The mindset is just so hard to uproot! Conor above does a great job pointing out what is a - mostly - excellent article by Dana Priest on Mexico's drug war, the article itself mentions the increased enforcement in Mexico with American aid driving significant deaths and violence with ZERO impact on quality or quantity of illegal narcotics:
What I can't help but remark upon is the way that it handles the spectacular failure of the War on Drugs. It notes "mounting criticism" that any success fighting cartel leaders has also helped to incite "more violence than anyone had predicted, more than 60,000 deaths and 25,000 disappearances in the past seven years alone." Put another way, the period of maximum American involvement has coincided with a horrific spike in drug-related violence.
"Meanwhile," Priest continues, "the drug flow into the United States continued unabated. Mexico remains the U.S. market's largest supplier of heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine and the transshipment point for 95 percent of its cocaine." So the strategy was high cost, low reward. It increased violence and did nothing to reduce the drug supply.
Yet the fact that it completely failed plays basically no role in the rest of the article, in large part because everyone in the United States government apparently wants to preserve the failed status quo. American officials are very upset that Mexico's new leader has decided to go his own way.
Look at the very next sentences:
No one had come up with a quick, realistic alternative to Calderon's novel use of the Mexican military with U.S. support. But stopping the cartel violence had become Peña Nieto's top priority during the campaign. The U.S. administration didn't know what that meant. Some feared a scaling back of the bilateral efforts and a willingness to trade the relentless drive against cartel leaders for calmer streets.
Does anyone else think that "a willingness to trade the relentless drive against cartel leaders for calmer streets" just might be "a quick, realistic alternative to Calderon's novel use of the Mexican military with U.S. support"? At the very least, it surely it doesn't make sense to presume, as the article seems to, that the obviously failed status quo is the most "realistic" way forward.
Sticking with it is arguably delusional. But that angle is seemingly never pursued. As ever, the utter failure of American drug policy is taken by the establishment as evidence that persisting is of even more importance. The policies the United States pursued in Mexico as part of our increased role there coincided with a huge uptick in violence and no reduction in the supply of Mexican drugs? By God, let's hope that the Mexicans don't decide to try something completely different!
Anyway, slight OT but still - I think was worthwhile posting to just illustrate how entrenched the Drug War mentality is even in articles taking full account of its measured futility...