shape than rt has been for years All counmes m Mrddle America, wrtb the excephon of Cuba, have popularly elected governments and are movmg toward. market econonues. There 1s an aversion to using mibtary force to settle Qsputes or for rrnlrtary leadership to assume nahonal control. Wbrle thrs sves great hope, there are many rssues associated wrtb pohhcal and economrc success. Political. Wrtb the excephon of Cuba, many of the fledgmg democrahc governments are struggpg to estabhsh legrhmacy. Challenges range from apenodic crisis m prevrously long stable pohties lrke that m Mexrco, to major upheavals in new democracres such as Harh and Nicaragua Many counmes find it drfficult to overcome presrdentiabsm or rule by decree wbrle estabhshing
6 Ju&cmnes and constabulanes free of corruphon that are able to sustam the rule of law Leader&p successrons often result m penods of uncertamty and mstabrbty where the mrhtary all too often plays a major role Patronage systems usmg co-opnon of conshtuencies have created weak congresses and bureaucracies prone to corruphon Governments are mcreasmgly unresponsrve to the newly literate but urban poor populaces Economic. Middle Amenca 1s commrtted, out of necessity, to movmg away from state- owned, heavrly subs&zed, protected econonues to free market compehhve ones. NAFTA IS an example of this commitment both wrtbm and among the parhcrpants provrdmg a stable mtegrahng force in the region. Saddled wrtb btgh mfiahon, over-valued currencres, madequate mtemal and foreign mvestment, and hrgh debt to GDP rahos, thus report accepted an ambrhous regime of pnvauzmg, opening markets to global compehhon, and removng state subsidies Lowenng tar&s to enjom wrtb gtobal markets exposed mefficrent and nascent compames to compehhon for wbrch they were wholly unprepared Removmg sub&es too often meant no longer bemg able to meet payroll or other costs. Moreover, legal and financial mfrashuctures are either absent or unable to. attract sufficient domestic or foreign mvestment depnvmg these fragile mdusmes of resources necessary to modermze and expand. Addrhonally, the labor force remams largely mflexble being unable to rapidly adapt to technological advances When mdustry fatls to absorb tins largely unslulled labor force, unemployment places addrhonal demands on government mfrastructures provrding more compehhon for resources Tbrs picture IS further complicated by the rlbcrt narco-economy wmch detracts from economrc progress, divertmg tax revenues, and feedmg corruphon.
7 4 Social. Growmg urban populahons, unemployment, poverty, madequate pubhc servrces for health, and educahon are interrelated problems that reqmre increased attenhon from the region s governments. Democrahc values and free market mshmhons coupled wrtb unprecedented access to global mass media have led to uruversally brgh expectatlons One effect IS populahon growth. Demographically, tbrs rest&s in a very large, youthful population which faces mcreased compehhon for resources e g pubhc education, services and Jobs WA tberr equally brgh expectahons, these swelling ranks serve as a rich source of pokhcd and social acuvny. Already tlus mobile, drssahsfied populahon serves to advance the Illegal drug industry, nahonabst and bberal guemlla movements, and to exacerbate environmental problems such as deforestahon and pollution Cultural. The most srgmficant feature of Mrddle Amencan culture that bears on US achon 1s wrdespread drstrust of US mtenhons US achons in the past have represented a general pattern of rgnonng the regron save for occasional mrlrtary mtervenhons m penods of convenience or cnsrs Tbrs distrust coupled wlthfrancmommza and a manana amtude makes US-style nahon burldmg, coabuon bmldmg, and pohcy execuhon drfficult. s Military. Mibtaries also have a long tradrhon of protechng the extant government as tbeu pnmary duty. Bemg focused on mtemal threats m the absence of external ones leads Mrddle Amencan mrhtarres to be less professional and more easily exploited by leaders who vrew an electoral challenge as a mrlitary mrssron Down-slung of the armed forces has done a great deal to ameliorate these negahve aspects of the mrlrtary culture but many servrces shll chafe at the concept of civrl control
8 5 Critical Challenpes and Threats to US Interests While regional issues do not drrectly threaten US security, there are a number of threats to and OF/pOrIUIUheS for advancmg our nahonal interests Regional Instability. The pnncrpal threat to US interests IS uncontrolled mrgratron resultrng from mstablhty Likely mamfestauons of mstabihty are economrc dechne, vrolent socral unrest, or border disputes. Of major concern would be an economrc farlure or msurgency m Mexico wrth potenhahy mrlhons of refugees makmg therr way across the US border (one Pentagon study suggests up to 12 mrlhon m 60 days)(kjonnerod: The US has already expenenced the destabrhzmg effects of large nugratrons from Ham and Cuba Upheaval 111 Mddle Amerrca would be a senous challenge for the US Economic Growth and Development The US has an opportumty to enhance its economrc prospenty through access to markets and expansion of US trade mto the regron Alternately, demed tradmg access IS a threat to our economrc well-bemg The market m the Pvfiddle Americas already nvals our current trade wrth Europe- the potentral for conmmed growth 1svaSt.. Access to natural resources m the region 1s also rmportant to the US. Petroleum and strategic matenals will remam key mterests for the US now and m the future Transnational Crime. Drugs, then rmpact on US the domeshc scene, the corruption associated wnh drug money, and the ilhcrt trafficking combme to make the transnahonal drug syndicates a scourge for the US and their unwrlbng host countrres. Corruphon, drversron of the legmmate work force, mcreased tension over sovereignty, illegal rmgratron, and money laundenng can havre detnmental effects on host economres and mtemauonal relatrons.
