Advocates of generous U.S. military assistance to the Americas insist that such aid fosters military-to-military ties that:
- Promote respect for human rights, democratic values and the rule of law; and
- Build fluid channels of communication with military officers from those countries.
A key test for these assumptions would be Honduras. As it is the hemisphere’s fourth-largest feeder of students since 1998 to the School of the Americas and its successor, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, Honduras would be almost a model case.
Consider a just-published AP report based on a Sunday afternoon briefing with “two senior [U.S.] administration officials” speaking “on condition of anonymity.” Here is the response that concerned U.S. officials got from a military that it has invested heavily in training and equipping.
“[T]he U.S. told Honduran military leaders and other power players there that the United States and other nations in the Americas would not support a coup. They say Honduran military officials stopped taking their calls as the crisis unfolded.”
The argument that military aid guarantees “influence” has been put to the test, and has failed.