Traditional Security

War and peace

Authored by: Cameron G. Thies

Routledge Handbook of Latin American Security

Print publication date:  July  2015
Online publication date:  July  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415718691
eBook ISBN: 9781315867908
Adobe ISBN: 9781317965091


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Why continue to study traditional security in Latin America? Today the region is full of democracies, and there are a variety of international institutions in place designed to facilitate trade and resolve conflicts. Surely, militarized conflict and war are a thing of the past? Yet, as Mares notes in his recent book, Latin America and the Illusion of Peace, “we ignore the signs of potential militarized conflict in Latin America at our peril” (2012: 25). Unfortunately, the issuance of threats between countries, and the aggressive display and use of force has not disappeared. Since 2001, there have been over a dozen militarized interstate disputes (MIDs) in the region. We do not have to look too far back in time to find a full-fledged interstate war between Ecuador and Peru (1995’s Cenapa Valley War that claimed 1,500 lives). Even joint democracy could not prevent this war, nor has it prevented a variety of MIDs in the region (Domínguez et al. 2003: 29; Simmons 1999). The use of force is not off the table in Latin America, and the sources of potential conflicts in the region have not been tamed; thus it is worthwhile to continue to engage in theoretical and empirical analyses regarding peace and security in the region.

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