9 6 Other Threats. Environmental degradahon, natural and manmade disasters, nsmg mcldents of disease and the npple effect of rapid populahon growth remam US concerns Access to and through the Panama Canal has economx impacts and 1t.s contmued operahon IS in the best mterest of US world-ullde trade. US Obiectives: Linkha Wavs Means and Ends US objechves m Mddle Amenca fall mto long-term and short-term categories. Both categones are designed to achieve regional stabihty and address threats Relahve to the other regions of the world, Middle Amenca is relahvely confhct free and imposes no mm&late, secunp threat to the US but it should not be dsnussed. Mamtainmg and enhancmg stab&y allows the US to be more effective wlthm the region but more importantly, elsewhere Posihve. sum synerples evldent m the area make achlevmg economx, pohhcd and secunty objechves possible. Our long-term econonuc objective IS to secure Middle Amenca as a resonal market for the US and to estabhsh trade patterns favorable to the Americas Polihczdly, the objechve 1s to suppoh the evoluhon of mature, representahve governments which serve tbex pollhes wth regards for minonty nghts, rule of law, and equable dxmbution of wealth and opportumty. The s secunty objechve entis preservmg the emhng bilateral agreements whle creahng couechve secunty arrangement for the region. The ways and means of acluevmg these objectives involves usmg the synergy already m play between economic development and pohhcd reform. Since US mvolvement m polihcd refoys would be viewed as unwelcome meddlmg m sovereignty, the better approach would be to engage on the econonuc front where Middle Amenca is more sangume about US assxtance Mod+hes such as the Intemahond Development Bank, NAFTA, FTA4, and the World Trade
10 7 Orgamzauon as well as the mndnndual rnteractrons of private mvestors and mdustnes serve as the prmclpal mstrumems. The US should avoid attempting to achieve pohtical reforms by lmkmg such items as trade and human rights policies to performance goals The Orgamzanon for Amencan States (OAS) and sub-regional secunty coahnons vvlll serve as the departure pomt for achievmg the goal of collecnve secunty 111 the 21st Century. In the short-term, achieving the US oblecnve of regional stab&y centers upon engagement intent upon resolving issues associated with the region s hot spots, namely; Mexico Hatti, and Cuba In Cuba, engagement means supporung change of governmental form or facihtatmg their ultnnate mtegrauon mto the regional economy; whichever 1s easier Specific acnons would be the revocanon of Helms-Burton Act, openmg trade and private economic development, and allowing the nnberanves of a free market to work m Cuba Democracy will come. In Haiti, our oblecave IS to sustam a viable democracy 1 e sohdifymg our gams while nuugatr.ng losses As an econonnc and ecological disaster we must make maximum use of Non- Governmental Orgamzanons (NGO s) to leverage lnnrted US arde, and mtematlonal investment Contingency plans for military mterventron under the auspices of the OAS with the capabihty to restore order is prudent. Our approach to Mexico has to be one of construcnve engagement It 1s in our mterest for Mexico to be a robust stable tradmg partner and a reliable securny ally. We must continue to encourage trade and mvestment but reahze that NAFTA s potenhal may be slow m developing More important is the encouragement and enhancement of democratic inshtuhons and rule of law. Those who reform should be supported either directly or through K-GO s such as the
11 8 Nauonal Endowment for Democracy International Mr.hta.ry Education and Traming (IMET) Program, student exchange, and congresslonal exchange are representauve techniques that can be used to inculcate their mtelhgentsia with democrahc models and free market prmciples Two other stabrbzmg acnons that the US can take are to contmue on mmimize the permanent nnlitary footprint m the region and reduce the domeshc demand for drugs The Panama Canal Treaty of 1979 calls for ehmmation of US nuhtary presence in Panama by Argumg for conhnued military presence to secure the Canal for C-S use is insupportable and the treaty as it stands should be honored Support for the President s 1997 drug pohcy should conhnue as is in the short term Demand reduchon coupled with attacks on supply and Qstnbution may reduce drug profits and its attendant ills. In the long-term, however, the drug war 1s a rmssion agamst a symptom rather than a cause causes which are mulnple and different m the US and m the Mddle Amencan countnes involved. Over tune, progress m the pohtrcal and econonnc objechves urlll have a greater contnbuuon to solving this problem. The US will contmue to lead and pay for this campargn Toward the Future (the 21st Centurvl / As the US and our Middle Amencan neighbors move mto the 21 Century, we wr.ll wlmess a host of events many of which will dlsappomt m the short term and only pan out in the longer recuperahon ill be slower than imagined and consequences will continue to be pamful. NAFTA wrll stall in the face of fragle econonnes and mcompahble pohhcal structures. Sub-regonal integrahon mihahves such as the FTAA and the Central Amencan Common Market will be the means by which progress will be secured Pohtical mstablllty m Mexico will contmue
12 9 as econonnc growth and development challenges entrenched pohncal msntuhons Mexico wrll muddle through Cuba wr.ll likely face a socro-econonnc cnsls as the drspanty m development between its neighbors begms to mamfest itself m the extreme. The crises will be accelerated and punctuated by a transltron from Castro s leadership. The US strategy should contmue to support democratzahon m the region through drrected ad and assrstance programs targeted at estabhshmg lnshtuhons of accountablhty and fau representanon The US, as a member m the OAS and UK, should be prepared to mtervene nuhtanly m cases where regronal mstabihty are expressed m the extreme e.g Ham and a transqonal Cuba. The US, however urlll bear the burden of leadership and cost.
