At the beginning of the 21st century neither the United States nor Canada has devoted a great deal of attention to Latin America and the Caribbean, even though the countries of the western hemisphere are increasingly interdependent with respect to political, economic, immigration, and humanitarian affairs. Although we have witnessed an encouraging wave of democratization in Latin America and the Caribbean, in some countries civil unrest, new forms of authoritarian populism driven by economic inequality, powerful drug cartels, and violent transnational criminal organizations are transforming security relations in the region. These developments pose new challenges to Canada and the United States.
In early 2008 the Harper government announced that Canada would develop a new “Americas Strategy” to coordinate Canada’s policies in the region. The new American administration has also hinted that it too may review its many policies in the western hemisphere. In these circumstances, therefore, it is appropriate that we look closely at security challenges and national and international security policies in the western hemisphere.
Distinguished scholars, military officers, diplomats, and officials from governments, non-governmental organizations, and international institutions met to discuss security challenges in the western hemisphere and Canadian and US military, police, and diplomatic strategies to address them. The conference was hosted and organized by Queen's Centre for International Relations (QCIR), and The Defence Management Studies Program at Queen's, together with the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College (USAWC), and the Canadian Land Forces Doctrine and Training System (LFDTS).
Four expert panels addressed the following themes: