Working Paper 90-8, July, l990.
By Paul Wehr and Klaus Pfoser
Department of Sociology University of Colorado at Boulder
This paper was prepared for presentation at the Twenty-fifth Conference of the International Peace Research Association, Groningen, The Netherlands, July, 1990. The statements and ideas presented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Conflict Resolution Consortium, the University of Colorado, or the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
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The 1980s produced profound changes in the nations of Europe and Central America. In both regions the concept of military-based security has been increasingly eclipsed by that of a security dependent on cooperation, demilitarization and democratization. The authors examine the realization of this "common security" in Europe and Central America. They give particular attention to the Esquipulas peace process and the importance of Nicaragua and Costa Rica as drivers of it. The Central American case presents students of conflict with a rich store of conflict management illustration and innovation, the study of which could advance our understanding of regional integration and domestic peace and justice. The authors see Nicaragua and Costa Rica as the potential nucleus of a common security movement which, informed by the post-war European experience, could grow to include all of Central America.
1. Origin of the Concept
Common security was born in the breakdown of U.S.Soviet detente and the subsequent nuclear buildup of the 1970s, as Europe became aware of its role as nuclear battlefield. It was a radical shift in thinking -away from security through competitive antagonism, to one of regional cooperation, away from threat-based deterrence to one of mutual trust. Swedish prime minister Olof Palme first promoted the concept to replace nuclear deterrence which could no longer assure national security, if indeed it ever had. Originally the term addressed the problem of military security -how to minimize the possibility of war by way of verification, confidence-building measures, better communication and the like. Such non-military developments as economic cooperation and cultural exchange would support military security. Strong forces were encouraging common security at that time: the instability and risk of nuclear deterrence; the social costs of the arms race; global problems of environmental degradation, population pressure, and poverty that were eclipsing the traditional class-based ideological conflicts sustaining the Cold War; the need for a permanent framework for arms control and disarmament. The core assumption of common security is that a nation's defense of its right to secure sovereignty must take into account the equally legitimate security interests of its antagonists. Such mutual recognition of defense and security rights has been institutionalized to a considerable degree through the machinery of the Helsinki process and Vienna and Geneva arms reduction negotiations. Its bipolar architecture must now accommodate the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact and COMECON. Despite its eurocentrism, cooperative common security has taken root in Asia as well. The ASEAN group, primarily for economic reasons, agreed upon a regional division of labor and a harmonization of political interests that have laid the basis for trust and cooperation on security issues between member states. There is also an integrative common security model developing in Western and Southern Europe complementary to, but distinct from the cooperative model. Its emphasis is not on international cooperation as much as on the development of regional institutions which increasingly assume the functions of the separate nations involved. The integrative concept had its beginnings in the ruins of post-war Europe, in the coal and steel community of Schumann and ultimately in the European Economic Community forged in the spirit of Jean Monnet. Its primary purpose was to overcome the historical antagonism between Germany and France that would weaken Western Europe's defense against the Soviet threat. The political institutions such as the European Council and Parliament followed in the integrative process and 1992 is the target date for full economic union. COMECON, the socialist bloc counterpart, has all but collapsed, and the eastward expansion of the European Community seems only a matter of time as Germany prepares to reunify.
2. Realization of Common Security in Europe
Cooperative common security has intended not to remove basic political differences but to create processes by which those conflicts are made less military, less dangerous. The concept assumes that East-West conflict will continue but will be moderated by recognition of the legitimate security rights of all, and the unacceptability of the use of military force. While the initial goal is to reduce military risk and force levels on all sides, the longer term goal is the emergence of a cooperative exchange so valuable to the participants that it would be too costly to disrupt with military conflict. The initiation of the Federal Republic's Ostpolitik in the early 1970s led off the process. The "Ostvertrage" mitigated East-West conflict sufficiently to permit the gradual construction of the framework for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). The CSCE agreement reached in Helsinki (1975) was the culmination of U.S.Soviet detente. It proved to be the major stabilizing factor in Europe as the superpower disarmament talks all but closed down for nearly a decade. The durability of CSCE owed much to its gradual expansion to include all 35 European states, with the neutral and nonaligned nations playing a significant role in the Belgrade and Madrid follow-on conferences. Out of CSCE came a broad all-Europe consensus on the principles for peaceful East-West relations -the increasingly obvious benefits of which encouraged the Gorbachev reforms in the U.S.SR. The four "baskets" of CSCE measures suggest how broad this common security process has been: 1) the demilitarization and regularization of interstate relations through setting human rights protection standards and monitoring and crafting