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Harold Trinkunas
In the wake of the Cold War, regional democratization and economic liberalization were supposed to usher in an opportunity to build a common hemispheric security agenda, designed to unite the United States and Latin America in collaboration against the "new" security threats posed by organized crime and violent nonstate actors. Two decades later, the threats remain much the same, yet the hemispheric security agenda has fragmented, replaced in part by projects designed to build specifically South American regional institutions. As some scholars predieted, heterogeneous threat perceptions across the region, differences over democratization, and tensions over the effects offree trade and market liberalization have confounded the effort to build a hemispheric security agenda. Yet the efforts by former President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela to radically transform the regional security order by building a Bolivarian alliance of states as an explicit counterweight to U. S. power have also fallen short. Jnstead, Brazil's ascent as a global economic power and the growing prosperity of the region as a whole has created an opportunity for Brazil to organize new mid-range political institutions, embodied in the Union of South American States (UNASUR), that exclude the United States yet pursue a consensual security agenda. This emerging regional order is designed by Brazil to secure its leadership in South America and allow it to choose when and where to involve the United States in managing regional crises. Yet, Brazil is finding that the very obstacles that confounded hemispheric security collaboration afier the Cold War still endure in South America, limiting the effectiveness of the emerging regional security order

ontemporary accounts of insecurity in Latin America focus with good reason on the rising tide of violence and threats to public safety in cities such as Caracas, Ciudad Jurez, and Kingston; along bordersparticularly the U.S.Mexico and Mexico-Guatemala border; and along smuggling routes in Central

Harold Trinkunas is an associate professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and a visiting professor at the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies at the University of California, San Diego. The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and they do not represent those of the U.S. Navy or the U.S. government.

Journal of International Affairs, Spring/Summer 2013, Vol. 66, No. 2. The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York


Harold Trinkunas America and the Caribbean. Organized crime, narcotics, smuggling, gangs, and other violent nonstate actors are the main threat to security, and in some cases, give rise to the talk about failed states in the Western Hemisphere.' These threats are similar, although perhaps played out in different settings and with other actorS; to those Latin America faced during the 1990s in the wake of the Cold War. At that time, the wave of democratization and liberalization that swept through Latin America gave rise to the hope that the region would move away from traditional geopolitical tensions and towards a cooperative regional security agenda that countered the new security threats posed by organized crime and supported the prevailing agenda for free elections and free trade. In turn, free trade would support deepening economic interdependence, a convergence of security interests between the United States and Latin America, and a regional democratic peace. So what went wrong? In his seminal 1998 article, "Security in Latin America," Andrew Hurrell observed that the enduring heterogeneity of interests and threat perceptions between states in the Southern Cone of South America, the Andes, Central America, and the United States were obstacles to regional collaboration. He argued that democratization and regional integration were as likely to accentuate disagreements as to resolve them, and he predicted that variation in perceptions of threat among states would hinder cooperation against transnational crime.^ Today, Hurrell's warnings have by and large been borne out: threat perceptions remain heterogeneous across the region; disagreements over what is a democracy have produced new ideological tensions between states; integration projects have advanced modestly amidst great argument; and the perennial calls to regionalize responses to growing criminal violence have foundered on national interests. However, the centrality of the United States for the regional security order has decreased during the past decade, at least for states in South America. Steady economic improvement in states across the region and the limited impact of the global financial crisis on regional economies since, has provided governments, particularly in Brazil and Venezuela, with new latitude to pursue regional security arrangements and agendas that do not include the United States as a participant. Key Latin American statessuch as Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuelahave historically had the ambition to establish a more autonomous foreign and security policy. Argentina thought itself the economic rival of the United States, nearly equal in GDP per capita at the end of the nineteenth century. Brazil sought the diplomatic prerogatives associated with great power status by becoming a co-belligerent during the First World War and a member of the Allies during the Second World War. During the 1960s and 1970s, Venezuela played a leading role in forming the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the


Reordering Regional Security in Latin America

Contadora Group. Historically, these ambitions were eventually checked by crises of development and growth.^ More recently, steady gains and increasingly favorable terms of trade for exports have provided some Latin American states with a period of stability from the late 1990s to 2008a contrast with the economic downturns of the 1980s and 1990s. This upturn has been particularly significant in the case of Brazil, which has become one of the ten largest economies in the world, and Venezuela, which At thc Cnd of benefited from unprecedented windfall oil rents due fVip (^olH Wpir to the steady climb in the world price for oil for the ,

past decade."

some observers

Economic gains during the past decade provided WCrC OptlITllStlC both Brazil and Venezuela with the wherewithal to b o u t rOSDCCtS renew their ambitions for regional leadership and a ^^ re?Onal order Venezuela, Venezuela under the leader^ revised security order. ship of former President Hugo Chavez, attempted to use its booming oil revenues to consolidate a regional in thc coalition, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), with an explicitly revisionist agenda towards the international order and towards the U.S. role in this order.' Brazil has pursued an alternative diplomatic approach to building new regional institutions, focused on the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and its associated defense wing, the South American Defense Council (CDS).^ Significant Brazilian elites aspire to a global role, including a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and UNASUR is part of a strategy of consolidating regional leadership. Revisionism aimed at the security order in South America is unlikely to produce a radical shift in the focus of the regional security agenda. The regional security threats remain the same, at least in nature if not in the specific identity and location of violent nonstate actors and organized crime groups.^ Brazil, the only power in the region that has the potential to achieve major power status based on traditional indicators used in the literature on power transitionpopulation size, economic growth, and stage of developmentseeks marginal adjustments to the international order that accommodates its ambitions to be a great power.^ However, the same obstacles that plagued the development of a consensual regional security agenda during the 1990squestions about democratization, tensions over economic integration, and differences in threat perceptionsare now on the agenda of the new regional security institutions, regardless of their exclusion of the United States as a participant.


