Security in the Caribbean Basin: The Challenge of Regional Cooperation

By Joseph S. Tulchin; Ralph H. Espach | Go to book overview

1
Introduction:
U. S.-Caribbean Security Relations
in the Post-Cold War Era
Joseph S. Tulchin & Ralph H. Espach

Cooperation has become the predominant theme in discussions of security in the Caribbean Basin. Whether the specific subject is drug trafficking, migration, money laundering, natural disasters, or trade, the premise is that it is better to work together than to go it alone. Most surprisingly, the United States appears to have come to accept that cooperation is better for all, despite a historical pattern of taking advantage of its unparalleled power in the region to act unilaterally. The asymmetry that exists between the United States and its regional neighbors, along with other asymmetrical relations across the Caribbean and a host of political and economic obstacles, pose a formidable challenge to regional cooperation. However, in the postCold War era cooperation is less optional than imperative, and the generation of cooperative policies requires a rethinking of longhonored definitions and patterns of action in regional security.


Alfred T. Mahan and the Formation of
Modern U. S.-Caribbean Relations

At the end of the last century, United States policymakers, emboldened by the republic's rapid economic growth and increased international influence, began to reassess the national strategic agenda. Bounded on two sides by water and with growing economic ties abroad, the country's security and economic growth depended increasingly on the capacity of its navy to protect its shores and promote its foreign interests. Alfred Thayer Mahan, historian and close advisor to top-level policymakers, including President Theodore Roosevelt, championed an emphasis on the importance of establishing naval superiority in key maritime arenas. Mahan foresaw the effects a Central

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