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American Crossings

, 248 pages

1 line drawing, 2 maps

November 2015



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American Crossings

Border Politics in the Western Hemisphere

In summer 2014, US agencies responsible for the border with Mexico were overwhelmed by tens of thousands of unaccompanied children arriving from Central America. Unprepared to address this unexpected kind of migrant, the US government deployed troops to carry out a new border mission: the feeding, care, and housing of this wave of children.

This event highlights the complex social, economic, and political issues that arise along borders. In American Crossings, nine scholars consider the complicated modern history of borders in the Western Hemisphere, examining borders as geopolitical boundaries, key locations for internal security, spaces for international trade, and areas where national and community identities are defined.

Among the provocative questions raised are: Why are Peru and Chile inclined to legalize territory disputes through the International Court of Justice, undermining their militaries? Why has economic integration in the "Tri-Border Area" of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay increased illicit trade supporting transnational terrorist groups? And how has a weak Ecuadorian presence at the Ecuador−Colombia border encouraged Colombian guerrillas to enforce the international borderline?

Maiah Jaskoski is assistant professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University and author of Military Politics and Democracy in the Andes. Arturo C. Sotomayor is associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Geography at the University of Texas at San Antonio and author of The Myth of the Democratic Peacekeeper: Civil-Military Relations and the United Nations. Harold A. Trinkunas is director of the Latin America Initiative at The Brookings Institution and author of Crafting Civilian Control of the Military in Venezuela: A Comparative Perspective.

"An original, straightforward analysis of the various functions that borders play, this book is a theoretically fascinating treatment of a significant subject."

" American Crossings provides a fascinating account of the politics and economics of borders in the Western Hemisphere. Borders are no longer simple territorial lines to defend militarily, but viewed as sites for a peculiar mix of conflict and cooperation, enhanced vigilance and openness, and licit and illicit transactions. Written in an accessible style, this book should have broad appeal to Latin Americanists, IR specialists, and all those interested in the enduring role territorial boundaries play in shaping the behavior of states and non-state actors alike."

"This is a rich and eclectic collection of essays that speak to themes of geopolitics, border security policies, and illicit activities in border regions of the Americas. If you think globalization has straightforward consequences on the ground, these essays will cause you to think again. Peaceful illicit transactions, new barriers among liberalizing states, political conflict but increasing transborder trade are all counterintuitive outcomes explored in these pages. The editors have encouraged the authors to explore a rich range of topics and the result is an intriguing set of essays tied together by themes of globalization, territoriality and borders regions. A stimulating read!"

" American Crossings intelligently considers why Latin America is a region substantially at peace with itself."

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