When 9/11 occurred, the United States’ idea of security was focused on terrorist attacks and economic repercussions. Smaller states in Central and South America and the Caribbean felt as though they were facing a very different kind of threat: an existential one.
During a lecture sponsored by The Institute of World Politics Alumni Association on March 14, Dr. Clark Crook-Castan made the above points, and further noted that he was told by Caribbean members of the Organization of American States that: “Security for us is not defined by terrorists. For us, security is hunger. Security is poverty. Security is economic collapse. Security is sea levels rising.”
Dr. Crook-Castan also talked about how American states are becoming even closer. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has made North America a veritable single country, economically speaking. Trade hovers around 2 billion U.S. dollars every day, and 2 million people legally cross the Mexican – U.S. border every day. In 2005, the U.S. signed the Central American Free Trade Agreement, thus bringing Central America and the Dominican Republic into closer ties with the U.S. and North America.
Dr. Clark Crook-Castan is a retired U.S. Diplomat who served as Alternate Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States. He is an adjunct professor at American University’s School of International Service.