Harold Trinkunas

At the end of the Cold War, some observers were optimistic about prospects for regional peace and security in the Western Hemisphere, believing that economic interdependence, regional integration, and democratization would produce a hemispheric "Kantian" peace.^ The end of military dictatorships across the region during the 1980s provided an opportunity to test the reach of this democratic peace theory.'^ Free trade and market liberalization, the so-called Washington Consensus, were the prevailing economic doctrine, and following the successful ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), negotiations for a region-wide Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) were foremost on the regional trade agenda. At least theoretically, deepening economic interdependence in the region suggested that interstate tensions should diminish. Finally, the prevalence of nonstate threats to regional security such as organized crime, smuggling, and other forms of illicit trafficking gave rise to the hope that a collaborative region-wide security agenda was possible. After all, surely states could agree to cooperate to combat violent nonstate actors that were a threat to all of their citizens." As David Mares argues, the international status quo in Latin America is deceptive, in that war is infrequent but the alternative is a "violent peace," a situation in which there are few interstate wars but enduring border disputes.'^ Latin America is geographically distant from conflicts between great powers in Eurasia; many of its state borders lie along remote, difficult to access terrain; and regional military capabilities are relatively modest. This has translated into a small and declining number of major interstate wars within the region since the nineteenth century. There is also a regional predilection for addressing territorial disputes via arbitration and international law on the basis of uti possidetis juris, a legal doctrine that enshrines the legitimacy of inherited colonial boundaries.'-* However, many border disputes go unresolved for decades, such as those between Peru and Chile over maritime borders, Bolivia and Chile over access to the sea, and Colombia and Nicaragua over the San Andrs islands.''' The perpetual diplomacy over border disputes and the diminishing number of interstate wars provides a regional appearance of peace that masks the enduring possibility for violence and militarization, thereby reducing the possibility that a so-called Kantian peace will take root. The recent near-war in 2008 between Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela is an illustration of how persistent border tensions and the political calculations of elected leaders can still lead to conflict. The dispute caused by the Colombian bombing of an insurgent camp across the border in Ecuador generated military mobilization in Venezuela and Ecuador yet, in the end, was settled at a meeting of Latin American


Reordering Regional Security in Latin America leaders in Santo Domingo.'^ Initially, democratization offered the possibility of a "warmer" peace in Latin America during the 1990s. The most prominent conflict in Latin America during the previous decadeinvolving Sandinista Nicaragua, its neighbors in Central America, and the United Statesended in a peaceful negotiation following the end of the Cold War and transitions to democracy across most of the subregion.'^ In the Southern Cone, elected leaders sought to restrain the power of their own militaries by resolving territorial disputes and limiting defense spending.'^ More recently, Argentina and Chile have also pursued an agenda of resolving territorial disputes and engaging in confidence-building measures such as exchange of information about troop deployments, shared methodologies for calculating defense spending, and joint training between their armed forces.'^ The possibility of a Kantian peace was explicitly pursued by democratizers across the region, culminating in the Inter-American Democratic Charter signed by Organization of American States (OAS) members in September 2001. This document, which called for the common defense of democratic regimes in the Americas against unconstitutional overthrow, reflected a shared belief that the consolidation of democracy in the Americas would shift the region towards peace and a cooperative security agenda. Yet, the very states that moved towards more peaceful relations during the 1990s have begun to increase defense spending, and the regional consensus on the defense of democracy has worn increasingly thin. Democratic consolidation in a number of states has produced elected leaders that have grown less fearful of a coup d'tat and less interested in restraining defense spending as a way to control their armed forces. In some cases, perceptions of increased domestic and international threats have spurred higher levels of defense spending, particularly in the cases of Colombia and Venezuela. Economic stability in Brazil has been accompanied by a steady rise in military spending, and Brazil now accounts for half of all defense spending in Latin America.'^ Border disputes continue to produce regional crises, not only in the aforementioned Colombia-Venezuela-Ecuador dispute in 2008, but also between Nicaragua and Costa Rica in 2012 and ongoing disputes between Chile and Bolivia over border issues.^" It is also apparent that there are more differences among Latin American leaders over the definition of democracy. States across the region reacted quite differently to the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela, the 2009 coup in Honduras, and the impeachment of President Lugo in Paraguay in 2012. These events highlight the enduring interests that states have in particular governments rather than particular regime types.2' The rise of populist leaders in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, and Nicaragua have highlighted the gap between traditional democratizers in the region, who advocate procedural democracy and those on the political


Harold Trinkunas

left, who prefer participatory democracy.^^ These disagreements revitalized the role of ideology in dividing states in the region and undermined the possibility of a Western Hemisphere cooperative security agenda. Economic interdependence has also proven to be a mixed blessing for security and peace in the Western Hemisphere. On the one hand, trade has grown quickly in North America with the NAFTA in the Southern

The stress that illicit aCtivitV

1 .

Cone, Venezuela with MERCOSUR, and on the Colombian-Venezuelan border due to bilateral market
and trade liberalization initiatives undertaken in the

organized crime, o ' d violence on states

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.^ , , .1 .u r ^ . i A c 1990s. More recently, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has deepened alreadyexisting trade linkages in that region to the United
States.^^ However, despite these agreements and initiatives, the hemispheric FTAA has stalled, mainly because there is no natural confluence of interests

particular regional

between the united States and Brazil to support the

arrangement.^'* Economic interdependence brought new sources of cross-border conflict. In both NAFTA and MERCOSUR, efforts by the largest economy in each bloc, the United States and Brazil respectively, to get their way on trade issues provoked tensions with their partners. Timber between the United States and Canada; cross-border truck traffic between the United States and Mexico; and auto manufacturing between Brazil and Argentina are all examples of the ways in which interdependence created new sources of dispute and leverage among regional trading partners.^^ Liberalization of economies during the 1990s provided greatly increased opportunities for economic exchange, but this also provided greater opportunities to disguise illicit traffic in narcotics, cash, and people within the much larger volume of legal trade.^'^ The distribution of production sites and markets for illicit goods and the differences between states in terms of capacity and policy created a geography of illegal activities that spilled over into violence along certain borders (e.g., between the United States and Mexico or Colombia and Venezuela) or along certain transit routes (e.g.. Central America through Mexico into North America). The stress that illicit activity, organized crime, and violence placed on states with less capacity has contributed to particular regional flashpoints, such as the Ecuador-Colombia border, where disagreements over how to respond to a mix of organized crime and insurgency have led neighbors into open conflict.^^ Efforts to securitize and internationalize the threats posed by organized crime, violence, and illicit trafficking in the Western Hemisphere have continued over the past two decades, yet the threat persists and some states in the region have begun


Reordering Regional Security in Latin America to question a confrontational approach to organized crime. As a central actor in the regional security order during the 1990s, the United States made considerable efforts to develop a collaborative regional security agenda to combat organized crime and drug trafficking. This agenda was supported by U.S. security cooperation programs designed to enhance regional, military, and police capabilities, including very extensive assistance as part of the Merida Initiative with Mexico and as part of Plan Colombia to combat domestic insurgents and drug traffickers.^^ The counternarcotics agenda was largely accepted by states in Central America, the Caribbean, and the Andes during the 1990s, since the production and transportation of illicit goods and cash across borders were particularly high in those regions. In the Southern Cone, it was met with skepticism since these threats had a lower profile, and there were concerns among local politicians that militarizing responses to crime would increase civil-military friction.^^ Today, the counternarcotics agenda is being questioned by a broader range of regional leaders, such as the presidents of Uruguay and Guatemala, as it is increasingly viewed as being ineffective in containing the growth in gang violence and organized crime.-*'' In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the U.S. government made a similar effort to boost security and extend the counterterrorism agenda in the Western Hemisphere, again with mixed success. States that saw an opportunity to advance their interests collaborated with the new U.S. agenda. Governments facing domestic insurgenciesparticularly in Colombia and to a lesser extent Peruwere quick to reclassify their domestic enemies as terrorists and as a way to seek new assistance from the United States as a part of the global war on terror. However, their neighbors were very reluctant to go along with this reclassification of local conflicts. The U.S. post-9/11 counterterrorism agenda faced skepticism in the Southern Cone because of the association of counterterrorism with a military-led "dirty war" in the subregion in the 1970s, but also because of the perceived hypocrisy of pursuing militarized counterterrorism measures while at the same time advocating improved human rights performance by regional security forces.^'

Despite enduring obstacles to hemispheric cooperation, efforts to create a regional security agenda that integrates North and South America date back over a century, and the United States played the central role in organizing the hemispheric security order for much of that time. Western Hemisphere security institutions, such as the OAS, have historically been rooted in Pan-American ideals. Pan-Americanism, as a philosophy, held that the New World and its republics were



