Monday, February 23, 2009

Right Next Door

¡Sorpresa! You thought the only action was in the Middle East? There's a lot going on in Mexico.

The Pentagon's Joint Forces Command names two countries that may suffer a "rapid and sudden collapse." One is Pakistan, and the other is Mexico.

Foreign Policy has a in depth look at Mexico’s surge in gang violence which left more than 5,300 dead in 2008. The brazen drug cartels have launched unprecedented campaigns using narcomantas (drug banners) vilifying the Mexican government.

The New York Times reports that the cartel's push to expand operations in the United States has led to a wave of kidnappings, shootings and home invasions in Arizona.

If we ever acknowledge that our war on drugs is not a war but a disastrous policy that funds terrorism, then we can begin the search for a better solution. The former presidents of three leading Latin American countries — César Gaviria of Colombia, Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil — recently voiced their opinion to the WSJ:
The revision of U.S.-inspired drug policies is urgent in light of the rising levels of violence and corruption associated with narcotics. The alarming power of the drug cartels is leading to a criminalization of politics and a politicization of crime. And the corruption of the judicial and political system is undermining the foundations of democracy in several Latin American countries.
Then they outline some of the rather obvious actions that must be taken:
In this spirit, we propose a paradigm shift in drug policies based on three guiding principles: Reduce the harm caused by drugs, decrease drug consumption through education, and aggressively combat organized crime. To translate this new paradigm into action we must start by changing the status of addicts from drug buyers in the illegal market to patients cared for by the public-health system.
Yeah, caring for drug users in our public-health system will really fly well with the wingnuts. No Sorpresa. Their solution will involve more security theater.

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