Brown, Timothy C(harles) 1938-

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BROWN, Timothy C(harles) 1938-


Born June 9, 1938, in Anthony, KS; son of Gilbert E. (a minister of religion) and Frances (Shaw) Brown; married Leda Moraima Zúñniga Fernandez, September 11, 1958; children: Barbara Brown Peterson, Rebecca Zúñniga-Brown, Tamara E. Brown-Janick, Timothy Patrick Zúñniga-Brown. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of Nevada, B.A., 1965; Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. State Department, M.A., 1974; New Mexico State University, Ph.D., 1997. Politics: "Non-partisan" Religion: Pentecostal Protestant. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, languages.


Office—Office of International Studies, Sierra Nevada College, Incline Village, NV 89451; Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. Agent—c/o University of Oklahoma Press, 1005 Asp Ave., Norman, OK 73019. E-mail—[email protected].


Began career with U.S. Foreign Service, Department of State, 1965, and served in Israel, Spain, Vietnam, Mexico, France, and other nations; desk officer for Paraguay and Uruguay, 1978-80; desk officer for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, International Energy Agency, and European Community, 1980-81; deputy coordinator for Cuban affairs, Washington, DC, 1981-83; consul general in Martinique, 1983-87; senior liaison in Nicaragua, 1987-90; member of United Nations Cease-Fire Observation Force, 1989-90; New Mexico Development Institute, member of faculty, 1990-94; Border Research Institute, New Mexico State University, senior fellow, 1992-94; Hoover Institution, Stanford University, research fellow, 1994—; University of Nevada, Reno, adjunct professor, 1999—; Sierra Nevada College, chair of international studies, 2000—. Also served economic advisor to North Atlantic Treaty Organization, 1980-83. Military service: U.S. Marine Corps, 1954-64; served as Thai interpreter, Southeast Asia analyst, and posted to Central America; received from U.S. Department of State two Superior Honor Medals, Distinguished Honor Medal, two Meritorious Honor Medals, and Distinguished Service Award; received from U.S. Marine Corps two Meritorious commendations, two Campaign Medals, and additional honors.


Foreign Policy Association Editor's Pick, 2000, for When the AK-47s Fall Silent, and 2003, for The Real Contra War; Commendation, U.N. International Peacekeeping Observer Force; named honorary comandante, Nicaraguan Democratic Resistance.


The Causes of Continuing Conflict in Nicaragua: A View from Radical Middle, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace (Stanford, CA), 1995.

(Editor and translator) When the AK-47s Fall Silent: Revolutionaries, Guerrillas, and the Dangers of Peace, foreword by Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, Hoover Institution Press (Stanford, CA), 2000.

The Real Contra War: Highlander Peasant Resistance in Nicaragua, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 2001.

Contributor to Wall Street Journal, Policy Studies Review, and Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, among other publications.


A book on the internal organization of terrorist groups titled Terror Incorporated;research into organized armed political violence as described by former revolutionaries, terrorists, and guerrillas.


Since turning sixteen, Timothy C. Brown has had three distinctive careers involving international affairs, including ten years as a U.S. Marine, twenty-seven years as a diplomat, and eleven years as an academic and researcher. Twenty-nine of these years were served abroad, including Marine assignments in three countries and diplomatic assignments in eleven, spanning four continents. During most of those years Brown was subjected to terrorist threats from bombings and assassination attempts to involvement in armed conflicts, including the Vietnam War, the Thai Seri rebellion in northeast Thailand, Huk guerrilla warfare in the Philippines, the Sgt. Brunswyk uprising in Suriname from French Guiana, and Nicaragua's Contra War. These experiences have formed the primary foundation of his personal interests, concerns, research, and writing since he became an academic and professional researcher in 1992. Brown's published work draws heavily on his experiences and on contacts made during those years among former revolutionaries, terrorists, guerrillas, and government experts, and he concentrates on revealing the underlying causes of armed conflicts and how to resolve them.

As a Marine non-commissioned officer, Brown was posted to Nicaragua where he learned Spanish. He then went on to serve in the Fleet Marine Corps, Pacific after learning Thai at the Army Language School, and worked as an analyst of insurgency movements throughout Southeast Asia. Brown was a ten-year Marine Corps veteran by the time he graduated from the University of Nevada in 1965 and became an officer in the U.S. Foreign Service. He went on to serve as a Department of State diplomat for twenty-seven years. In 1987 Brown was named the State Department's senior liaison to the Resistencia Democratica Nicaraguense, popularly known as the Contras, a U.S.-supported insurgency movement battling to unseat Nicaragua's Marxist revolutionary government. In 1992 Brown retired from the Foreign Service and returned to school, earning a Ph.D. in political science, history, economics, and political psychology from New Mexico State University in 1997. He then returned home to Nevada and became the chair of international studies at Sierra Nevada College at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where he is building a diplomatic academy.