Harold Trinkunas

truly different from Europe and should manage their international relations on a new basis of equality and diplomacy rather than pure power relations. Yet the growing power asymmetry between the United States and other republics in the hemisphere since their independence in the early nineteenth century enabled the United States to assume a central role in ordering the regional security system and setting the agenda. This agenda focused on internal politics stability during the Cold War and then on elections, T tin ^^^^ trade, counternarcotics, and counterterrorism in . , , its wake. The latter made the most progress during the America nave I^^^Q^^ ^^J^^^^ ^I^^ prevailing political agenda in Latin t o trie lert, a number of States have America favored market liberalization, and regional leaders sought international and U.S. assistance to support economic reforms.32 The OAS has found it difficult to forge a regional clcCieQ leaQerS agenda during the past decade in the face of the growing . , . that are far ideological divide among members and the loss of conmOrP critical of sensus around the defense of democracy.^^ Within the U T T * AC Western hemisphere, there have always been critiques of the Pan-American ideal and the preponderant power of the United States in the OAS. To deal with the underlying "problem" of power asymmetries in Pan-Americanism, autonomyminded Latin American leaders have historically sought to build up their domestic capabilities, develop regional institutions that are specifically Latin American, and pursue extra-regional alliances.-*'* Today, politics across Latin America have shifted to the left, and a number of states have elected leaderssuch as Evo Morales in Bolivia, Cristina Kirchner in Argentina, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, and Rafael Correa in Ecuadorthat are far more critical of the United States.^^ This has produced efforts to develop a regional agenda that is explicitly opposed to U.S. interests, most strongly embodied in the Bolivarian agenda proposed by former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Yet, this new agenda faced opposition from the United States and the obstacle of moderate Brazilian preferences regarding inter-American relations. Instead, we are witnessing the emergence of new regional political and security institutions led by Brazil that does not include the United States, yet seek moderate approaches to address perennial security issues of how to manage border crises, reduce diplomatic tensions, and counter the threats posed by violent nonstate actors. More recent critiques of Pan-Americanism had been taken up most prominently by the modern proponent of Bolivarianism, former President Hugo Chavez. Bolivarianism, named after one of the liberators of South America from Spain


Reordering Regional Security in Latin America and espoused by Ghvez, advocates for a foreign policy designed to produce a multipolar world in which U.S. hegemony is contained and balanced, including by a Latin American alliance that President Ghvez had sought to lead. To advance this agenda, Ghvez pursued a number of international initiatives to build partnerships in the region. Overtly, he led the creation of ALBA, which linked Nicaragua, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, and a number of Garibbean states. Less publicly, he built a network of contacts with state and local governments, political parties, NGOs, and key activists that embedded Venezuela in a broader coalition of entities that opposed globalization, free trade, and free markets. He also sought to develop strong links to other states in the international system that are critical of the prevailing international order: Russia, Ghina, Iran, and Guba.^'^ The increasingly anti-U.S. focus of Venezuelan efforts and persistent U.S. critiques of Venezuela's agenda introduced sufficient friction into inter-American fora as to obviate a collaborative hemispheric agenda. The Bolivarian international effort to develop an alternative regional security order had limited success, while Venezuela benefited from boom oil export revenues during the 2000s. Now that Venezuela is under greater economic pressure, the Bolivarian agenda has increasingly been overtaken by broader Brazilian proposals for regional security institutions.^^ Venezuela has historically been a middle ranked power in the region in terms of its population, economy, and military capabilities. As a major oil exporter, it has been able to exert greater influence at times of high international oil prices, and this has been the case during the 2000s. Hugo Ghvez used oil revenue to some advantage to advance his international agenda, funding allies in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, and across the Garibbean. However, this strategy has reached its limits. Venezuelan economic influence is declining in the face of deteriorating rates of production in its oil industry and rising domestic demand for funding to sustain nationalized industries and poverty-alleviation programs. This places constraints on the ability to continue supplying its network of friends and allies.^^ In addition, Brazil has never acquiesced to Venezuelan regional leadership, has traditional leadership ambitions of its own, and in any event, has capabilities that dwarf those of Venezuela. While the United States maintained a persistent critique of Venezuelan policies during both the Bush and Obama administrations, Brazil has instead worked to bring Venezuela into new regional economic, political, and security institutions where Brazil would be the dominant power setting the agenda.^' Bolivarianism had an aspirational appeal to some sectors of Latin American politics, particularly the populist left, but persistent domestic policy failures and the uncertain follow through on promises of international assistance dimmed the appeal of Ghvez's message.''"


Harold Trinkunas

On the other hand, the recent rise of Brazil as a leading global economy has created new opportunities for this state to reorganize the regional security order. Brazil and a number of other key Latin American economies were less affected by the 2008 global financial crisis than many developed countries."" This relative economic stability is important, because it means that states in the region have not felt the need to resort to international financial institu. . . has tions to surmount the recent crisis. This broadens the arilllplpri range of options that Brazil's and its partners in South America can pursue in terms of their foreign and securr y rity policies, since cooperation with the United States regional or access to international financial assistance is not as that ^'^^' * * * ensuring economic stability. Meanwhile, China 1 J has expanded its role in the region, both as a consumer
cXClUQc 3.11 T T A 1 1 11 J

OLRci W l o c preoccupied StitPS

of Latm American products and as a diplomatic and economic presence.''^ This provides Latin American states with alternatives to traditional trading and investment partners in Europe and the United States.''^ At the same time, the global financial crisis hit Europe and the United States particularly hard, diminishing the availability of economic and technical assistance and the relevance of these markets for Latin America's products. Finally, the focus of the United States during the past decade on the Global War on Terror, the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and now a pivot towards the Asia Pacific has meant that Brazil, as the leading regional economy, has an unparalleled opportunity to forge regional agendas that exclude an otherwise preoccupied United States. Brazil's recent economic boom raises the possibility that it will finally emerge as a major global power. As one of the top ten economies in the world, it certainly meets some of the criteria posited in the literature on power transitions for great power status.'''' It has long been a dominant subregional power, and with the collapse of Argentine power, it has no regional rivals in South America. Brazil has critiqued the existing international order as unfair, but it has generally sought to access the rank of great powers on the basis of the existing order, not a new one. For example, it seeks a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, not to replace the council all together. It critiques the Nonproliferation Treaty as inequitable in its treatment of signatories, but it supports the general principle of nuclear nonproliferation.''^ Basically, Brazil is a territorially satisfied power, unchallenged in the region, and it would prefer the existing global order to accommodate its ambitions to great power status over any major change.''^ The centerpiece of Brazil's regional political and security strategy in South



