Toward Greater Peace and Security in Colombia

Forging a Constructive U.S. Policy

Task Force Report
Analysis and policy prescriptions of major foreign policy issues facing the United States, developed through private deliberations among a diverse and distinguished group of experts.

Colombia’s rampant lawlessness, insecurity, and corruption represent one of the major threats to democracy and economic progress in Latin America. The stakes are that high, according to this independent Task Force report. Cochaired by Senator Bob Graham and General Brent Scowcroft, the Task Force recommends a four-point strategy to respond to the deteriorating situation. Toward Greater Peace and Security in Colombia calls for a multi-track approach that supports Colombia’s efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation by helping to professionalize the country’s military forces, curtail widespread human rights abuses, strengthen political, judicial, and social reform efforts, and restore the economy.

Michael Shifter

President, Inter-American Dialogue

Brent Scowcroft

Resident Trustee, The Forum for International Policy

The Task Force urges a longer-term policy that goes beyond the emphasis on fighting drugs. The country’s problems are more complex, and stem from the state’s inability to protect its citizens. The report outlines the key U.S. interests at stake in Colombia, and makes it clear that any long-term solution to Colombia’s problems will require the United States to curb its own demand for drugs. While the responsibility for finding a solution depends on the Colombians, the United States and the international community can and must assist the troubled country in its struggle for peace.

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The United States needs to pursue a more vigorous multilateral approach and mobilize support from other countries in Latin America and Europe, along with relevant international bodies, to make progress in carrying out political and diplomatic efforts, combating illegal narcotics, and extending economic and trade benefits to Colombia. A comprehensive U.S. policy that brings together military, political, and socio-economic dimensions can best contribute to strengthening the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Colombian government, and to supporting its people in their fight for democracy.

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Task Force Members

Task Force Members:

ELLIOTT ABRAMS is president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Formerly, he was assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs.

STANLEY S. ARKIN is a partner and distinguished civil rights lawyer at Arkin Kaplan and Cohen LLP.

CYNTHIA ARNSON is assistant director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

BERNARD ARONSON is managing partner of ACON Investments LLC and served as assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs.

JOYCE CHANG is managing director of emerging markets research at Chase Securities.

ROBERT CHARLES is president of Direct Impact LLC and former chief of staff for the U.S. House National Security Subcommittee.

MIKE DEWINE is a member of the U. S. Senate (R-Ohio). He serves on the Senate's Judiciary Committee, the Senate's Drug Caucus, and is a former member of the House International Relations Committee.

JORGE I. DOMINGUEZ is the Clarence Dillon professor of international relations and director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

MATHEA FALCO, a lawyer, is president of Drug Strategies, a nonprofit research institute in Washington, DC. She served as assistant secretary of state for international narcotics matters and chairs this year's Council on Foreign Relations Working Group on Colombia based in San Francisco.

J. SAMUEL FITCH is a professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

SERGIO J. GALVIS is a partner at Sullivan and Cromwell, where he coordinates the firm's Latin American practice.

MICHAEL GAVIN is executive director of economic and financial research for Latin America at Warburg Dillon Read.

CHARLES GILLESPIE is resident senior fellow at the Forum for International Policy. He is a former U.S. ambassador to Colombia.

RICHARD HAASS is vice president and director of the foreign policy studies program at the Brookings Institution. He was special assistant to President Bush and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs at the National Security Council.

HENRY ALLEN HOLMES is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and former assistant secretary of defense.

JAMES JONES is chairman of the U.S. Council of the Mexico-U.S. Business Committee, counsel at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, and former ambassador to Mexico.

GEORGE JOULWAN is a retired general and former commander-in-chief of the U.S. Southern Command.

ANTHONY W. LAKE is distinguished professor of diplomacy in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Previously, he served as national security adviser to President Clinton.

ABRAHAM F. LOWENTHAL is president of the Pacific Council on International Policy at the University of Southern California. He was founding executive director of the Inter-American Dialogue and director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California.

THOMAS F. MCLARTY III is vice chairman of Kissinger McLarty Associates and former White House chief of staff.

THOMAS MCNAMARA is president of the Americas Society and former U.S. ambassador to Colombia.

AMBLER H. MOSS JR. is director of the Dante B. Fascell North-South Center at the University of Miami. Previously, he served as U.S. ambassador to Panama.

LILIA L. RAMIREZ is a retired naval officer and congressional relations director for Navy and Marine Corps programs at the Raytheon Corporation.

ERVIN J. ROKKE is president of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and a former career officer in the U.S. Air Force.

DAVID J. ROTHKOPF is chairman and chief executive officer of the Intellibridge Corporation and adjunct professor of international affairs at Columbia University. Previously, he served as managing director of Kissinger Associates and as deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade policy.

KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND is lieutenant governor of the State of Maryland. Previously, she was deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice.

VIRON P. VAKY is senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue. Formerly, he was assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs and U.S. ambassador to Colombia.

ALEXANDER F. WATSON is vice president and executive director of the international conservation program at the Nature Conservancy. Formerly, he was assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs.

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