Frédéric Massé

The conflict in Colombia has, in the space of a few years, become a real headache for the United States as well as for Europe. Countless human rights violations, forced population displacement, drug trafficking and terrorism make Colombia a textbook case for examining the entire range of security problems today. With the launching of Plan Colombia in 1999, the United States considerably increased its aid to the country. Today, the American administration actively supports Alvaro Uribe’s government in its fight against guerilla movements, labeled “narcoterrorists,” and rumors of armed intervention regularly resurface. Having long remained on the sidelines of the “Colombian tragedy,” Europe seems to be relegated to playing second fiddle. The military option represented by Plan Colombia had opened up a political spaced that the Europeans began to occupy. But with the break-off of peace negotiations, this space has shrunk and has maybe even disappeared for good. In the face of American efforts to monopolize management of the Colombian conflict, it is in fact hard to see how the European Union can return to the forefront in this area of the world that remains the United States’ preserve. All the more so since virtually no voices can be heard asking the Europeans to counterbalance the United States. The situation in Colombia is a new illustration of the state of U.S.-European relations today, between competition, a search for complementarity and a mutual lack of understanding.

Emmanuelle Le Texier

Since the early nineteen-eighties, the new political visibility of Latinos has been referred to as the awakening of a “sleeping giant.” Their increased political expression, be it in the form of protest action during civil rights movements or electoral participation, marks a turning point in the integration of Hispanics in the American public sphere. With a growing number of voters, candidates and elected officials, Latinos have emerged on the political scene. The increasingly influential role of pan-ethnic interest groups and new opportunities for political participation created by the development of transnational networks have contributed to the elaboration of this new participative framework. Yet their electoral and political influence remains below the demographic, economic, social and cultural importance of these some 35 million individuals who make up over 12 percent of the U.S. population. Most of the minority groups still encounter major obstacles to political access. These are partly structural, but also internal to the group: not only is it divided over domestic or foreign issues, it is fragmented by national origin, status and generation. The singular nature of immigration from Latin America, the continuity of migratory flows and their diversity, all constantly rekindle divergences over what strategy Latinos should adopt for participating in the public debate. They also highlight the fictional, both functional and dysfunction, nature of ethnic categorization in the United States. The ethnic card may be an instrument of participation, but it can also prove to seriously fetter minorities’ entry into politics.

David P. Calleo

What are the challenges facing the European Union with the end of the Cold War ? Will the Union be able to meet them ? What links should it maintain with the United States ? What type of relations should be established with Russia ? 
The stakes are high: nothing less than international stability and world harmony in the next century. The challenges are of various kinds encompassing political, security, economic and institutional issues. In the first part of this study, the author analyses these challenges and argues for a European approach rid of the more unrealistic federalist ideas. In a second section he examines those states that will play major roles in Europe's future: Germany and France, within the EU, and, outside it, Russia and the United States. In doing so he attempts to evaluate Europe's ability to rise to the occasion.

Zaki Laïdi

The widely held perception of a growing gap between the US significant political resources (enhanced even further by the collapse of the Soviet Union) and its economic weakening brings up the question of the nature of American power. Did it or did it not change, particularly since 1985, from a hegemonic power, that is a power able to make economic and financial sacrifices in favor of privileged allies, to a predator one, that is an actor maximizing its political resources to have others partially pay for its economic decline? Examining that question essentially from an economic perspective, looking closely at the relations between the US and the newly industrialized countries in Asia and Latin America, Zaki Laïdi concludes that the US, in spite of a much stronger willingness to utilize its power, cannot be defined as a "predator".