confidence-building measures; 2) increased economic, scientific, technological and ecological cooperation; 3) growing transnational citizen contact, exchange and communication; 4) institutionalizing East-West diplomacy through follow-on conferences and permanent commissions. Ideological questions were eclipsed by human rights and humanitarian concerns that could only be protected and monitored within the new framework. The continuing conferences of CSCE kept in motion a process that all sides came to see had to be protected from the effects of short term interruptions and temporary setbacks. The common humanity of Europeans on all sides and the risk presented if the process failed, propelled it onward. Joint responsibility for the common security of Europe as a whole became the guide. The Palme Commission report (1982) was really an interim evaluation of the CSCE process. While its primary concern was for CS development in Europe, it made a clear call for CSCE-like regional security to be developed in the Third World. It recognized the developing nations' wish "to seek solutions to their problems free of great power interference... to resolve conflicts at regional or sub-regional levels." "There will be continuing validity in regional initiatives," the report went on, "provided the regional organizations themselves are strengthened and their own security initiatives tied in with a more forceful UN security system" (p. 129). That is precisely what appears to have happened in Central America. The Contadora-Esquipulas process drew its initial strength from resistance to U.S., Soviet and Cuban intervention. Like the CSCE process, C-E set as its short term goals the demilitarization of conflicts in the region, human rights protection, social reform and economic cooperation. The longer term objective was a nonmilitary security community capable of protecting regional and national interests from unwanted external influence -Central Americans managing Central American conflict within regional security arrangements. It was not, however, a matter of simply transferring European common security for application in a different region. First, the European model assumed regional pluralism of political and economic systems and worked initially because of that assumption. Perestroika, glasnost and the revolutions of 1989-90 have since encouraged more of an intersystem convergence. In Central America, by contrast, while Contadora-Esquipulas tolerated economic pluralism, liberal democratization of member states was always explicitly stated as a requirement for regional peace and cooperation. There are other dissimilarities between the European and Latin American settings as well that preclude a common security replication. In Europe, the threat of nuclear war was a global one, East and West threatened equally, both sides accepted the continuation of nonmilitary intersystem conflict, and both benefited visibly from common security. In Central America, by contrast, the threat is regionspecific. The threat system appears to be unbalanced, with especially the U.S. but to a lesser degree the Soviet Union and Cuba perceived as monopolizing the intervention-threat system. Their capacity ranges from direct and indirect military intervention, to drug-related paramilitary influence, to economic control through embargos, sanctions and control of international lending policies. One could argue that the threat system, unlike that in Europe, is unilateral in character and that interest in changing it, therefore, resides wholly with the Central Americans. Actually the threat system is not totally one-sided. Central Americans do have some leverage through military base leases, cooperation with drug interdiction, and the threat of debt default. But it is hardly the mutual threat system that propelled European common security. Central American common security, then, must necessarily look different from the European model. Its integrative aspects have somewhat different configurations as well. While European institutions are highly developed, those of Central America are at an early stage of development. The West European achievement of stable exchange rates, a common market, an envisioned common currency unit (ECU), a directly-elected European parliament, and other integrative measures have taken nearly 50 years to develop. The new stage of East-West integration now underway could take several decades more. European integration was stimulated by both the perceived threat from the East and large infusions of U.S. capital through the Marshall Plan. It was protected by U.S. military superiority and encouraged by the U.S., which saw a strong Western Europe as important for U.S. military security and economic growth. Each major integrative step -The Council of Europe and NATO (1949), the coal and steel commission (1951), Euratom and the EEC (1957) -were responses to external threats -the Prague coup (1948), the Korean War outbreak (1950), the Suez crisis (1956) and so on. Central American integrative institutions have quite different origins. Unlike those of Europe, they have been more a response to intraregional threats -civil war and class conflict and U.S. policy has only rarely supported their development. While the Alliance for Progress was a U.S. effort to encourage regional integration, in the 1980s U.S. counterinsurgency, militarization and lending and trade policies have tended to discourage integration - quite the opposite of the U.S. role in Western European integration. Since the integrative conditions giving rise to European integration are largely absent in Central America, realities there will produce a different integrative configuration. Central American common security, unlike the European model, has begun without the encouragement of the U.S., without the massive external nonmilitary aid, and without the external threat to impel institutionalization of regional defense. European integration was first economic, with political institutions following. Central America is having quite the opposite experience. Integration is to date primarily political, through Esquipulas. Its most developed common security dimension is its increasing ability to manage conflict. It is to that capacity that we now turn.
