The Backyard Balkans

Colombia's President isn't only fighting drug lords, he's also struggling to hold his country together

Despite its violent drug cartels, Colombia has been regarded by most Americans as something less than a national security threat. But today Americans have to consider what might be called Yugo-lombia, the possibility that the country could soon be cleaved into three volatile, Balkan-like states as a result of a boiling 34-year-old civil war. Much of the north is already ruled by right-wing paramilitary groups that are notorious drug traffickers. A dysfunctional federal government and a feckless military cling to the nation's urban midsection. And more than 20,000 Marxist guerrillas lord over the vast south, where they control Colombia's borders, make...

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