Academic journal article McNair Papers

1. Complexity, Change, and Challenge

Academic journal article McNair Papers

1. Complexity, Change, and Challenge

Article excerpt

This study assesses the Caribbean security landscape on the eve of the fast-approaching new century with a view to considering what the future portends in the security arena. Engaging in even guarded prospection during this period of history is particularly difficult, but also exciting, partly because of dramatic changes that the world began undergoing during the 1980s. These changes make scholars and statesmen approach the new century with a combined sense of expectancy and apprehension. The expectancy stems from the anticipated benefits of the end of the Cold War, among other things; the apprehension is driven by the many unknowns that the dynamics of changing international relations hold for the future. This is true for the Caribbean as it is for other regions of the world, and it holds true for security as it does for other issue areas.

The contemporary security scene in the Caribbean is characterized by complexity, change, and challenge. Complexity, in part, arises from the fact that the region comprises small, subordinate states that are vulnerable to a wide range of military, political, and economic actions by states near and far. But part of the complexity also is derived from the fact that Caribbean countries are "also subject to the dictates of nonstate actors, some of which wield more economic and political power than some states. The complexity/'actor also inheres in the reality that because of the dramatic changes referred to above, hemispheric and global turbulence sometimes makes a mockery of attempts at rational policy calculations.

The global turbulence and the transformations being experienced make change inevitable, if not always desired. …

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