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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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors, the fees earned on client-funded research, and independent research and development (IR&D) funds provided by the Department of Defense.

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