With the exception of the Middle East Meltdown, no military conflict in recent history shaped the current events of the world political climate as heavily as the two wars fought by the United States against their neighbors to the south.


Beginning with the Reagan administrations declaration of war on drugs the U.S. had been quietly involved in numerous political and military actions across Central and South America.  Of course he same administration that was openly condemning the drug trade, was covertly making millions off it.  The Gang of Four (CIA, NSA, FBI, and DEA) was using money from their own secretly backed cartels to fund all manner of black bag operations and using their influence to set up their own pocket governments in the region.  When the Iran-Contra situation came to light in the late 80's, the United States was caught with their pants down.  As investigations and hearings began to dig deeper and deeper, the president, at the behest of the Gang of Four, was forced to step up their overt actions against the drug lords of Central and South America.  The Gang Of Fours power structure was dangerously close to being discovered and striped away.  Then in 1989, their fortune changed.  Noriega, once a strong U.S. ally had fallen from American favor over his role in the Iran-Contra scandal.  Paranoid, deposed, and with rumors of CIA assassins gunning for him, Noriega staged a coup, eliminating the  newly elected president and seizing control of the Panama Canal.  This was all the excuse the Gang of Four needed, and they convinced the administration that a full scale invasion was necessary.  

This event was the beginning of the Central American Conflict, and served as the perfect diversion to the Gang Of Four's activities, not only in that in kept the attention of the media and the American public fully focused on the conflict itself, but it also opened the flood gates for funding, CIA, NSA, FBI, and DEA operations were given near unlimited approval for anything they desired, most of the time with little questions asked.  Political maneuvering and fast talk under the guise of "national security in the face of imminent threat" and "desperate measures taken to defend the safety and sanctity of the nation".  Any questions asked were labeled as unpatriotic, and those asking the questions were silenced as sympathetic to the enemy whose drugs were destroying the nations children.

Officially a Police Action, the United States Armed Forces invaded Panama full force to remove Noriega and liberate the canal.  They quickly discovered resistance was much greater than they expected.  Noriegas forces were supplied and supported by powerful Drug Cartels eager to strike back at the United States.  This was all the excuse the United States needed to escalate  its action, expanding its invasion into Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador in attempt to liberate them from their "dangerous Cartel influences."  Funding was pouring in, the Gang Of Four was operating on a level they had not known since the days of Air America in Vietnam.

Then the DEA outsmarted itself.  They developed virus designed to specifically target and wipe out the Coca plant.  They released the virus and in short time the Coca plant was nearly wiped off the face of the earth.  Faced with victory within their grasp, the United States Military stepped up it's attack.  They were on the verge of complete control of the region and the complete destruction of the Drug Cartels.  Then tragedy struck in the form of a one two punch that would not only end the conflict, but cripple the United States for years.

In retaliation for the near eradication of the coca crops, and the CIA assassination of Medellin cartel leader Pablo Escobar, Colombian terrorists smuggle a briefcase nuke into New York and Detonate it in the center of Manhattan just before Christmas.  The effect is devastating.  This event, with the loss of the New York Stock Exchange, The World Trade Center, and U.N. headquarters, starts a ripple effect that spreads across the world. Within days the entire world is thrown into an economic crash.  In the U.S. the economy staggers, then collapses.  America valiantly tries to soldier on, but begins pulling out of Central and South America slowly until 1996, when America itself collapses completely.  The final troops are pulled out and immediately redeployed across the United States as martial law is imposed nationwide by a powerless government.

With the exception of the invasion of Panama, the beginning stages of the Central American Conflict can best be described as "low intensity conflict", with U.S. advisors working with local forces, and U.S. troops acting in concert to support local militaries.  While the media reported they were acting as liberators, tehy were nearly universally hated by people of the countries they found themselves fighting in.  In most of the Central and South America, the entire economy was dependent and built around the drug trade.  Virtually every man woman and child in the regions were connected in to cocaine in way or another for their livelyhood, and the U.S. was there trying to destroy them.  When they succeeded in wiping out the coca plant, most of the countries in the region were left completely bankrupt. With the nearly the entire civilian population against them the United States Forces were faced with insurgent forces the likes of which hadn't been seen since Vietnam.  And the similarities between the two wars was quickly pointed out by the media, U.S. military forces were winning every battle, but losing the war as the enemy appeared from nowhere, struck hard, then vanished in the dust.  However as the war went on, new technological innovations, particularly the development of the Aerodyne and new smart weapons, were turning the tide.  Unfortunately, the soldier on the ground was poorly equipped, his assault rifle was prone to jamming and malfunction if not kept meticulously clean, the armor could not follow the enemy through the dense jungles of the rainforest.  Plus, the Cartels were being covertly backed by the EDF, in a cunning move definitive of the U.S. - EEC quiet war.