3. Common Security in Central America
Central America has incorporated elements of both CS models -the cooperative, in the form of the Esquipulas process, and the integrative in that of the Central American Common Market (CACM) and the Central American Parliament. Is it thereby creating a composite model of common security? Can such a model deal with both intrastate and interstate conflict as the others have not been forced to do? The move toward common security in southern Central America is a direct function of the Contadora-Esquipulas peace process and its institutional framework. That process has produced the elements of an embryonic regional security system with Nicaragua and Costa Rica at its core. Here we define security as the ability of societies and their states both to maintain internal peace and justice systems and to defend themselves against external threat and intervention. States like Costa Rica saw the U.S.-Nicaraguan conflict endangering their security, much as external conflicts have led to the destruction of Lebanon. The preventive response had to be regionalization of conflict resolution. Since 1987, Esquipulas has been creating loose consultation and conflict management institutions that include: 1) periodic summit meetings of the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica that produce agreements subsequently implemented by 2) national reconciliation commissions, 3) an interim ministerial consultative group, and 4) a regional monitoring commission (CIAV) relying heavily on the use of external third parties such as the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the Council of Former Heads of State. That institutional framework has been in large part responsible for the settlement of both the Contra and Sandinista-Atlantic Coast conflicts in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan elections of 1990, the subsequent peaceful transfer of power there, and moves toward negotiated settlement of civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala are also products of those institutions. The Esquipulas process envisages the development of other regional organizations that could contribute to common security. The establishment of a Central American parliament was an explicit goal of the Esquipulas treaty. It would, initially at least, be a consultative not a legislative body. With conflict in Nicaragua well on its way to resolution in 1990, the Esquipulas states have turned once again to plans for the parliament. There have been renewed efforts to resurrect the Central American Common Market, more or less moribund for two decades. There has even been some discussion of a reconstitution of the Central American Court of Justice (1907-17), that precursor of the World Court. We would argue then, that an embryonic framework for Central American common security already exists in the form of Esquipulas, and that it has a rather impressive record of accomplishment to date, in spite of earlier U.S. government efforts to subvert it.
4. Common Security
The collective experience in conflict management represented by Nicaragua and Costa Rica provides a substantial base upon which regional common security could build. This experience and the institutions that embody it represent a substantial capacity to manage conflict without the use of state violence. In assessing this common security potential in these two nations we looked at four variables: a) The capacity for equitable distribution and stable transfer of power (i.e., conflict prevention). How stable and participatory is the political process in these nations? How equitable is the socioeconomic structure? How responsive is the electoral system to the legitimate needs and sentiments of the population as a whole? How peacefully is power transferred? b) The capacity for peaceful internal conflict management (i.e., conflict resolution). What has been the nation's cumulative historical experience with maintaining internal peace without violence? Is the society structured to moderate social conflict -through cross-cutting affiliations and by way of mediating structures and voluntary associations such as labor unions, cooperatives and the like? Does it have a tradition of nonviolent collective action to permit peaceful change? Is the social structure sufficiently open and equitable to allow for movement and facilitate nonviolent conflict? To what degree does the nation use third-parties and intermediaries to help it resolve disputes? Does the ethnic composition of the society present special conflict problems? c) Relations with other states (i.e., a negotiation/accommodation tradition). Here we looked at the incidence of conflictive and peaceful relations the nation has had with its neighbors. How have wars, border disputes and other conflicts been averted or resolved? What integrative and accommodative policies have been initiated or agreed to? d) State militarization (i.e., the capacity for state violence). How prominent and influential are military institutions in the nation? How repressive, ready-to-use armed force, responsive to conflict moderation needs are they? How strong is popular sentiment for reducing or limiting their role? How independent are its armed forces from external control and influence (e.g., foreign advisors, weapons supplies, training programs, intelligence)? To what degree has there been a militarization of the police and other security agencies? How explicit is the demilitarization ethic in the society? These, then, are four essential indicators of a nation's potential for common security as we have defined it. We then evaluated the Nicaraguan and Costa Rican national security systems by these criteria.
Prerevolutionary Nicaragua had an extremely poor record in managing both internal and external conflict. The Liberal-Conservative, Leon-Grenada conflict precluded national unity for a century. The intervention of the U.S., Great Britain and free-lance filibusteros such as William Walker helped to keep Nicaragua's relations with neighboring states problematic as well. Revolutionary Nicaragua (1979-1990) offered no immediate improvement. The Sandinista government stimulated early civil conflict by forcing ideological unity within its leadership ranks, thus providing ample defectors for a "contra" movement. It also produced a second civil conflict by forcing the geographical and political integration of the Atlantic Coast indigenous peoples. Resolution of those two conflicts required an inordinate amount of conflict management learning. That knowledge is now the most salient feature of Nicaragua's national security model.
