U.S. Policy for Central America

A Briefing

by Edward Gonzalez, Brian Michael Jenkins, David Ronfeldt, Caesar Sereseres

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Abstract

This report looks at Central America in the light of U.S. foreign policy interests. It discusses the new policy environment of the 1980s, including changes and significance for U.S. policy. It describes U.S. interests in Central America by looking at strategic and security interests, moral and institutional values, and balancing interests and values. Security trends and potential threats are given by presentation of two scenarios: one of the MiGs and Cuban combat forces in Nicaragua and the other of a guerrilla victory in El Salvador. The challenge of Nicaragua is looked at in detail and deals with options for dealing with a Sandinista regime and options to prevent a Cuban-Soviet military buildup. Finally, general implications for U.S. policy are given, including basic guidelines for a long-term policy and political, economic, and military dimensions.

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