Thesis Title

The American Quagmire: Narco-Terrorism And Instability In Colombia


Brice Harris

Date of Graduation

Spring 2001


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Ulrike Schumacher


This study analyzes the impact of narco-terrorism on Colombia and the manner in which that situation affects regional stability, hemispheric security, and U.S. national interests. In so doing, this study reviews the history of the narco-insurgency in Colombia, the organizational profiles of the key players involved in the conflict, and discusses thier respective motivations and strategies. Colombia's humanitarian crisis also is discussed, as is the spillover effect on other countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean. Moreover, the Colombian government's national strategy to end the pervasive violence associated with narco-terrorism, to reinvigorate Colombia's economy and, in general, to strengthen the pillars of Colombia's democratic society is examined. This study also assesses the extent to which foreign actors are involved in the Colombian crisis, while focusing particularly on U.S. military and financial assistance to the Colombian government and surrounding nations. Additionally, the involvement of other external actors that are helping to perpetuate the armed conflict in Colombia is considered herein. Finally, this study presents alternative policy options that are available to the U.S. government both for unilateral action to generate short-term benefits and for constructing an inter-American security architecture to prepare for future contingencies in the Western Hemisphere.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Brice Harris