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Negotiating intervention by invitation: how the Colombians shaped US participation in the genesis of Plan Colombia

Méndez, Álvaro (2012) Negotiating intervention by invitation: how the Colombians shaped US participation in the genesis of Plan Colombia. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the genesis of Plan Colombia, the aid programme that transferred US$1.3 billion to Colombia during fiscal year 2000/2001 alone. It was found that President Andres Pastrana invited the intervention of the US in many aspects of Colombia’s internal affairs, from his peace process with guerrilla insurgents to his project to reassert the authority of the state over Colombia’s ‘internal periphery’. A complex, three-way negotiation between the two core Executives and the US Congress ensued, which yielded a more limited intervention than the Colombians desired. It was also found that, the vast power asymmetry notwithstanding, it was the small state that took the initiative and managed to exert influence over the great power. These findings conclusively refute the paradigmatic presumption in the IR literature that Plan Colombia was hegemonically imposed. To the contrary, the protracted (two years long) negotiation of terms showed the ‘hegemon’ decidedly reluctant to be drawn too far into its internal affairs of its ‘victim’. Plan Colombia follows a characteristic pattern in US foreign relations, which has been noted before; a unique form of ‘imperialism’ whereby subject states actually invite the intervention of the great power, in some cases even to the point of occupation. Unlike the approach typical of the IR field, which is predominantly a priori in method, the treatment herein is essentially inductive. For my fieldwork I interviewed the gamut of elite participants in the making of the Plan, from ex-President Pastrana himself to Thomas Pickering, the third-ranking officer in the US State Department. Letting the facts from all sources speak for themselves, I have arrived at counterintuitive results of interest to theorists and practitioners of international relations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Álvaro Méndez
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Alden, Christopher

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