Robert Kaplan has suggested that America employ elsewhere the same “stealth imperialism” tactics as are being used to combat drugs and guerrillas in Colombia. In fact, decades of U.S. efforts there have achieved little. The real lessons to be learned from Colombia are the perils of relying on flawed assumptions about the threat presented; the difficulties of creating and training a military capable of achieving U.S. objectives; and the risk of mistaking symbols, signals, and credibility for core U.S. interests. Moreover, in both regions, policymakers often fail to understand the fundamental sources of the conflict, particularly class, ethnicity, and nationalism. They incorrectly believe that U.S. policy has nothing to do with the continuation of the conflict and presume U.S. omnipotence.