I do not want to make too much of it, but I like the subtle shift in tone I've been hearing about the "drug war" toward acknowledging the essential component of demand in the United States. Last November the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico said publicly that Mexico's cartel problem would not exist without that demand, even though the Bush administration was cutting drug treatment programs.
Now, however, the message seems to be spreading. From a March 5 State Department press briefing:
QUESTION: This is a follow-up to the State Department report on narcotics last week. AP interviewed Mexican President Calderon, and he shot back, saying that U.S. corruption is also to blame. He said that there are U.S. officials who should be prosecuted for corruption who aren’t. He also blamed the United States for not stopping the flow of weapons into Mexico. And finally, he says that there was not enough done to stop the consumption of drugs in this country. So just your reaction to his statements?
MR. DUGUID: I do believe that Ambassador Johnson was on the record speaking to many of these same issues in another context, and that the United States does recognize that we have a consumption problem and that we need to do – we need to do a lot to solve that problem or resolve that problem.
We will make so much more progress if that element becomes a core part of drug policy.