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Strategic Effects of Conflict with Iraq: Latin America

Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring. | March 2003

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The contemporary security environment?to include the war on terrorism that Latin American leaders perceive?is a multipolar world in which one or 100 state and nonstate actors are exerting differing types and levels of power within a set of formal and informal cross-cutting alliances. This situation is extremely volatile and dangerous, and requires careful attention. In these terms, the United States and the rest of the international community must understand and cope with the threats imposed by diverse actors engaged in the destabilizing and devastating violence that is often called ?terrorism.? If the United States and its major allies concentrate interest and resources on Iraq and ignore what is happening in Latin America?and what is likely to happen without the implementation of the sort of strategic reforms recommended in this monograph? the expansion of terrorism, the expansion of ?lawless areas,? and the expansion of general instability could easily destroy the democracy, free market economies, and prosperity that has been achieved in recent years. In turn, that would constitute a direct threat to U.S. national security and an indirect threat to the U.S. position in the world.