Thesis Title

Quagmire: the Strategic Implications of a Failed State in Colombia

Date of Graduation

Fall 2004


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

C. Walton


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the strategic implications of a failed state in Colombia. For decades the Colombian state has been plagued by the inherent flaws and weaknesses in its democratic system. As a result of governmental failures, Colombia has been troubled by guerrilla insurgency, paramilitary violence, narcoterrorism, and bitter civil conflict. In turn, these problems and issues have accentuated the failures of the Colombian government. The causes and symptoms of Colombia's ongoing crisis operate in cyclical fashion. As the current conflict deepens, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Colombian state is on the brink of total political and economic failure. On a macro-level, Colombia's civil war has spread throughout Latin America and the Caribbean basin, generating serious security concerns for numerous nations, most notably the United States of America. If in fact the Colombian state does fail, the problems of guerrilla insurgency, paramilitary violence, and narcoterrorism will present greater security threats to the U.S. government and populace. Therefore, it is evident that the state of Colombia is strategically important to the United States. In regard to U.S. national security, it is imperative that the American government support and and maintain a stable, democratic government in Colombia by any means necessary.


paramilitary violence, narcoterrorism, guerrilla insurgency, failed state, strategic asset

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Andrew R. Draffin