Accession Number : ADA515610

Title :   US Policy in El Salvador: Creating Beauty or the Beast?

Descriptive Note : Journal article

Corporate Author : MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY

Personal Author(s) : Hennelly, Michael J.

PDF Url : ADA515610

Report Date : 1993

Pagination or Media Count : 12

Abstract : On 16 January 1992, the president of El Salvador and Salvadoran communist leaders signed a peace agreement for their war-ravaged Central American country. The conflict in El Salvador, which began in 1980 and cost more than 75,000 lives, was one of the longest episodes of political violence in the Western Hemisphere. The military and political role played by the U.S. government was one of the most significant aspects of the Salvadoran war. Shortly after the inauguration of President Reagan, the United States began an ambitious program of security assistance to El Salvador that continued into the Bush Administration. During this period, the United States provided hundreds of military trainers, tons of military equipment, and over $4 billion in assistance to help ensure the survival of the Salvadoran government. El Salvador received about one million dollars a day in U.S. assistance from 1981 to 1992. American involvement in El Salvador and the results that were achieved have generated a great deal of controversy. One of the most common themes has been the "failure" of U.S. policy in El Salvador. The signing of the Salvadoran peace accord is an appropriate juncture to examine whether that judgment is valid. For 12 years, the United States walked a policy tightrope in El Salvador. One U.S. goal was to stop communist expansion and defeat the military aims of the leftist guerrillas. To that end the United States generated one of the greatest military force expansions in Central American history. However, the other major U.S. goal was to foster democracy in a country that had been ruled for most of the 20th century by a repressive military regime. The challenge facing U.S. policy makers was to develop the Salvadoran armed forces in such a way that they became both militarily effective and politically inactive. The primary thesis of this article, contrary to most analyses, is that the United States was reasonably successful in meeting this difficult policy challenge.

Descriptors :   *EL SALVADOR, *MILITARY MODERNIZATION, *COUNTERINSURGENCY, *MILITARY FORCES(FOREIGN), *FOREIGN POLICY, *MILITARY ASSISTANCE, *UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, *COMMUNISM, DEMOCRACY, MILITARY GOVERNMENT, CIVIC ACTION, GUERRILLA WARFARE, POLITICAL REVOLUTION, AGREEMENTS, MILITARY TRAINING, CONFLICT, HISTORY, GOVERNMENT(FOREIGN), REPRINTS, SECTARIAN VIOLENCE, USSR

Subject Categories : Government and Political Science
      Humanities and History
      Military Forces and Organizations
      Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE