Security in the Caribbean Basin: The Challenge of Regional Cooperation

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

4
The New Security Agenda
in the Caribbean:
The Challenge of Cooperation
Francisco Rojas-Aravena

The turn of the century finds the international system still in a transitional period of ongoing international changes caused by a series of factors, among them the end of the bipolar conflict, the breakup of the Soviet Union, global redemocratization (especially in developing countries), the elimination of the apartheid regime in South Africa, European integration and cooperation, advances in free trade, and the formation of megamarkets. Principles that were developed and upheld in the West became concepts of an effectively universal nature, in particular those associated with human rights, democracy, and the free market. This combination of processes continues to evolve.

These changes are having a particular impact in the area of security, with implications of critical importance to the Americas.

An effective process of redemocratization is being observed in this region, but the democracies are weak and in many cases have serious problems of governability. The possibility of an international conflict in the region has not gone away, but the probability of it has diminished. Control and prevention capabilities must be improved. In some areas, after the end of the Cold War, threats of a military nature virtually disappeared, but security and defense concerns still remain. Also, in some countries and specific situations, there is greater vulnerability in the area of security.

There is no common definition of security for the new era in the Americas. Hemispheric and regional institutions in this field are weak and ineffective. The general framework of the region as regards economics and security exhibits a great deal of heterogeneity. Although in the political realm the key is communality of democracy, in the security realm the diversity of the subregions is the predominant feature. The Americas cannot be viewed from a single strategic perspective, or a single geopolitical perspective, or a common-threat perspective. This

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