Arm Sales to Latin America   [open pdf - 197KB]

From the thesis abstract: "Latin America is experiencing unprecedented peace and stability because democracy has replaced the authoritarian regimes of the past. The Clinton Administration decided in 1997 to lift the arm sales ban to Latin America after a twenty-year moratorium. This recent change in U.S. arm sales policy has renewed a growing concern, among critics, that an influx of U.S. weapons to the region will lead to an arms race. This thesis argues that an arms race is not occurring in Latin America today. Three possible explanations will be explored to explain the presence or absence of arms races in Latin America, they are: democratic peace and complex interdependence, economic determinants of defense expenditures, and U.S. arms sales policy. Two traditional rival dyads of Brazil/Argentina and Peru/Ecuador will be applied to theoretical bases for international arms races as well as U.S. foreign policy to provide explanatory support. The major conclusion of this thesis is that U.S. foreign policy neither supports nor prevents arms races and economic determinants of defense expenditures offer mix results at best. The best possible explanation to why an arms race is not occurring in Latin America today is the presence of democratic peace and complex interdependence."

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