Friday, August 09, 2013

Conflict Resolution in Latin America

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elías Jaua was talking about regional stability in Latin America. He attributed it to regional organizations, focusing of course on the ones Venezuela likes:

Asimismo, acotó que el continente cuenta con instrumentos para conservar la paz y la estabilidad tales como la Unión de Naciones Suramericanas (Unasur), la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (Celac) y el Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur) con los que se pueden aplicar “métodos de resolución pacífica de conflictos”.

I was just writing about the lack of wars in Latin America, and how to explain them. Jaua's reasoning is logical but empirically makes me wonder. What conflicts have UNASUR, CELAC, and MERCOSUR helped to resolve?

At least as far as I know, they have not contributed to resolving some of the more serious disputes, e.g.Chile-Peru, Chile-Bolivia, Colombia-Ecuador, Colombia-Venezuela, or Argentina-Uruguay.

It could be true that a proliferation of international organizations like these fosters cooperation before conflict can ever surface, such as through defense transparency. On the other hand, there was regional stability even when those new institutions did not exist.

I'd like to see an analysis of how 21st century disputes have been resolved once they have already surfaced, and what conclusions we can take from that with regard to international institutions, the role of the United States, and the effectiveness of bilateral vs. multilateral negotiations.


Justin Delacour 2:10 PM  

There may be a case to be made that cultural and linguistic commonalities play a role in the infrequence of war between Latin American countries as well. Despite all the beating that Huntington took for the Clash of Civilizations, no political scientist has ever convincingly demonstrated that cultural/linguistic variables don't play a role in war and peace. Unfortunately, these are the kinds of variables that the discipline has difficulty grappling with, though.

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