Reordering Regional Security in Latin America America is UNASUR, created in 2008 as a regional political institution, followed by its corresponding defense wing, CDS, formed in 2009. UNASUR is designed to promote peace in South America, confidence-building measures among member states, and to give the continent a more unified voice on the world stage. Neither of these institutions includes the United States nor other North American states. Similarly, the CDS is a Brazilian initiative to provide a regular institutional venue for South American defense ministers to meet. The CDS has a small secretariat, and its working agendas over the last several years call mostly for workshops designed to exchange views on a host of issues ranging from the "new" security threats, such as violent organized crime, the participation of women in defense, industrial policy, confidence-building mechanisms, and collaborative military education and training.""^ The limited institutionalization of UNASUR and CDS reflects their recent creation, but also signals the difficulty of building a truly regional approach to security when there are still considerable differences amongst states in their interests and their perceptions of threats. UNASUR and the CDS provide a venue for Brazilian diplomacy to secure its predominant power in South America. With the exclusion of the United States from these institutional arrangements, Brazil has the principal role in setting the agenda and determining responses to regional crises. Although Venezuela has ambitions for its own Bolivarian agenda to become embedded within this new institution, UNASUR offers Brazil the opportunity to channel Venezuelan prtentions to less confrontational ends. This is important because Brazil would prefer to maintain cordial relations with the United States. For Brazil, UNASUR is not designed to replace the traditional regional, political, and security institutions embodied in the OAS. The existence of UNASUR and the OAS side-by-side in the region enables Brazil and other member states to select the most advantageous institutional forum for resolving a crisis."*^ This was apparent in the 2008 separatism crisis in Bolivia, where UNASUR quickly became the dominant forum for addressing Bolivia's internal political crisis for Brazil and other regional leaders, despite the efforts by separatist actors to go to the OAS as a preferred setting.''^ Similarly, the 2009 crisis over the expanded use of Colombian military facilities by U.S. forces was resolved with UNASUR as a venue, precisely because it excluded the United States, but included Colombia. Yet, while the member states of UNASUR have relatively greater capabilities now than in the 1990s and are less beholden to the United States economically, Brazil and its partners are finding that, at the subregional level, they experience some of the same impediments to collaborative regional security that Hurrell first identified. UNASUR has shown itself to have similar issues as the OAS with promoting a regional agenda opposing unconstitutional transfers of power. During



Harold Trinkunas

the 2009 overthrow of Honduran President Zelaya, UNASUR did not reach an agreement on how to react, because some member states were suspicious of the populist left agenda of Bolivarian governmentsincluding that of ousted President Zelaya.^*^ Moreover, the Honduran regime that ousted Zelaya was able to rely on a United States that was also reluctant to take coercive measures to oppose the ouster of the Honduran president. Brazil and Venezuela attempted to lead an ad hoc group of statesa coalition of the willingto support President Zelaya, but no attempt to isolate the new Honduran regime could succeed without the support of the United States, which was not forthcoming.^' Similarly, economic interdependence has not forestalled conflict in the UNASUR region. In the clearest case, MERCOSUR has become increasingly politicized by the conflict over Venezuelan accession that began in 2005. On the face of it, Venezuela's increasingly statist and protectionist economy doubtfully met the requirements for MERCOSUR membership, yet the dominant partners, Argentina and Brazil, wished it to join for political reasons. However, the Senate of Paraguayanother MERCOSUR member staterefused to ratify Venezuelan accession because of critiques by opposition legislators of Paraguayan President Lugo's affinity for Hugo Chavez's Bolivarian project and their belief that Venezuela was no longer a democracy and therefore did not qualify for MERCOSUR membership.^^ The impeachment of Paraguayan President Lugo in 2012, an erstwhile Venezuelan ally, provided an opportunity for other MERCOSUR members to punish Paraguay by suspending its membership. This conveniently allowed Venezuela's application to proceed. In this case, economic interdependence and its institutions hardly forestalled conflict, but rather they created new mechanisms for the exercise of power. Finally, UNASUR and the CDS have created a cooperative agenda to combat the security threats posed by organized crime, gangs, smugglers, and violent extremists, but they face similar problems to those of the OAS in translating agendas into concrete operational goals and plans. It is true that working groups have been formed and meetings convened, yet a review of the work plans of the CDS for 2010 to 2013 shovvs a focus on workshops and seminars, ln fact, the UNASUR agenda towards regional threats would not look out of place as part of an OAS regional security agenda.^^ The problem UNASUR faces is that the perceptions of threat related to security in the region remain very different between the Andean stateswhere narcotics trafficking originatesand the Southern Cone states that are transit or increasingly consumer states. Moreover, the legal structures, roles, and missions of security forces and jurisdictional arrangements for combating organized crime vary widely across UNASUR member states, impeding cooperation. It is reasonable to think that, like the United States and the OAS,


Reordering Regional Security in Latin America Brazil and UNASUR will also find it difficult to lead a regional agenda to combat new security threats. It is also not clear that Brazil has the willingness at this time to deploy the same side payments and sanctions as the United States to forge a collective regional security agenda.

Since the end of the Cold War, the optimistic predictions for regional peace and prosperity based on democratization and free trade have not been borne out. In certain countries, such as Mexico and Venezuela, organized crime and violence have grown much worse. Ideological divisions between Bolivarian, traditional center-left, and conservative governments in Latin America have re-emerged. There is only superficial agreement on a democratization agenda and free trade boosterism has faded in favor of a new developmental agenda. On the other hand, certain aspects of Latin America's security have improved since the 1990s. Violent political extremist organizations in Peru and Colombia have been defeated or brought to the negotiating table. Highly conflictive situations, such as the Colombia-Venezuela relationship or Bolivian separatism have been managed short of war. The cold peace between states in Latin America endures. Despite rhetoric of the emergence of failed states in some quarters, there is no real threat to the state's grip on power anywhere in the region.''* When viewed from a historical perspective, endemic banditry, insurgency, organized crime, and gang activity are not new internal security threats, which explains why the emerging regional institutions such as UNASUR and CDS find themselves with agendas that address many of the same threats that the OAS discussed during the 1990s. In the long term. South America's effort to consolidate a regional security order that is autonomous from the United States is significant and reflective of the relative macroeconomic stability of the region during the past decade and the greater resources available to some states, particularly Brazil and Venezuela, to pursue their regional ambitions. Venezuela's Bolivarian alternative has not succeeded, and it faces the significant challenge posed by greater Brazilian material and diplomatic capabilities. The ALBA alliance has not become a realistic alternative order for the region because, in the end, ALBA is an alliance of the relatively weaker states in the region, welded together in part by political sympathy, but in greater part by Venezuelan oil resources.'^ Venezuela's resources are now increasingly needed to meet domestic political and economic demands.^^ Brazil, on the other hand, is reaching the necessary status, at least economically, to possibly emerge as a major power. It is also fortunate in that it lacks regional adversaries since the collapse of Argentine power, first due to its defeat in the Malvinas war



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in 1982 and later due to its economic tribulations in the 1980s and from 1999 to 2002.^^ Brazil therefore has great flexibility in how to structure its relations with other Western Hemisphere states, including the United States, through its leadership of UNASUR and its continuing membership in long-established regional institutions such as the OAS and MERCOSUR. The creation of UNASUR and the CDS should be understood as Brazil's effort to provide itself with a choice of how to exercise regional leadership and manage its relationship with the United States. In instances where regional instability can best be managed by including the United States, Brazil will seek cooperation with the United States through the OAS and legacy regional institutions. On the other hand, where Brazil prefers to manage a crisis itself, it will resort to UNASUR or the CDS, as occurred in the 2008 Bolivia separatism crisis or the 2009 Colombia crisis over U.S. military basing rights. UNASUR also has the advantage of channeling Venezuelan ambitions into venues that minimize the possibility of direct confrontation with the United States and allow Brazil to moderate the Bolivarian agenda. Nevertheless, although it is too soon to confirm this, it seems likely that the same obstacles to cooperation that plagued post-Cold War hemispheric security agendas will affect UNASUR on a smaller scale. Even within South America, there are continuing differences in threat perceptions, ongoing economic disputes, and ideological disagreements over the preferred form of democracy. For the United States, the shift from a pan-American regional order to something new should not be a major concern as long as Brazil succeeds in developing and leading moderate regional, political, and security institutions. The United States has priorities in Asia and the Middle East, and it faces considerable domestic challenges on the economic and financial fronts. The regional security agenda will remain much the same, whether it is debated in the OAS or UNASUR, because the threats remain the same. In North and Central America, geopolitical and economic factors will continue to give the United States a significant leading role in determining the security agenda. In South America, Brazil's rise as a major power and its reordering of South America's political and security institutions are not a threat to the United States, because Brazil's agenda is not truly revisionist in the international order but rather seeks accommodation of its interests as an emerging power. ^


