Armed Diplomacy: Why Too Much Military is Dangerous in Latin America
Air Command and Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States
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In fiscal year 2008, United States Southern Command SOUTHCOM carried out 122 humanitarian projects in 26 countries. It conducted 65 Medical Readiness Training Exercises MEDRETEs in 17 countries, treating over 200,000 people and 46,000 animals. In addition, it provided coordinated response to disasters in Costa Rica, Panama, and Haiti. This paper will show that the use of military resources as soft power has many effects on American strategic posture in LATAM. The negative effects include militarizing US foreign policy, shifting funds away from civilian agencies, overestimating the strategic influence, delegitimizing regional actors, stressing US military forces, and degrading the local infrastructure.