The Security Dilemma by Proxy


The Security Dilemma by Proxy

Colombia, Venezuela, and FARC

Maria Camilla Pose Gaez, Yale-NUS College ‘17

(Initially published in YNUJ Volume 1, 2016)


There exists, beyond what international relations scholarship has defined as the security dilemma, a more complex interrelation of security competition: the security dilemma by proxy (SDBP). The SDBP logic poses that, to undermine a security threat against it, a state can fund or support another state’s pre-existing domestic conflict rather than directly engage in security competition. Intra-state conflict creates the conditions for a security dilemma between states but also provides a proxy through which the threatened state can limit the threatening state’s power without putting itself directly at risk—the proxy being the domestic security threat itself. Beyond the theoretical approach, this paper examines the complex relationship between Colombia, Venezuela, and FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, a left-wing guerrilla group), and argues that a security dilemma by proxy has been generated between the three actors.

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