5.1 Conflict prevention. Four characteristics of Central American societies appear to determine their capacity to preclude social conflict: socioeconomic equitability, meaningful political participation, a tradition of peaceful governmental transfer of power, and the existence of mediating structures and cross-cutting affiliations that preclude nation-rending cleavages. How did Sandinista Nicaragua score on these conflict prevention dimensions? The Sandinista government was of course a product of revolutionary conflict which was by no means resolved with the disappearance of the Somoza regime and its clients. Conflicts with political dissidents, with the mainstream Catholic hierarchy, with those of the privileged class who remained in Nicaragua, and with the indigenous peoples...all emerged from the revolution. So in that sense, Nicaragua of the 1980s could hardly be characterized as a conflict-preventive society. The character and structural consequences of the revolution did, however, transform Nicaraguan society in ways that tended to prevent conflict in numerous ways. It was, by and large, a "gentle revolution," tempered by a Christian and humanist ethic that prevented many of the usual revolutionary excesses. Nicaraguan nationalism and religious fraternity helped to keep rancor and conflict largely within bounds, so to speak, and lent a reasonableness and moderation to political conflict. The socioeconomic restructuring accomplished by the Sandinistas -for example, agricultural and land reform, literacy and basic education, economic cooperatives of all kinds, social health and welfare programs -likewise tended to create a more participatory society that balanced conflict with cooperation, eliminating the worst conflict cleavages in Nicaraguan society. In that sense, it was and continues to be conflict preventive. It remains to be seen what will be the conflict consequences of the Sandinistas' last minute efforts to protect the "gains of the Revolution" as it prepared to transfer the government to the opposition. Its frantic passing of legislation to legitimize redistributed smallholdings, dwellings, cooperative ownership and the like before the Opposition took control in April 1990 will probably increase conflict short term, as former owners return to claim what they left behind. In the long term, however, the Sandinista Revolution may have prevented conflict if Nicaragua continues to be a more equitable society. As concerns Nicaragua's traditions of peaceful transfer of power and broad electoral participation, there appears to have been a steady movement from 1979 to 1984 to 1990, toward wider participation and greater stability of power transfer. The 1990 elections were a quite remarkable and novel nonviolent transition from a revolutionary-radical political system to a liberal-democratic one. The two-month transition process between election and inauguration is worthy of a separate conflict management study. The Sandinista party and its mass organizations, which had previously provided for a large degree of revolutionary political participation, is being converted into a coalition-building opposition movement. Such a remarkable transformation must certainly bode well for the future of Nicaragua as a nonviolent, continuous political system. Through their mass organizations, the Sandinistas will continue to provide some healthy mediating structures that will facilitate the individual-group-state mediation that moderates conflict. The multiplicity of cross-cutting nonpolitical affiliations such as strong church membership, traditions of family solidarity, and Nicaraguan nationalism adds an important conflict prevention aspect to Nicaraguan society.
5.2 Conflict resolution. Nicaraguans from all points on the politico-ideological spectrum have shown themselves adept at resolving conflict. In 1983, the Sandinista government began its long retreat from reliance on armed force as an approach to conflict. The development of the Autonomy Law is one illustration of this, evolving over several years of consultation with Atlantic Coast representatives. The 1987 law, by making geographical units rather than traditional tribal rights the basis for local autonomy, moderated considerably East Coast-West Coast and interethnic conflict in Nicaragua. The process will now continue as dissident Indian leaders return to Nicaragua to once again claim tribal rights over geographic ones, and to confront their indigenous colleagues who negotiated the Autonomy Law. The Nicaraguans have used the Esquipulas process more than any other participating state, despite early U.S. efforts to exclude them from and isolate them within it. Most of the summit agreements have focused on Nicaraguan conflicts. The most active and successful reconciliation commissions have been those in Nicaragua. These have produced a number of agreements: Sapoa (Sandinista-Contra), the Sandinista-YATAMA accord, and the Toncontin agreement paving the way for Contra demobilization and repatriation. A striking aspect of Nicaraguan conflict resolution has been its ever-growing use of third-party intermediaries from within Nicaragua (e.g., Cardinal Obando y Bravo) and from outside (e.g., the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Council of Former Heads of State). As noted by Wehr and Lederach, that use of impartial, external third parties was combined with the enlisting of trusted intermediaries from within the conflicts...the creative use of confianza. Finally, the Nicaraguans made interesting use of what Wehr and Lederach have called the "sympathetic third-party presence" to moderate their conflicts. The presence of European and North American volunteers and technical experts tended to limit violence in the conflicts both from within Nicaragua and by way of influencing the U.S. Congress, thereby dissuading the U.S. government from further militarizing those conflicts.