13 10 Sources Consulted Clmton, Wflnun Jefferson, A Nahonal Secunty Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement, The White House, February 1996, US Government Prmtmg Office Washmgton, DC Cope, John, Western Hemisphere, 111 Strategic Assessment I995 (Washington, DC: Institute for Nahonal Strategrc Studies, 1995), pp Dlaz-kriquets, Sergio, Demographic and Environmental Trends m Latm America: Imphcauons for US Interests, paper presented at the LATAM 2010 Conference, NDU, Washington, DC, 18 September Dormpguez, Jorge, The Latin American Crisis of Representahon, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 76, No. 1, Jan-Feb 1997, pp Dowqes, &chard L., New Secunty Relahons m the Americas,,, NDU Stratetic Forum No 47, September Duedzic, Michael J. Mexico and U S Grand Strategy The Geo-Strategic Lmchpm to Secunty and Prospenty, (1995),.pp. l-40, unpubhshed paper The Economist, The Backlash m Latm America: Gestures Agamst Reform, Nov , pp Emaudl, Ltngi R., The Polmcs of Security m the Western Hemxsphere, m Parameters, Wmter , pp Fldler, Stephen Mexico What kmd of Transihon7 m International Affau-s, Vol 72, No. 4 (1996), pp Grtffiih, Ivelaw L., Canbbean Security on the Eve of the 21st Centruy, Nahonal Defense Umversity, McNarr Paper #54, October RJonnerod L Enk, Beyond the Canal US Regional Secunty m the Post 2000 Era, m Hennsphenc Secunty m Transltron- AdJustmg to the Post 1995 Environment, ( NDU Press, Washington, DC 1995), pp RJonn,erod L Enk, Lecture on Central America, Nahonal War College, 27 Feb 97 Laney, Garrme P. Puerto Rmo: Polihcal Status ophons, Issue Bnef, Congressional Research Service, 6 February hkum Moises, Hennsphenc Economic Integrahon: Big Bang, Gradual Evoluhon, or Fadmg Hope, Paper prepared for LATSM 2010 Conference, NDU, Washington, DC, 18 September 1996.
14 11 Manwarmg, Max G, Hemlsphenc Security, h-ow and for the Future, m L Erik KJonnerod (ed.), Hemlsphenc Security m Transrnon. Adjustmg to the Post 1995 Environment (NDU Press, Washmgton, DC 19f5>, pp McCaffrey, Barry, A Former CIC Looks at Latm Amenca, Jomt Forces Quarterly, Spnng 1996, pp Xaughton, Wtiam A., The Panama Base Talks: Seekmg a Wm-Wm Agreement, Paper prepared for the U S -Panama Exploratory Talks, simulahon, XDU, WGSC, 18 Apnl 1996 Pastor, Robert A, The Canbbean Basm m Jeremy R Azreal and Errol A Paym (eds.), US and Russian Polxymakmg wzth Respect to the Use of Force, (Rand, Santa Monica, CA 1996:. Sulhvan, Mark P, Panama-US Relauons Contmumg Pohcy Concerns, issue bnef, Congressional Research Semce, 2 Jan 97 Storres, K Larry, Guatemala Background and Relahons with the US smce 1985, Congressional Research Service, F, 18 May 1995 Taft-h&ales and Serafino, Xma, Nicaragua: Change Smce 1990 and US Concerns, Congressional Research Service, F, 7 Ott 1996.