Suggested Reading

September 25, 2007

Edwin Lieuwen, The United States and the Challenge to Security in Latin America, The Social Science Program of the Mershon Center for Education in National Security, Ohio State University Press, April, 1966, 9 8 pp, $1.50.

Startling in his honesty, Lieuwen sets forth the U.S. rationale for military intervention in Latin America: "primarily a host of mostly tangible military and economic interests and a multitude of mostly intangible political interests" (p. 9). Mili- tarily, the Panama Canal is considered "vital" to the shipment of supplies to South- east Asia. Also, the Canal Zone is the headquarters of counterinsurgency instruction for Latin America and the site of U.S. military bases. Economically, we must protect our foreign markets and supply of raw materials. Lieuwen writes: As far as the United States government is concerned, the vested interests of its citizens are inseparably intertwined with the security of the nation, for nearly half the Latin American investments are in petroleum and mining enterprises, the products of which are indispensable to the U.S. economy in peace as well as in war(p. 18).

Lieuwen is rewarding precisely because he has dropped the mask of liberal rhetoric. He concludes that the greatest threat to U.S. interests in Latin America is not external (i.e. from the U.S.S.R., China or even Cuba), but from the forces of Latin America"s "non-democratic radical left". However, Lieuwen"s discussion of 1970 U.S. security prospects is one of an eternal optimist aboard a sinking ship.

Reprinted with permission from Ohio State Univ. Press


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