5.3 Societal militarization. Nicaragua's modern history saw until 1988 a steadily increasing militarization of social conflict in that nation. The Somoza dynasty made armed force and state violence the centerpiece of its political control strategy. The Sandino rebellion began the modern tradition of armed opposition in Nicaragua. The Sandinistas expanded that tradition and made the Sandinista Peoples Army a central mobilizing and controlling force after coming to power. That militarization of Nicaraguan society was a stimulus and in some cases a pretext for Nicaraguan conflict. First, it alarmed and threatened other governments in the region, generating much antipathy toward the Sandinistas regionally. Second, it provided an EastWest conflict arena in which the U.S. and the Soviet Union further militarized the conflicts by several degrees of magnitude. Third, it permitted and encouraged the Sandinista government to use state violence and armed force to resolve political conflicts, creating in the process counterrevolutionary and Indian insurgent groups which the Reagan government then expanded into movements. Finally, such militarization ultimately called for conscription, a most unpopular policy that distanced the Sandinista government from even many of its supporters. Whatever the reasons for it, the steadily increasing role of Nicaragua's military and paramilitary institutions imposed heavy costs on its society and economy. Not the least of those was a wild proliferation of weapons, which now complicates social conflict in Nicaragua. By 1988, Nicaraguan militarization appeared to have peaked. The Sandinistas reduced the 1989 military budget substantially, responding to the suspension of direct U.S. military aid to the contra. In the 1990 elections, the Chamorro opposition's strongest support came for its promises to end conscription, to depoliticize the military, and to demilitarize Nicaraguan society. While the SandinistaUNO transition protocol protected the "professional integrity" of the armed forces, it also signaled its depolitization and a substantially reduced role for it in Nicaragua's future. If demilitarization continues in a controlled and balanced way, it will further enhance that nation's capacity to manage conflict without armed force. 5.4 Relations with other states. Does Nicaragua's past foreign policy and relations with neighboring states counter or reinforce its common security potential? In prerevolutionary times, its relations were complicated by its direct and indirect interventions in Honduran and Costa Rican affairs, by close and suspect collaboration with the U.S. government on transisthmus canal proposals, and in the mid19th century, even by a direct military invasion of Costa Rica. In the Sandinista period, only with Cuba and Guatemala did Nicaragua have cordial relations within the region. As Esquipulas developed, however, that changed somewhat as Nicaragua agreed progressively to a prohibition of arms transfers to insurgents, cessation of cross-border hostilities, refugee repatriation, cease fires, mediated and negotiated settlements, and the creation of various regional integrating institutions. Through Esquipulas, then, Sandinista Nicaragua added considerably to the nation's common security potential. On balance, given its demonstrated capacity in the 1985-1990 period for increasingly nonviolent resolution of both domestic conflict and disputes with its neighbors, Nicaragua could be judged at the head of the current trend toward demilitarized societies and integrative institutions in the region.
6. Costa Rica
If Nicaragua could be the cornerstone of common security in Central America, Costa Rica would be its keystone. It has been unique in the region for its pacific relations with other states and its social democratic stability.
6.1. Conflict prevention. Costa Rica, led by Oscar Arias, was able to play a central role in Esquipulas because of its relative freedom from violent civil conflict, as both a smallholder society and a social democracy. Comparatively equitable land distribution, an independent if conservative press, a modern constitution, the absence of armed forces to upset peaceful transfer of power -all of these characteristics have brought relative domestic peace in Costa Rica. The single term presidency has produced a large number of former presidents who, as "elder statesmen," have helped make Costa Rica the most stable political system in Latin America. Political and economic conflicts are kept within bounds. Since its wealth and life chance distribution is more equitable than elsewhere in Latin America, Costa Rica has an average life expectancy strikingly near that of developed nations. Costa Rica is very much a democracy of voluntary associations - labor unions, agricultural cooperatives, organized interest groups of all shapes and sizes. Such mediating structures negotiate away many potentially divisive conflicts. A pervasive national myth of pure democracy, while substantially flawed in its practice, is a further stabilizing force.
6.2. Conflict resolution. As a stable democracy for nearly half a century, Costa Rica has developed a set of formal conflict management mechanisms that have institutionalized most conflict. The court system, collective bargaining, a social security system, unemployment insurance, rural justices of the peace, a parliamentary forum, a free if unbalanced press -all of these give access and voice to individuals and interest groups in conflict -not equal access, certainly, but equitable when compared with most of the region. Costa Rica also has a well-developed tradition of nonviolent collective action. Strikes, protest marches, road blockades, sit-ins, squatter settlement -the full repertoire of open nonviolent direct action has a long history in that society. This tends to moderate social conflict. Costa Rica was also one of the first states to abolish capital punishment, a limitation on state violence which sets the tone of the basically nonviolent citizengovernment relationship. Finally, Costa Rican society makes maximum use of "intimate" conflict management methods. Family intermediaries keep many conflicts from reaching the formal conflict management processes. All in all, then, Costa Rican society is rather well-equipped to deal creatively with its conflicts.
