One of three informal briefings presented to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller prior to his official visit to Latin America. (The others, by non-Rand people, were on economic and political issues.) Although there is no major guerrilla or Cuban threat in Latin America, the military remain a key power in the politics of the area. In devoting attention to threats from the left, the United States has ignored and inadvertently even contributed to problems with the right. U.S. preconceptions about the seriousness of the Communist threat and the subsequent need for counterinsurgency and civic action by the Latin American military are having undesired results. Paradoxically, U.S. policies appear to simultaneously encourage authoritarian regimes and antagonize the military who lead them. An optimal security policy would attempt to maintain working relations with the Latin American military even though our military aid leverage is declining. Moralizing about armaments and missions elicits anti-U.S. nationalism and erodes our influence. 23 pp.