Brown's three books focus on revolutionary violence and guerrilla warfare, and are based largely on the internal strife that plagued Central America from the 1950s through the 1980s. During his career Brown cultivated a wealth of contacts and expertise which he later mined for his published political analyses. His final overseas diplomatic assignment as senior liaison officer to the Nicaraguan Contras from 1987 to 1990, came during an unusually contentious period in U.S. foreign policy relations in the region. Many Americans were passionate in their support for the Nicaraguan Contras while others were equally passionate in their opposition to them and especially to U.S. support for the Contras via the Central Intelligence Agency. In his first book, The Causes of Continuing Conflict in Nicaragua: A View from Radical Middle, written after he left the Foreign Service and entered academe, Brown builds on his experience and subsequent research to explain that the Nicaraguan Contras were largely composed of Segovian central highlands peasants who took up arms against the Sandinista revolutionary government when it began a program of collectivization of their private farmlands and appropriating their crops and livestock.

In his second book, The Real Contra War: Highlander Peasant Resistance in Nicaragua, he directly challenges the conventional wisdom that the U.S. government, under President Ronald Reagan, instigated the Contra-Sandinista war in order to prevent communism from gaining a foothold in Central America. In addition to providing evidence that the first U.S. government approaches to the Contras actually took place during the Carter administration, Brown provides statistics to show that the Contras were indeed a mass popular movement whose resistance to the Sandinistas predated even this official U.S. involvement. He also explains Nicaraguan politics and history, pointing out that Contra rebels were from a region of the country with a tradition of resisting outsiders that dates from before the Spanish Conquest. "Brown makes the point that from both a geographic and ethnological point of view the Contra war was merely an extension of longer struggles in Nicaraguan history," wrote Mark Falcoff in a World and I review.

In writing The Real Contra War Brown interviewed several hundred former Contras, was given full access to their surviving archives, and used many recently declassified documents from U.S. government sources, some of which he himself had written while in government service. "The picture that emerges is vivid, detailed, and wholly at variance with the 'official' version," noted Falcoff. Only after 1986, when it was revealed that some American officials had been illegally selling arms to Iran in order to fund the Contra effort, did U.S. involvement wind down. The war ostensibly ended in 1990 with the election of president Violeta Chamorro and the defeat of the Sandinistas, but Chamorro was criticized for entering into a power-sharing arrangement with the vanquished. An official demobilization effort by the Organization of American States inadvertently provided some of the data that substantiates Brown's claims, revealing that the Contra army and its supporters were much larger than originally assumed, and had not diminished with the end of U.S. aid in 1987. "Brown makes an interesting case, but also neglects certain issues," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer, citing human-rights abuses that occurred on both sides of the conflict. Library Journal critic James R. Holmes found Brown's tome a "meticulously researched work [that] promises to transform the historiography of the Contras' war."

Brown's third book, of which he is sole investigator, editor, and translator, is When the AK-47s Fall Silent: Revolutionaries, Guerrillas, and the Dangers of Peace. The volume collects the observations of participants in violent armed political movements in both Nicaragua and other parts of Latin America in the late twentieth century. The twelve essayists included several former leading communist revolutionaries from Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, five former Nicaraguan Contras, a woman commando, and international peacemakers. These life-stories reveal how peace can emerge from war by documenting the personal transformations of once-violent armed revolutionaries, guerrillas, and terrorists into participants in the democratic processes within their respective countries. Brown includes analyses by international peacemakers who helped these individuals make their transitions. Leftist Mexican presidential candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, a lifelong advocate of peaceful revolutionary change, contributed the foreword. The result is an unusual study that the Foreign Policy Association recommended as 'must' reading.

Brown's ongoing research and writing continues to be concentrated on better understanding what causes armed violence war because he considers gaining knowledge to be a condition precedent to building peace. Both When the AK-47s Fall Silent and The Real Contra War were two of only four books published about Latin America after 1997 that were recommended by the Foreign Policy Association.



Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2001, review of The Real Contra War, p. 157.

Library Journal, March 15, 2001, James R. Holmes, review of The Real Contra War, p. 96.

Perspectives on Political Science, summer, 2002 Patrick D. Bernardo, review of The Real Contra War, p. 180.

Publishers Weekly, February 12, 2001, review of The Real Contra War, p. 197.

World and I, July, 2001, Mark Falcoff, "The War the Media Missed."*