Everyone has a different opinion on the outcome of the War, militarily the U.S. clearly came out ahead, but the Cartel forces in south america were not eliminated, and their final blow was the one that ended the war.  Because of the pre-mature end of the war, the Cartel forces were free to quickly, with the aid of covert EEC funding, genetically engineer a new, more potent, strand of Coca plant, one that was completely virus resistant and would be far easier to grow.  While the rest of the world suffered through the collapse, the Cartels, now unified under the banner of the South American Alliance, grew in power and influence as the drug trade exploded larger than every before.


Slowly the economy recovered.  During the martial law period coming out of the collapse, for many, military service was the only steady and reliable employment to be had, it was also the safest.  Enlistment skyrocketed.  With the newly formed MIC (Military Intelligence Cooperative) beginning to look a little deeper into the shadows of the intelligence communities activities, once again the Gang of Four was up to its old tricks to push attention elsewhere.  Fueled by corporate interests, particularly agricultural and oil industries eager to sieze and exploit the fertile soil and other resources.  The push began in the new administration to finish what they had started in Central and South America.  With drugs flowing into the streets in larger quantity than ever before.  In addition, the people of America were bitter and calling for revenge for the nuking of New York.  The fires of this sentiment were fanned to an inferno by governmnet controlled media.  In the time since the last war, Ecuador had been invaded by SAA allied Peru, and Venezuela had erupted into civil war.  The excuse was there and the U.S. has all the excuse it needed to strike.

In the largest deployment of American troops since World War two, the U.S. invaded Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.  The United States had clear advantage military and technologically.  Cybernetics become a reality, and the cybertech advancement is given high priority.  Again the U.S. pours money into the military machine without any sense of moderation.  Aerodynes are a fuly implemented technology by this point, and within three years full cyberlimbs are being implanted in soldiers, allowing the military to throw the soldiers implanted with them back into the fire.

The war is brutal, but very quickly the United States forces were able to liberate Ecuador, one of the few countries whose citizens were not only glad to see them, but took up arms in support.  Venezuela was similiarly brought under heel.  In other parts of the region, things were much different.  While Peruvian forces were pushed out of Ecuador, they were strong and well supplied in their home country.   Like the other SAA allied forces, they were supplied with Russian, Chinese, and EDF arms and equipment, as well as rumored heavy funding from the EEC and European corporations.  Colombia of course, was always the main target.  They were the ones responsible for the nuking of Manhattan, they were the ones who developed the virus resistant cocaine dubbed "synthcoke" by the media, and they were the founder and lynchpin of the South American Alliance, and the United States threw everything they could at them.  As the war raged on, once more troubles at home began to further drain a budget already stretched to the breaking point.  The emergence of the Wasting Plague, widespread riots, the Philadelphia nuclear accident and other disasters were all beginning leading to an inevitable conclusion.  In addition, Bolivia had joined the SAA, bringing even greater resistance to bear on United States forces.  Finally the U.S. economy could be stretched no further, and it again, it collapsed completely.  The Main Military force was pulled out of Central and South America almost overnight, and almost completely.  Almost, because in a move that will forever shame and stain the United States Military and Government, the hundreds of thousands of American civilian contractors that had been brought in to support the forces and rebuild the reclaimed areas were left behind, along with hundreds of military personnel deployed too deep in the field to be evacuated.  They were simply abandoned.  Well, those that survived anyway.  The vast majority of those left behind were completely unprepared and unprotected, many completely unaware they were even left behind.  In the first few days of the pullout, most of them were killed, dragged out of their homes and beaten to death or simply executed.  Reports of the atrocities visited on them were too horrible to detail here.  Those that did survive the initial days were left to fend for themselves, they underwent the treacherous journey known as the "Long Walk" to get home.

