The Council on Hemispheric Affairs published a solid article about the first meeting of UNASUR's South American Defense Council. It is largely pessimistic, arguing that the diplomatic spats between countries (some long-standing, some more recent) preclude it from mattering much.
Consequently, the group’s set of aspirations look far too ambitious to be realized at least in the near future. There are undoubtedly some prospects for progress that have the potential to further integrate the region. However, a common regional defense policy will be difficult to put together. Moreover, if the highly vocal bickering continues to characterize the SADC, the Council will likely descend into little more than a talking shop with severely limited clout.
I agree more with Boz, who argued that the main themes and agenda items were a positive step forward. We should not confuse progress with integration, which is not (at least for now) the point of the organization. Its intent is to establish a formal, multilateral mechanism for dialogue and cooperation.
No doubt, there are major roadblocks. But it is premature to label it a failure.