In this article for US Northern Command’s magazine, The Watch, Dr. William Godnick describes the contours and challenges faced at the United States’ "third border" in the Caribbean, specifically the multi-island state of the Bahamas. Dr. Godnick outlines the long-standing bilateral relationship between the United States and the Bahamas and how increased Chinese investment presents a new set of challenges for the relationship. He calls for re-thinking how security cooperation relationships should be forged with high, middle-income countries to avoid security gaps in our shared neighborhood.

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Plan Colombia and the Mérida Initiative are the two most significant US security assistance efforts in Latin America in the twenty-first century. At a time when US objectives in the Middle East and Central Asia were flagging, Colombia was a rare US foreign policy victory—a showcase for stabilization and security sector reform. Conversely, Mexico struggled to turn the tide on the country's scourge of crime and violence, even with an influx of resources aimed at professionalizing the country's security, defense, and judicial institutions.

As Washington reconsiders its approach to stabilizing crisis countries after a challenging withdrawal from Afghanistan, From Peril to Partnership's comparative analysis of Colombia and Mexico offers lessons for scholars and policymakers alike, providing insights into the efficacy of US security assistance and the necessary conditions and stakeholders in partner nations that facilitate success. Crucially, private sector support, interparty consensus on security policies, and the centralization of the security bureaucracy underpinned Colombia's success. The absence of these features in Mexico contributed to the country's descent into chaos, culminating in the country's highest-ever homicide rate by the end of the 2010s.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork, From Peril to Partnership evaluates to what extent security assistance programs helped improve the operational effectiveness and democratic accountability of Washington's partners—Colombian and Mexican security forces. It answers why Plan Colombia achieved its objectives and why the Mérida Initiative underdelivered in Mexico. Most importantly, it goes beyond drug war theatrics and the “one-size-fits-all” approach to US-led stabilization—at once, restoring agency to institutions on the receiving end of US security assistance and helping chart a course toward more nuanced and effective US policy.

Angelo, Paul. From Peril to Partnership: US Security Assistance and the Bid to Stabilize Colombia and Mexico. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2024.

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Dr. Paterson’s article shares the results of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies threats survey conducted in late 2022. The survey generated almost 650 responses from Perry Center graduates who selected from 35 threats in the Americas. The results illuminate how leading Latin American and Caribbean scholars – particularly those who work in the security and defense field – see the conditions in the Americas and can help inform policy makers and scholars who follow events in the Americas.

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This publication analyzes the role of China and Russia as strategic competitors of the United States, and how they have been expanding their influence in the Americas through instruments of national power such as diplomacy, information, and the economy. They are now involved in new domains including emerging technologies, cyberspace and outer space. These strategic competitors have been supporting autocratic regimes and threatening democracy, prosperity and security in the region.
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This paper traces the evolution of Pan-Americanism and the inter-American system over periods marked by initial attempts inspired by the competing visions of James Monroe and Simón Bolívar (1823-1889); U.S. efforts to place Pan- Americanism into service to advance its political aim of preeminence in a peaceful and prosperous hemisphere (1889-1923); peak cooperation engendered by a shift in U.S. tone and tactics (1923-1945); the establishment of the OAS, fallout from U.S. actions during the Cold War, and the U.S. attempt to reset its relationship to the region (1945-1990); and optimism regarding the potential for regional integration giving way to disillusionment and disagreement over the best way to address democratic backsliding (1990-2023).
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The William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and the George Washington University Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute hosted a joint online event honoring Richard Cavazos, the first four-star Army General of Hispanic heritage, for whom the third largest US military base was recently renamed. Perry Center Professor Dr. Arturo Sotomayor moderated a conversation with US Navy Admiral (ret.) Michelle Howard, chairwoman of the Renaming Commission and the first African-American woman to command a US Navy ship.

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Sydney’s paper describes the current state of the international lithium market and of lithium mining projects in Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia. It also explores the environmental consequences of this activity and provides a forecast of lithium availability in the near future. This paper offers a clear perspective of the status of the supply and demand of this coveted mineral and what should be done to meet the sustainable development goals for lithium production.
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The outdated capabilities of the armed forces of many Latin American countries, as well as divided loyalties to their preferred security partners (think China and the United States), force them to be prepared for future scenarios. The author presents the strategic foresight initiatives that the United States and Australia have designed to address their own scenarios of future defense needs, and details the relevance and applicability they may have for different scenarios in other countries in the hemisphere. Dr. Godnick offers an analysis of these foresight tools as an instrument for assessing and improving the region's security and defense in the coming years.
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This paper focuses on vaccination practices among the Western Hemisphere's armed forces. The paper will look at three issues: (1) the institutional and normative sources of vaccine requirements and mandates; (2) the alternatives provided to service members who choose not to be vaccinated; and (3) incentives and penalties for non-compliance. The analysis is broken down by sub-regions of the Western Hemisphere: North America, the Caribbean (non-Spanish speaking), Central America and the Dominican Republic, and South America.
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