The Second South American War was very similar to the previous conflict in that again the technologically and physically superior forces of the United States were again fighting an enemy of irregular forces who would rarely stand and fight, and who melted into the civilian population and the surrounding jungle like ghosts.  Again the U.S. forces would win most of the battles, but the war itself was a stalemate with little ground lost or gained.  This war was different though, unlike the first conflict, the Armed Forces had unprecedented support from home, not since World War II had the American people been so ready and willing to fight.  The loss of New York to Colombian terrorists was a harsh blow indeed, Manhattan became th
e new Alamo, and the sentiment for revenge and retribution was fervent in even the most hardcore liberals.  In short, the American people were out for blood.  The threat posed by the massive influx of drugs was all but forgotten in the fever pitch for payback, which meant the corporations and the Gang Of Four could operate freely with little questions asked.  However as the war dragged on with.  It was a naked land-grab for the corporations, as they moved in, making lucrative deals even in hostile countries, buying up huge tracts of land and setting long term contracts for pennies on the dollar.  Aerodynes proved far more effective in this war as well, their superior maneuverability,armor, and stability, afforded them far more access to the battlefield than helicopters ever could.  Cybernetics allowed soldiers to stay in the fight longer, but the unfortunate side story to that is at the time they were not aware of the psychotic disorder over cyberization caused due to neural synapse overload and biological rejection.  Numerous stories abound of cybered soldiers going berserk, killing enemy, ally and civilian alike in bloody rages.  There are even instances of the military purposely bringing about cyberpsychotic states in soldiers, replacing even healthy limbs and organs, and unleashing them just to see what would happen.  Rumors persist that some of these hapless test subjects were left behind in the pull out, still stalking the deep jungles, murderous psychopaths who have gone feral.  Early powered armor, giant clunky units, were first deployed here, but met with little success and only have a vague resemblance to even the most low end of current models.  Of course the enemy was much better equipped and organized this time around as well, the South American Alliance had years to prepare, and with funding from the EEC and supplies and support from Russia and China, they were an entirely new beast to contend with.

This time however, there was no dispute over the victor, with the American pullout viewed worldwide as a loss.  Furthermore their abandonment of their own people painted them as cowards and betrayers.  Not that it was entirely the Military or governments fault.  Had the Gang Of Four been more concerned with objectives and less concerned with private and corporate interests or covering their own asses from the growing MIC investigations, the outcome may have been different.  As it was however, even the Americans had to concede the obvious, they were defeated.  Not by the enemy so much as by themselves through zealous overspending and corruption.

With the Third South American war inevitable on the horizon, the United States simply cannot afford to lose.  It is hoped that they have learned the harsh lessons taught them in the first two conflicts in the region.  Support for this war is low, and the betrayal of  "The Long Walk" has left a stigma that severely hampers enlistment.  But in this instance, with the closing of the Panama Canal, the United States has little choice, all negotiations have failed.  The spin doctors have once again tried to drum up support and enlistment number with the revenge angle, to limited success, but more than ever before the U.S. will be resorting to alternative methods to fill their ranks.  Militech and Lazarus
have both been hired, with open ended contracts for duty in Central and South America actively supporting U.S. troops and interests, and in a controversial move, the United States Inmate Penal Corps has been formed, with entire prison populations being culled for military duty in exchange for reduced sentences.  The IPC troops are to fight alongside standard military units, making many in the military rightfully nervous.  Armed and convicted murderers, rapists, and other violent offenders being sent to war has everyone watching the situation very closely and has already drawn protests from numerous human rights and legal groups.  Enlistment standards have been lowered so drastically, that the borderline mentally handicapped can join.  The entire situation grows more tense by the minute. 

The South American Alliance has grown as well  in the years following the last war.  Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Nicaragua Guatemala, Haiti, and the Islas De La Sangre all now officially members and Venezuela, Chile, and El Salvador
being actively negotiated with.  The SAA are also strongly trying to recruit the ICMF into their alliance.  With the ICMF being the only listed target of U.S. invasion at the moment, it is only the bitter memories of Cartel atrocities during the Long Walk that have kept the ICMF from joining, but in the face of inevitable invasion they are running out of alternatives, even with the heavy European funding and supplies.

To add further complications, the increased EDF presence in the Falklands, Argentina, French Guiana,  and in the Caribbean, as well as Russian troops in El Salvador and Chinese troops in Peru, are all setting the stage for possible global conflict if the situation is not handled with extreme care by all parties involved.

Written by Deric Bernier, images from Recon 2020, Killzone, and various other sources.