Operation Just Cause

analytical Essay
1280 words
1280 words

Observing the political path of Manuel Noriega from being a paid CIA operative and ally of the American government, to military governor of Panama, to ousted dictator, to convicted American prisoner, exposes a series of political interactions that culminated in Operation Just Cause on December 20, 1989. Coming in the shadow of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and preceding Operation Desert Storm, this brief military action is often overshadowed by the other world conflicts of the time. How does a county the size of America justify invasion of the tiny Panamanian isthmus? How does a dictator such as Manuel Noriega justify declaring war on the United States. Given the great disparity between these two nations, understanding these questions can help interpret their nature. In order to answer these questions, the events leading up to the violent confrontation help establish each nations’ political position and offer insight into their own justifications to engage in military action. The realist and Marxist political perspective theories can be used by analyzing and different levels the justification of armed action involving these two nations.

Throughout the 1970s and early 80s, Manuel Noriega was an asset to the United States as he worked closely with the Central Intelligence Agency (The Associated Press). As Noriega’s political strength increased in the early 80s, so did the tensions with the Reagan Administration. These increased tensions led to increasing encounters between Noriega’s Panama Defense Forces and American servicemen and civilians stationed in Panama (Phillips). According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, “there were over 300 incidences of U.S. military personnel and family members' having experienced...

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...including removing Noriega and his regime from power and re-establishing a democratic government, which may be justifiable from an American perspective, however the 20,000 displaced Panamanian citizens may not concur (Phillips). So justification is subjective only to one’s perspective.

Works Cited

Mingst, Karen A. Essentials of International Relations. New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2008.

Operation Just Cause. 06 April 2012 .

Phillips, R. Cody. "Operation Just Cause: The Incursion into Panama." 1990.

Rosenthal, Andrew. "The Attack: U.S. Troops Gain Wide Control in Panama." The New York Times 21 December 1989.

The Associated Press. Key dates for ex-Panama dictator Manuel Noriega. 27 April 2010. 7 April 2012 .

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that military leaders changed the name of operation just cause because they thought it appeared facile and did not describe the essence of the military operation.
  • Explains mingst, karen a. essentials of international relations. new york : w.w. norton & co.
  • Analyzes the political path of manuel noriega from being a paid cia operative to military governor of panama, to ousted dictator, and convicted american prisoner.
  • Argues that operation just cause had more radical theories behind from the american perspective. the panama canal is critical to the support of the united states economy.
  • Cites rosenthal, andrew, and the associated press. key dates for ex-panama dictator manuel noriega.
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