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Improving Regional Security in Central America: Military Engagement Options for Nicaragua

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Master's thesis

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Nicaragua plays an essential role in the stability and security of the Central American sub region. The de-stabilizing influence of Sandinista policies in the 1980s gave way to the possibility of a cooperative security community in the 1990s. However, border disputes and increased arms and drug trafficking have recently threatened the trend toward increased stability and sub regional security. Sub regional confidence-building measures adopted immediately following the election of Violeta Chamorro have collapsed in the last two years. This collapse of confidence-building measures has led to increased tensions between Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. The U.S. should promote Nicaraguan participation in regional confidence-building measures in order to reduce these tensions. In addition, the relationship between the U.S. and Nicaragua is still strained from the policies of the Sandinista and Reagan administrations. Although relations have been normalized between the two countries, steps should be taken to expand the current passive relationship into a more active one. Confidence-building measures between the U.S. and Nicaragua will help to alleviate some of the strain between the two countries. This thesis recommends U.S. involvement and participation in re-establishing confidence-building measures in the sub region. A perceived gap in U.S.-Nicaraguan civilian engagement could be filled through the implementation of a comprehensive military engagement plan. The use of confidence-building measures in military engagement will foster stability and security in the sub region and strengthen U.S.- Nicaraguan relations.

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  • Government and Political Science

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