The purpose of this study is to determine whether the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) plays a role in facilitating multilateral security mechanisms among its members. The central question of this work asks whether regional integration results in the establishment of cooperative security mechanisms.
The dependent variable involves multilateral security initiatives within the MERCOSUR, in the present context of inter-American relations. The independent variables include regional transitions to democracy, the regional strategic consequences of the ending of the Cold War, and regional integration experiments. This work departs from the stated central question to the particular case of international involvement in the Paraguayan political crises of 1996 and 1999. The active intervention of Paraguay's largest MERCOSUR partners, Brazil and Argentina, in the course of these developments is analyzed.
The evidence demonstrates that economic integration does not necessarily result in the establishment of formal cooperative security mechanisms. In the present context of inter-American relations, however, there exists a tendency toward multilateral regional responses to internal threats to democracy as witnessed in the Paraguayan case. This project shows that membership in a regional economic organization, as seen by the ASEAN, European Union and MERCOSUR, enhances the establishment of common security measures.