“The growing threat of narcotics trafficking to the United States and Mexico will be high on the agenda today, along with other sensitive issues such as immigration and trade, when Mr. Clinton meets with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. Just last week, Mexican Attorney General Jorge Madrazo disbanded Mexico’s equivalent of the Drug Enforcement Administration in an acknowledgment that the organization was irreparably corrupt. He let go 1,200 employees. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright told Mr. Madrazo that Washington will give Mexico $6 million to help train a new force, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said. Department officials said Mexico received $2 million for training last year.” (Strobel, 1997)
But recent statistics on cross border drug trafficking reveals that funding measures such as these have not been very effective. Considering the sheer scale and penetration of the narcotics trade network, $ 6 million grant was inadequate. The new government, under the leadership of President Obama can learn from previous failures and allocate a more substantial grant for source nations. With the failure of traditional methods of combating drug trafficking, newer alternatives should be tried out. One such solution that is making rounds among policy makers is the decriminalization of drug trade. While it does appear to be a reasonable solution, its time has not yet come for implementation. In the meantime, source countries “can lower the toll of both drugs and the war on drugs by pursuing three strategies: embracing the concept of “harm reduction,” rehabilitating the cultivation and sale of coca, and creating a “coalition of the willing” to resist Washington’s simplistic prohibitionist paradigm” (Nadelmann, 2003).
Finally, if all the aforementioned strategies of combating drugs in source nations fail, military intervention measures can be considered. If a whole bloc of nations is involved in the sourcing of drugs then select regions can be targeted in order to break the narcotics supply chain. In such likelihood, the role of the United Nations should not be underestimated. It might be diplomatically convenient and hassle-free to take unilateral military actions against source nations, but gathering the support of the international community will pay dividends in the future. Hence, whatever strategy a nation adopts to combat drugs in source nations, it is always prudent to act with the backing of international majority consensus. This way there would be added pressure on source nations to control illegal activities within their borders. Also, the action (military or diplomatic) would have the added advantage of being recognized as a legitimate one, with the approval of the United Nations.
Nadelmann, Ethan. 2003. Addicted to Failure: It’s Time for Latin America to Start Breaking with Washington over the War on Drugs. Foreign Policy, July-August, 94+.
Petras, James. 2002. U.S. Offensive in Latin America: Coups, Retreats, and Radicalization. Monthly Review, May, 15+.
Strobel, Warren P. 1997. U.S. Promises $6 Million to Mexico to Fight Drugs: New Anti-Narcotics Force to Replace Corrupt One. The Washington Times, 6 May, 4.
Weinstein, Ian. 2003. Fifteen Years after the Federal Sentencing Revolution: How Mandatory Minimums Have Undermined Effective and Just Narcotics Sentencing. American Criminal Law Review 40, no. 1: 87+.
G. Serrano, The failing war on drugs in Mexico, retrieved on Monday, September 21, 2009, from <http://trendsupdates.com>
Drug Trafficking in the United States, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, posted on Added May, 2004 at <http://www.policyalmanac.org/crime/archive/drug_trafficking.shtml>