6.3. Relations with other states. There are several reasons why Costa Rica has a history of largely peaceful relations with states in the region. First, it has common borders with only two -Nicaragua and Panama. That in itself is a conflict constraint. In both cases, border disputes and ambiguities have historically been resolved through lengthy negotiation and arbitration. Second, Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948 and prohibited its return in the constitution of 1949. It poses no military threat, then, to neighboring countries. This prohibition of military institutions is set in a larger national policy of strict neutrality and non-intervention. That policy was under serious attack in the 1980s when Costa Rica was being pressured by the Reagan government to militarize its police force and join the Contra War against the Sandinistas. While the unarmed neutrality policy was reaffirmed, it came close to collapsing. Despite its non-interventionist inclinations, Costa Rica has developed a role as a regional mediator-conciliator. As early as 1924, when it intervened in the Honduras conflict, Costa Rica was encouraging unarmed resolution of conflict. But it has been the Esquipulas process, largely designed by Oscar Arias with the backing of his government and people, that has best illustrated the Costa Rican peacemaking role in Central America. And because of its historical stability, Costa Rica has become the seat of a number of regional intergovernmental and interuniversity associations. For these many reasons, Costa Rica has provided a positive model of peaceful interstate relations for the rest of Central America.
6.4. State militarization. Costa Rica's capacity to do violence to its citizens and to other states must be among the lowest in the world. Its abolition of the death penalty in 1878 and prohibition of a standing armed force in 1949 were benchmarks in the effort to limit state violence. In a public ceremony rich with symbolism, the army commander-inchief handed the keys to his headquarters to the minister of education who promptly converted it to a school. Costa Rica's non-military tradition, however, does have its opponents within the nation. There is a substantial pro-military sentiment that was used extensively by the Reagan government in its efforts to militarize Costa Rica. Resistance to those efforts marked a low point in U.S.-Costa Rican relations. A disquieting recent trend is a follow-on effort by the U.S. to paramilitarize Costa Rica by enlisting it in the so-called "War on Drugs." For the moment, militarization is held at bay but the pressures are considerable and increasingly tied to U.S. support for Costa Rican loans from the World Bank. The government of Calderon appears to be tolerant of such paramilitarization and reactive against Costa Rica's role as Esquipulas peacemaker. That may, however, be more a temporary displeasure at Nobel Laureate Arias' visibility than an indicator of major policy change to come.
7. Creating a Composite Security Model.
On the four common security dimensions of conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peaceful external relations and demilitarization, both Nicaragua and Costa Rica demonstrate strong historical movement in a positive direction. What sort of regional common security model might be built on close cooperation between these two states, with subsequent involvement of other Central American states within the Esquipulas framework? Certainly the restructuring of other Central American societies along the lines taken by Nicaragua and Costa Rica is the essential conflict prevention mechanism. Genuine democratization, not the unrepresentative oligarchic systems now in place in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama, is one side of the coin. The other is basic and effective land reform and the development of supportive economic and social structures which permit families and communities to feed themselves. The U.S., Europe and Japan could, for example, progressively buy out and redistribute the major part of the latifundist holdings in those countries to free up the resources needed for small-scale local food, energy and shelter production. Costa Rica and Nicaragua could share their experience in small and medium land tenure systems and the development of the essential mediating organizations that connect families and communities with their national government in social democracies. Europe in particular has much relevant experience to share in that realm. The conflict resolution experience of Nicaragua and Costa Rica could be shared more fully through the Esquipulas framework, thereby stimulating nation-specific self-studies of conflict resolution histories and capacities. Intranational dispute resolution goes on at all societal levels in these two nations -in the reconciliation commissions, in national assembly committees, within the voluntary associations and mass organizations, and between them and government. Such experience could be distilled into formal training and integrated into the education systems of all the Esquipulas states, each of which has its own rich experience with resolving conflict. Projects of the University for Peace, the University of Costa Rica, and the Faculty of Social Science in Latin America are already underway for regional training in conflict resolution. Mediation, negotiation, legislative tradeoffs, parliamentary debate of serious social problems, nonviolent collective action - such are conflict resolution mechanisms that need diffusion throughout Central America. Peaceful interstate relations, within Central America and with the U.S., could come about through integrative institutions. Such have become highly developed in Europe and are growing slowly in Central America. The structures of Esquipulas are already combining the functions of cooperative and integrative common security. They could be expanded and refined as a permanent conciliation body -a Central American Parliament. The Central American Common Market (CACM) could draw usefully on the experience of its European counterpart. Real progress could be made toward a regional division of labor (as ASEAN has done) - regional trade stimulation, import substitution, food self-sufficiency and agricultural reform policies to prevent conflict and strengthen national and regional economies. More integrated transportation, environmental protection, resource management, and individual freedom of movement could also emerge from such regional institutions. The Central American Court of Justice could be resurrected to hear civil and human rights cases as well as appeals of judgments from national courts, much in the way that the European Court of Human Rights now does. Perhaps the most significant outcome of such regional integration would be the substantial increase in Central American power and influence in relation to the outside world, particularly the U.S.. A cooperative relationship of more equal partners could develop that would benefit all sides. Finally, the state militarization