The Losing War

Plan Colombia and Beyond

By Jonathan D. Rosen

Subjects: Political Science, Latin American Studies, Conflict Resolution, History
Series: SUNY series, James N. Rosenau series in Global Politics
Paperback : 9781438452982, 200 pages, July 2015
Hardcover : 9781438452999, 200 pages, October 2014

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Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. The Colombian Puzzle in Historical Context
3. The Origins of Plan Colombia
4. Uribe and the Fusion of the War on Drugs with the War on Terrorism
5. Beyond Plan Colombia and Desecuritization
6. Desecuritizing Plan Colombia
7. Social Constructions of Colombia’s Anti-Drug Campaign: An Analysis of Speech Acts of 1998 to 2009
8. Analytic Conclusions and Policy Lessons From Plan Colombia
9. Back to the Future: The Unintended Consequences of the Partial Successes of the War on Drugs

Critical analysis of Plan Colombia, a multibillion dollar US counternarcotics initiative.


Plan Colombia was an ambitious, multibillion dollar program of American aid to the country of Colombia to fight that nation's recreational drug industry. First signed into law by President Clinton in 2000, the program would, over a twelve year period, provide the Colombian government with more money than every other country in the region. But how successful was Plan Colombia, and is it a model worthwhile in applying to other countries? In The Losing War, Jonathan D. Rosen applies international relations theory to understand how the goals and objectives of Plan Colombia evolved over time, particularly after the events of 9/11. Various individuals, including Álvaro Uribe, the president of Colombia from 2002–2010, and George W. Bush, argued that Plan Colombia should be used as a model to help other countries combat drug trafficking. Plan Colombia was not mentioned in the Obama administration's 2011 budget proposal and no longer exists today. Rosen concludes that the policy failed to make substantial inroads in curtailing drug cultivation, production, or trafficking, thus calling into question the value of applying the same strategy to other countries, such as Mexico, in the present or future.

Jonathan D. Rosen is Research Professor at the Universidad del Mar.


"…The Losing War provides a compelling evaluation of Plan Colombia from its inception in the late 1990s to current efforts by the United States to de-securitize the Colombian conflict … This book is a must read for policymakers, law enforcement and intelligence officials, and academics." — Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

"…a meaningful analysis of US foreign policy toward Colombia that will interest students of international relations and comparative politics." — CHOICE