Reordering Regional Security in Latin America

' For a cross-section of research on security in Latin America during the past two decades, see Robert L. Ayres, Crime and Violence as Development Issues in Latin America and the Caribbean (Washington, DC: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 1998); Kees Koonings and Dirk Krujit, eds.. Armed Actors: Organised Violence and State Failure in Latin America (London: Zed Books, 2004); Magaly Sanchez, "Insecurity and Violence as the New Power Relation in Latin America," in Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 606, no. 1 (2006), 178-195; George W. Grayson, Mexico: Narco-violenee or Failed States (Rutgers: Transaction Press, 2010); Thomas C. Bruneau, Lucia Dmmert and Elizabeth Skinner, eds., Maras: Gang Violence and Security in Central America (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2012). These share a common concern with the "new" nontraditional security threats posed by violent nonstate actors; for an example of the discussion about "failed states" in the region, see Gary J. Hale, "A 'Failed State' in Mexico: Tamaulipas Declares itself Ungovernable," (working paper, James Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University: 2011). ^ Andrew Hurrell, "Security in Latin America," International Affairs 74, no. 3 (1998), 529-546. ^ Deborah Norden and Roberto Guillermo Russell, Tlie United States and Argentina: Changing Relations in a Changing World (New York: Routledge, 2002), 9-27; Luiz Alberto Moniz Bandeira, "Brazil as a regional power and its relations with the United States," in Latin American Perspeetives 33.3 (2006), 12-27; Harold Trinkunas, "The Logic of Venezuelan Foreign Policy during the Chavez Period," in Venezuela's Petro-diplomacy: Hugo Chavez's Foreign Policy, ed. Clem, Ralph S. Clem and Anthony P. Maingot (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011), 16-31. '' Maria Regina Soares de Lima and Monica Hirst, "Brazil as an Intermediate State and Regional Power: action, power, and responsibilities," International Affairs 82, no. 1 (2006), 21-40; Eduardo LevyYeyati with Luciano Cohan, "Latin America Economic Perspectives - Innocent Bystanders in Brave New World" (report, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC: 2011), 1-2. ' Harold Trinkunas, "Defining Venezuela's 'Bolivarian Revolution," Military Review (2005). ^ Andrs Serbin, "Amrica del Sur en un mundo multipolar: es la Unasur la alternativa?" Nueva Sociedad 219 (2009), 145-156. ^ Trinkunas 2005; Carlos A. Romero and Javier Corrales, "Relations between the United States and Venezuela, 2001-2009. A Bridge in Need of Repairs," in Contemporary US. -Latin American Relations: Cooperation or Conflict in the 21st Century, ed. Jorge Dominguez and Rafael Fernndez de Castro (New York: Routledge, 2011), 218-246. ^ See Douglas Lemke, Regions of War and Peace (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002) for a discussion of the literature on power transitions as applied to the developing world. ' Randall Parish and Mark Peceny, "Kantian Liberalism and the Collective Defense of Democracy in Latin America," Journal of Peace Research 39, no. 2 (2002), 229-250. '" For a fully developed version of this argument, see Randall Parish and Mark Peceny, "Kantian Liberalism and the Collective Defense of Democracy in Latin America," Journal of Peace Research 39, no. 2 (2002), 229-250. " Hurrell (1998), 541-545. '^ David Mares, Violent Peace: militarized interstate bargaining in Latin America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), 28-54. '^ Jorge I. Dominguez, Boundary Disputes in Latin America (Washington, DC: Peaceworks No. 50, United States Institute of Peace, 2003). ''' David R. Mares, "Chapter Three: Latin American hot spots," Adelphi Series, 52.429 (2012), 93-128. '5 Ibid., 94-107. "^ See Thomas M. Leonard, "Central America, US Policy, and the Crisis of the 1980s: Recent Interpretations," Latin American Research Review (1996), 194-211, for a review of literature produced immediately following the Central American conflicts of the 1980s. ''' Hurrell, 536. '^ David Pion-Berlin, "Will Soldiers Follow? Economic Integration and Regional Security in the Southern Cone," Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, 42 (2000), 43-69.


