Colombia: Crossing a Dangerous Threshold

America may indeed have a strategic interest in aiding Colombia. But it should not do so without a clear-eyed assessment of a complex situation.

Issue: Winter 2000-2001

Although the United States has been involved deeply in Colombia's internal affairs for some time, we stand now on the threshold of a momentous change in the nature of that involvement. This has provoked intense, if not always edifying, debate. Perhaps it is inevitable in this case, as in all public discussions, that complex issues are reduced to a single, simple question: Should the United States provide Colombia with sixty helicopters, including thirty sophisticated Black Hawks, to enable its army to attack remote cocaine refineries and, perhaps, persuade its guerrillas to negotiate? But in focusing on aircraft, there is a danger that Colombia's complex political landscape will be reduced to mere background scenery.

"La Violencia"

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