Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shifting the drug war

I'm not really sure what to do with all this sanity after the U.S. and Mexico had high-level meetings to discuss dealing with drug trafficking violence:

Responding to a growing sense that Mexico's military-led fight against drug traffickers is not gaining ground, the United States and Mexico set their counternarcotics strategy on a new course on Tuesday by refocusing their efforts on strengthening civilian law enforcement institutions and rebuilding communities crippled by poverty and crime. 

Wait a minute.  We put in a policy, see that it is not functioning well, so then we change it rather than keep it going for a decade while saying it works just fine?  Something must be wrong here.

Under the new strategy, officials said, American and Mexican agencies would work together to refocus border enforcement efforts away from building a better wall to creating systems that would allow goods and people to be screened before they reach the crossing points. The plan would also provide support for Mexican programs intended to strengthen communities where socioeconomic hardships force many young people into crime. 

Less military, more focus on the socio-economic conditions that help fuel poverty?  That's crazy talk.  A comprehensive approach that centers on communities?  No way.

If I'm not careful I might actually get optimistic.


Steven Taylor 10:30 AM  

If I'm not careful I might actually get optimistic

Slow down, amigo. Let's not get crazy, because the odds are that they will keep screwing it all up.

Justin Delacour 1:26 PM  

I certainly agree that the U.S. has gone about the "drug war" all wrong, but to assume that the "drug war" has been a failure is to assume that its primary purpose is to fight drugs. I have serious doubts that that's the primary purpose.

There are a lot of bureaucratic interests and ulterior motives behind the way that the so-called "drug war" has been fought. If the two major purposes of the "drug war" are to (1) provide a pretext for U.S. intervention in the region and (2) direct resources to particular bureaucracies and contractors, it's not clear at all that the "drug war" has been a failure from the perspective of its sponsors.

That's the problem that you're up against, I think.

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