The Caribbean and the United States into the New Century
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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The futures of the Caribbean and of the United States are increasingly woven together into a fabric of mutual advantage and mutual jeopardy. The Caribbean is the United States third border, and the ancestral home of millions of Americans. It is a source of trained professionals and illegal migrants, sugar and narcotics, Nobel laureates and revolutionaries, and oil and unserviceable debts. As improvements in communication and transportation links accelerate this flow of products, people, and ideas - in both directions - it will become more and more obvious that the successes and failures of one neighbor will spill over onto the other. Despite all this, the Caribbean has at best been of peripheral concern to the United States over the past 100 years, and our relations have generally been caught in a cycle of long periods of actual or perceived neglect on Americas part, punctuated by intense periods of frantic activity - often military - and gradually subsiding back into neglect until the cycle repeats itself. Today, however, the nation can no longer afford the luxury of ignoring the Caribbean, since even a casual glance reveals the following the Coast Guard and the Navy sitting permanently off Haiti to prevent tens or hundreds of thousands of refugees from sailing to Florida Fidel Castro cowed but not totally defanged as fears mount that his last act of defiance may be to leave a nation that will tear itself apart in the manner of Romania or Soviet Georgia well-entrenched narco-smugglers in Jamaica attempting to suborn the democratic process, while oil rich Trinidad and Tobago contend with Islamic Fundamentalist coup plotters and weakened economies everywhere that need to diversify, modernize, and get out from under crushing debt burdens. The United States no longer has a choice as to whether or not to stay involved in the Caribbean. Geography, history, migration patterns, and a porous border have made the choice for it.
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