Harold Trinkunas
'^ Rafael Duarte Villa and Juliana Viggiano, "Trends in South American weapons purchases at the beginning of the new millennium," Revista Bmsileim de Poltica neniacional 55, no. 2 (2012), 28-47. 20 Mares (2012), 107-125. 2' Jennifer L. McCoy, "Challenges for the Collective Defenseof Democracy on the Tenth Anniversary of the Inter-American Democratic Charter," Latin American Policy 3, no. 1 (June 2012), 33-57. ^^ Steven Levitsy and Kenneth M. Roberts, eds., Ti\e Resurgence of the Latin American Left {Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2011), 24-26. ^^ John F. Hornbeck, "U.S.-Latin American Trade; Recent Trends," Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, 2008. ^^ Clauco Oliveira: "What went wrong: Brazil, the United States, and the FTAA," in Requiem or Revival: Tte Promise of North American Integration {Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2007). ^^ Andrs Malamud, "Mercosur Turns 15; Between Rising Rhetoric and Declining Achievement," Cambridge Revietv of International Affairs 18, no. 3 {2005), 421-436; Jorge Dominguez and Rafael Fernndez de Castro, The United States and Mexico: Between Partnership and Coi^ict (New York: Routledge, 2009), 71-74. ^^ Peter Andreas, "Transnational Crime and Economic Clobalization," in Transnational Crime and International Security: Business as Usual?, ed. Mats Berdal and Monica Serrano, (Boulder, CO; Lynne Rienner, 2002), 37-52. 2^ Harold Trinkunas, Maiah Jaskoski, and Arturo Sotomayor, "Borders and Borderlands in the Americas" (PASCC Report 2012 009, Center on Contemporary Conflict, Monterey, CA: August 2012), 7. ^^ Clare Ribando Seelke, Liana Sun Wyler, and June S. Beittel, "Latin America and the Caribbean: Illicit Drug Trafficking and U.S. Counterdrugs Programs" (CRS Report for Congress, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC; 30 April 2010). 2^ David Pion-Berlin, "Neither Military Nor Police: Facing Heterodox Security Challengers and Filling the Security Cap in Democratic Latin America," Democracy and Security 6, no. 2 {2010), 109127. ^0 Damien Cave, "South America Sees Drug Path to Legalization," Neiv York Times, 30 July 2012, AI. ^' Rut Diamint, "Security Challenges in Latin America," Bulletin of Latin America Research 23, no. 1 (January 2004), 43-62; R. Cuy Emerson, "Radical Neglect? The 'War on Terror' and Latin America," Latin American Politics and Society 52, no. 1 {Spring 2010), 33-62. ^2 Sebastian Edwards, "Forty Years of Latin America's Economic Development: From the Alliance for Progress to the Washington Consensus," National Bureau of Economic Research (working paper 15190, Washington, DC: July 2009). ^^ Brigitte Weiffen, "Persistence and Change in Regional Security Institutions; Does the OAS still have a Project?" Contemporary Security Policy 33, no. 2 {2012), 360-383. ^^ David Sheinin, ed. Beyond the Ideal: Pan Americanism in Inter-American Affairs, (Westport, CT; Praeger, 2000), 1-9. ^^ See Steven Levitsky and Kenneth M. Roberts, eds. Tlie Resurgence of the Latin American Left (Baltimore; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011) for a thorough study of the issue; Maxwell A. Cameron, "Latin America's Left Turns: beyond good and bad." Tliird World Quarterly 30, no. 2 (2009), 331-348. ^^ Alfredo foro, "El ALBA como instrumento de 'soft balancing,"' Pensamiento Propio 33 {2011), 159185. ^^ Sean W. Burges, "Building a Clobal Southern Coalition: The Competing Approaches of Brazil's Lula and Venezuela's Chavez," Viird World Quarterly 28, no. 7 (2007), 1343-1358. 3^ Corrales and Romero (2012). ^^ To be clear, the fundamental ideological differences between United States and Venezuela leaders and the political affinities between Brazilian presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rouseff, and former



Reordering Regional Security in Latin America

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, gave Brazil an advantage in managing relations with Venezuela. '"^ Javier Corrales and Michael Penfold, Dragon in the Tropics (Washington, DC: Brookings Institutions, 2011), 98-136. '" Levy-Yeyati and Cohan (2011), I. '^^ Rhys Jenkins, "Latin America and China - a new dependency?" Third World Quarterly 33, no. 7 (2012), 1337-1358. '' R. Evan Ellis, China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2009). '*'' See Douglas Lemke for one discussion of power transition theory in the contemporary period, "The continuation of history: Power transition theory and the end of the Cold War," Journal of Peace Research 34.1 (1997), 23-36; Lael Brainard and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, eds., Brazil as an Economic Superpower? Understanding Brazil's Role in a Changing Global Economy (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2009). ''^ Diego Santos Vieira de Jesus, "The Brazilian way: negotiation and symmetry in Brazil's nuclear policy," Nonproliferation Review 17, no. 3 (2010), 551-567. ''^ Andrew Hurrell, "Brazil and the New Global Order," Current History 109, no. 724, (February 2010), 60-67. ''^ Jos Antonio Sanahuja, "Multilateralismo y regionalismo en clave suramericana: El caso de UNASUR," POT5flieto Propr 33 (2011), 115-155. '^^ Sanahuja, 127. ''^ Eric Mosinger, "Crafted by Crises: Regional Integration and Democracy in Latin America," in Regions and Crises: New Challenges for Contemporary Regionalisms, ed. Lorenzo Fioramonti (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012), 172-175. ^^ Carlos A. Romero, "Las secuelas regionales de la crisis de Honduras" Nueva Sociedad 226 (2010), 85-99; Peter Andreas, "-Illicit Globalization: Myths, Misconceptions, and Historical Lessons," Political Science Quarterly 126, no. 3 (2011), 403-425. ^' Thomas Legier, "The Democratic Charter in Action: Reflections on the Honduran Crisis," Latin American Policy 3, no. 1 (May 2012), 74-87; Maxwell A. Cameron and Jason Tockman, "A Diplomatic Theatre of the Absurd: Canada, the OAS and the Coup in Honduras," NACLA: Report on the Americas 43, no. 3 (2010), 18-22. ^^ Jos A. Moreno Ruffinelli, "La viabilidad del MERCOSUR para los pases chicos puesta a prueba: el caso del fallido ingreso de Venezuela como socio pleno," Cuadernos Manuel Gimnez Abad 3 (2012), 105-109. ^^ 2010 to 2013 Action Plans for the South American Defense Council (CDS) can be found at http:// 5" Andreas, 403-425. 55 Corrales and Romero (2012), 168. 5^ Phil Gunson, "Venezuela's New Era," Foreign Policy, 19 February 2013. 5^ Javier Corrales, "The politics of Argentina's meltdown." World Policy Journal 19, no. 3 (2002), 29-42; Vicky Baker, "Ten years after economic collapse, Argentina is still in recovery," Guardian, 14 December 2011, http://gu.eom/p/3447p.



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