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| 9/1/2010 12:00:00 AM

How to update U.S.-South American defense agreements

September 1--Defense cooperation agreements are a good thing, and the United States has many with friendly nations around the globe.

How to update U.S.-South American defense agreements How to update U.S.-South American defense agreements
They enable mutual undertakings such as disaster response and counternarcotics efforts, they define limits, and specify rights and obligations for signatories. Sometimes they attract controversy, as did the U.S.-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) signed in October of 2009. But generally they won't if they are in step with each party's needs and adequately explained.

Unfortunately, when the U.S.-Colombia DCA was announced, South America's regional bully, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, was quick with a hysterical response. He deftly mischaracterized its counternarcotics theme as a threat to his government during a South American leaders' summit in order to distract attention from his outlandish multi-billion dollar arms purchases. These include long-range Sukhoi Su-30 fighter-bombers, Mi-35 combat helicopters, plans for advanced Su-35 fighters, submarines, and seaborne missile attack platforms.
 
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