U.S. Should Use Military Ties to Help Colombia Prepare for Peace

U.S. Should Use Military Ties to Help Colombia Prepare for Peace

“Colombia and the United States agree on so many different parts of our agenda today,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said during an Aug. 12 visit to Bogota. “And we have built a very, very strong relationship on shared values and on common interests.”

Kerry, Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah have expressed similar thoughts during recent visits to Colombia. Beyond the rhetoric, though, and at a time when Colombia could be on the verge of transitioning from civil war to peace, the diplomatic relationship is on autopilot.

High-level diplomatic dialogues between the U.S. and Colombia still occur about once a year, and the countries are implementing a free trade agreement approved in 2011. But with Washington’s focus on the Mideast and the “pivot to Asia,” assistance to the country that was once the world’s third-largest U.S. aid recipient continues to decline. Colombia now gets just more than half the aid it received in 2007.

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