about 80 percent of the world’s cocaine. But Washington, Shifter says, is more worried now about "the spreading violence and deteriorating security conditions."
After winning the Colombian presidency in 1998 on a promise to bring peace, Pastrana early last year withdrew all government troops from a Switzerland-sized swath of southern territory controlled by the FARC. Despite that overture, notes Kitfield, the insurgent force launched its largest offensive ever in July, seizing 15 villages and coming within 30 miles of the capital, Bogotá. In November came another FARC offensive, against 13 more towns.
"Colombia is one of the most violent countries in the world," observe Gabriel Marcella, who teaches strategy at the Army War College, and Donald Schulz, a political scientist at Cleveland State University, writing in Strategic Review (Winter 2000). In 1998, Colombia had 1,678 kidnappings. The homicide rate--77 per 100,000 inhabitants between 1987 and 1992-was the highest in the world. Right-wing militias, which are also active, are blamed for most of the political killings in recent years. According to the government, 1,863 people died in 402 massacres last year.
As if the violence were not enough, Colombia’s 40 million people have also endured the worst economic conditions in seven decades. The unemployment rate stands at 20 percent, the currency lost 30 percent of its value last year, and real gross domestic product shrank five percent. Colombians are fleeing in droves, chiefly to the United States. An estimated 300,000 may leave this year. The violence has spread beyond Colombia’s borders, Robinson notes in World Policy Journal. "Colombian guerrillas and drug traffickers regularly use the neighboring territories of Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama for safe haven, resupply and gun running, and those countries’ nationals have been killed and kidnapped in the cross fire while their governments have mainly looked the other way."
The Colombian government’s war with the FARC has been going on for decades, Robinson points out in the New Republic (Sept. 6, 1999). It grew out of "the bloody civil war called La Violencia that took 200,000 lives between 1948 and 1958. The combatants were partisans of the Liberal and Conservative parties, whose leaders eventually forged a pact that allowed them to alternate power. Manuel Marulanda and a small band of Liberals thought this constituted a sellout, founded the FARC, and kept fighting." At 69, Marulanda today remains at least the nominal head of FARC, notes Andrés Cala, a Colombian journalist based in Costa Rica, writing in Current History (Feb. 2000).
Pastrana’s government, after prodding from Washington, last year unveiled a $7.5 billion "Plan Colombia" to address the country’s major problems. Roughly half of expenditures would go to modernizing the military forces. The largest component of the proposed $1.6 billion U.S. contribution would consist of 63 helicopters for the armed forces and police. In helping to fashion a 5,000-man Colombian military force that will be fighting the guerrillas, the United States is putting itself "squarely into the counterinsurgency fight, whether it wants to admit it or not," Robinson says. Washington should expect American casualties, and a long struggle. The Clinton administration’s "lack of candor," she believes, is only making "the forging of a solid consensus behind U.S. action" more difficult.
The Globalization Fantasy
"Globalization and American Power" by Kenneth N. Waltz, in The National Interest (Spring 2000), 1112 16th St., N.W., Ste. 540, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Globalization--it’s here, it’s real, and it’s won-Nations these days are more economically derful, according to New York Times columnist interdependent, economics trumps politics, Thomas Friedman and other fans. The "elec-peace’s prospects are improved, and world govtronic herd" of foreign investors, moving capital ernment is just around the corner.... Waltz, a in and out of countries, all but compels them to political scientist at Columbia University, says embrace the American way, market capitalism it’s time for a reality check. and liberal democracy, lest they be left behind. The extent of globalization is much exagger
102 WQ Spring 2000
ated, he points out. Much of the globe, in fact, has been left out: "most of Africa and Latin America, Russia, all of the Middle East (except Israel), and large parts of Asia." Moreover, economic interdependence among nations today, as measured by exports as a percentage of gross domestic product, is about what it was in 1910. "What is true of trade also holds for capital flows, again as a percentage of GDP." The United States and other nations with big economies still do most business at home, and virtually all multinational corporations are "firmly anchored in their home bases."
The American way is in vogue today, but it would be rash "to conclude from a decade’s experience that the one best model has at last appeared," he says, when in decades past, others, such as "the Japanese brand of neomercantilism," have been similarly admired.
"International politics remains inter-national" rather than global, Waltz says. The sovereign state with fixed borders has proved to have no rivals when it comes to keeping domestic peace and promoting prosperity. "The most important events in international politics are explained by differences in the capabilities of states, not by economic forces operating across states or transcending them," Waltz says. Politics usually trumps economics. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were each economically integrated, yet both disintegrated. Moreover, he observes, "national politics, not international markets, account for many international economic developments." The European Union is the result of governmental decisions; so is the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Much of what looks like globalization is merely the exercise of American power, Waltz contends. Countries abandoned by the "electronic herd," for example, often seek a U.S.organized bailout through the International Monetary Fund, widely seen as "the enforcement arm of the U.S. Treasury." Once Britain sustained the rules and institutions of the international economy; today, it is the United States. Tomorrow, it will be somebody else.
Defending Land Mines
"Landmines: Why the Korea Exception Should Be the Rule" by John F. Troxell, in Parameters (Spring 2000), U.S. Army War College, 122 Forbes Ave., Carlisle, Pa. 17013–5238.
Citing the need to defend South Korea from attack by North Korea, the United States has refused to sign the 1997 Ottawa Treaty banning land mines. But President Bill Clinton has said the United States will sign it by 2006 if effective alternatives to landmines can be found. Troxell, director of national security studies at the U.S. Army War College, fears that the United States may sacrifice a valuable military tool.
The Ottawa Treaty came about as the result of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which focused worldwide attention on the toll the devices were taking on innocent civilians. A 1995 State Department report estimated that more than 100 million land mines in more than 60 countries were causing 26,000 casualties a year, and that some 2.5 million new mines were being planted each year. Today, many fewer new mines are being put in place, and they are outnumbered by the ones being removed. Washington has spent more than $375 million since 1993 to remove mines in other countries, "with the goal," Troxell says, "of eliminating the threat...to civilians worldwide by 2010."
"Dumb" antipersonnel mines, which remain in the ground indefinitely, ready to go off, "are the principal cause of the humanitarian crisis," he notes. But the Ottawa Treaty would ban all land mines, including "smart" ones that self-destruct within hours or days and are usually used to protect antitank mines (also self-destructing). With no effective alternatives, he says, both "dumb" and "smart" mines should remain in the U.S. arsenal.
"Landmines are vital battlefield tools to channel enemy forces into a specific area, or to defend flanks, restricted terrain, or border zones," he says. In the Korean case, "long-duration active mines along the [demilitarized zone] help deter the third largest army in the world" from attacking.
But mines’ military usefulness is not confined to the Korean Peninsula, Troxell argues. They serve as "a combat multiplier" for all U.S. land forces, especially those that are outnumbered when first deployed. Troxell points out that 16 four-star generals and admirals told Congress that in 1997. "While there are legitimate humanitarian