trend in the northern states of Central America must be reversed by both the demonstration effect of common security models in the south and a change in U.S. policy. Costa Rica illustrates that a disarmed democracy can be a secure and prosperous one. Nicaragua has shown how demilitarization of conflict is successfully done. Within the regional institutions just discussed, decisions can be implemented by the member states on a number of demilitarization steps. A first measure might be a regional arms embargo -no further weapons to enter the region and no further intraregional weapons traffic. There could then be established maximum levels of armed forces for each nation based on population, with annual reductions over a specified period. The ultimate goal of force reductions might be the replacement of national armed forces by a small, multilateral peacekeeping force for regional defense and unarmed intervention in intranational conflicts. Such a disarmament process might start with a Nicaraguan-Costa Rican agreement to test its feasibility for the other states. The civil wars and military buildups of the 1980s have left a legacy of tens of thousands of weapons in Central America. As common security develops, those levels must and will come down, perhaps through voluntary weapons turn-in and buy-back programs, with public destruction ceremonies such as those used in the Nicaraguan contra demobilization process. What would replace military security at the national level? Costa Rica uses lightly armed urban and rural police. Such a disarmed nation appears to work very well indeed. It would work better, in our estimation, if the concept of citizen training for nonmilitary defense were introduced there and throughout Central America. Through national education systems and mediating organizations families, communities, workers, and officials would be trained to resist either external attack or internal state violence through disciplined noncooperation with the aggressor. This concept has gained some support in Europe as an alternative defense strategy that deters an aggressor who must necessarily rely on the obedience of those it seeks to control. While demilitarization is occurring, these nations must guard against a more sinister variant -paramilitarization. This would include the arming and training of paramilitary elements such as insurgent groups, death squads, vigilante bands and drug enforcement agents, most of whom are engaged in covert activity.
8. Problems and Prospects
There are both obstacles and stimuli as a region moves from military to common security. Even in the European experiment there are important problems with national sovereignty to be overcome. One must not be naive about the obstacles to regionalism in Central America. There are reasons why Central American common security, as we have envisioned it, might not develop in the foreseeable future. The most important are the military oligarchies that remain in place, propped up with the massive military support and presence of the U.S. The latifundia agriculture and export crop economies are in turn held tightly in place by these oligarchic governments. Critics claim that U.S. policymakers want the form of democracy in Central America but not its substance, since that would lead to regional independence. Central America continues to be seen by these officials as a U.S. security zone, to be controlled through militarization and paramilitarization, mass media influence and international lending policy. A second major obstacle to common security is the economic weakness of Central America, its near total dependence on a few export crops and world markets. Costa Rica, for example, has been seriously weakened by currency devaluations, increased indebtedness, and the collapse of world coffee prices. Its policies can be dictated by the IMF and the controlling nations. Were they so inclined, private and international lending agencies could "structurally readjust" their policies to reward demilitarization, regional integration, and the prevention and resolution of conflict in Central America. They are not likely to do so, however, without a major shift in U.S. policy. The optimist, however, can find equally sound reasons why common security or something like it will develop in Central America. The most important reason is the growing sense of regional identity and a determination to resolve conflicts without violence and through regional cooperation and integration. Regional institutions are emerging to accomplish that. Third party NGO facilitation of peacemaking will be heavily relied on. Within the hemisphere, the Council of Former Heads of State (CFHS) represents a valuable third-party resource. Jimmy Carter and Rodrigo Carrazo will now be joined by Oscar Arias and Daniel Ortega as former presidents directly involved in regional peacemaking. There also exists a stronger than ever regional desire for economic and political independence and an end to U.S. intervention. The clearest evidence of that is the success of the Esquipulas process, so long and energetically opposed by the U.S. government. The Central Americans' common history of U.S. intervention provides a strong mortar for regional cooperation. The end of the Cold War and the death of communism have removed any number of pretexts, rationales and excuses for military oligarchies to continue their repression, and for the U.S. government to support them in doing so. The decline of U.S. public support for such policies should continue to decline. The ethic of demilitarization is gaining momentum in Central America. That interest is part of a larger sentiment for trying alternatives to methods and institutions that have clearly failed in the past. Military force has been heavily discredited in Central America. Violence has a way of exhausting itself after a time. That appears to be happening at least in southern Central America. Another development likely to encourage Central American common security is the growing involvement of Japan and Europe as sources of political, economic and cultural influence there. This will tend to moderate U.S. influence somewhat and alter dependency relationships, though not necessarily to the advantage of the Central Americans. There is no reason why Japan and Europe should compete with the U.S. for influence. A stable, peaceful, independent Central America is in the long range interests of all three power centers. They should cooperate to bring about such an outcome. If the U.S. government would shift from its "U.S. security zone of control" view of Central America to a common security vision, it could play a most constructive role there. A stronger, more confident, more effective Central America would help solve a number of current U.S. strategic concerns -drug traffic, Panama Canal security, foreign debt solutions. The U.S. already appears to have shifted its policy toward Esquipulas. It is at least no longer actively opposing it and is perhaps even moderately supportive of it. That is a most constructive change.
