The United States and Colombia: Untying the Gordian Knot

  • March 01, 2000
  • AMB David Passage

Twenty-five years after the end of the Vietnam War, the ghost of that war still haunts the corridors of the decision makers when it comes to making long-term commitments to situations that remotely resemble anything like our Indochina experience. That is the case in with Colombia, which is embroiled in an internecine struggle with two guerrilla movements bent on overthrowing the government as well as from narcotraffickers. The author details the complicated but increasingly clear nexus between the political and social insurgencies and the drug traffickers. This, he maintains, has obliged a highly reluctant United States to reexamine whether its counternarcotics strategy can succeed if it is not accompanied by a willingness to assist the Colombian government improve its ability to defeat guerrillas and regain control of its national territory. If the United States is to become even more involved in the internal struggles in Colombia, it is a good bet the U.S. Army will play an important role.