Colombia: Dialogue with Conflict

America’s support for military anti-narcotics activity in Colombia is controversial in both countries. As President Andrés Pastrana draws the guerillas into dialogue, there are worries too in neighbouring states.

The World Today Updated 26 October 2020 Published 1 March 2001 4 minute READ

Malcolm Deas

Fellow, St Antony’s College, Oxford

The Bush administration faces an immediate foreign policy problem in an area that still receives little attention in Europe: what to do about Colombia. It may lack the grander echoes of the European rapid deployment force and the future of NATO, or of discussion on the feasibility and dangers of a new anti-missile system, but it is more pressing and perhaps more intractable, and the regional dimensions larger than is generally realised.

Incoming US administrations are always scrutinised about their foreign policy priorities, and are frequently over- confident about their ability to set the international agenda when they state them. Rarely has a new administration seen anything Latin American as a priority, yet it has been quite common for Latin American problems to disturb the expected order of things.

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