8.1. A model. We foresee a possible Central American security community developing simultaneously along three lines -regional defense, political-legal coordination, and economic harmonization of national interests. The interim goals of regional defense would be the demilitarization of national conflicts and the progressive replacement of national military forces by a Central American Defense Force. Such a force would be small in size, lightly armed, and responsible for such regional security tasks as securing the neutral status and continued operation of the Panama Canal. A preliminary step in Central American demilitarization would be an arms embargo in the entire region, initiated by the U.S. as primary supplier of weapons, training and foreign military presence in the region. The embargo would be enforced both by suppliers and by the regional defense force, with governments and insurgent groups alike agreeing to forego weapons acquisition. A second regional defense responsibility would be to replace the U.S. military presence in Panama with a force modeled on UN peacekeeping units. Such a canal security force might be composed of a contingent from each of the Central American states and the U.S., and under Panamanian command to protect a demilitarized Panama's sovereignty. Internationalizing canal security in this way would remove it as a source of conflict between the region and the U.S. and would .pa strengthen the region's self-defense capacity. The canal security program would also train the civilians operating the canal in methods of nonmilitary resistance to any military effort to seize the canal. Political-legal coordination in the region would be accomplished through the expanded institutions of Esquipulas, perhaps to include the Central American Parliament, a resurrected Central American Court of Justice, and a reborn Central American Federation. Such institutions would set, implement and monitor regional standards for human rights protection, demilitarization processes and timetables, harmonization of legal codes, standardization of insurance, employment, health care and other social democratic rights, election monitoring and the like. Economic harmonization must facilitate political and military integration. Central American governments cannot act beyond the tight constraints of economic resources. Cooperative action taken external to Central America is necessary. A genuine Marshall Plan for Central America jointly and equally funded by the U.S., the European Community and Japan could go far toward strengthening Central American economies so weakened by armed conflict, collapse of export crop prices and foreign indebtedness. That economic infusion from the wealthy world would be administered by a regional unit of Esquipulas or CACM and need not be "without strings." There is no good reason why influence applied to ameliorate internal checks on economic and social development -galloping birth rates, absence of land reform, deforestation, human rights abuse, state violence - should not accompany such economic aid. The debt-for-nature swap is an imaginative idea that could be modified to encourage basic sociocultural changes in El Salvador, Guatemala and elsewhere. Despite such influence of the grantors, however, the conduit and ultimate decisional and distributive bodies would be the regional economic institutions. These might also have the power to levy regional taxes and duties as their European counterparts do. The common linguistic, cultural and historical backgrounds of the Central American nations would support this shift away from the traditional bilateral aid relationship with the U.S. and international lending agencies to one in which Central Americans were making decisions about resources for Central Americans and within regional institutions. Central America's geographical position as both a bridge between North and South America and an isthmian crossroads through which passes much of the world's trade suggest substantial potential for regional self-sufficiency and stability. That potential can only be realized through regional institutions. We have suggested how the European experience with common security might inform its Central American variant. Learning can flow in the other direction as well. The Central American peace process has much to teach us. Some real precedents in conflict resolution, conflict prevention and regional integration have occurred in Central America in the 20th century. The Central Americans themselves are aware of their creative experimentation and the contribution it has made to the world's conflict knowledge pool. Particularly in the 1980s, they have realized that this is a time for alternative concepts, models and methods. We intend our study to contribute to that effort of assessing Central America's capacity to resolve its conflicts and defend its territorial, cultural, political and economic integrity. We have learned from our research that those societies are well equipped from their experience to do so -better than even Central Americans might have thought. Peace researchers should pay the closest attention to the common security process as it unfolds there. References
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