The Spread Of Drugs As A World Problem

1472 words - 6 pages

There are many security threats facing nation states. The threat of international terrorism attract the most headlines and governments spend a lot of money to combat it. But there are so called "soft security" threats that if not dealt with lead to the strengthening of organized crime groups that wreak havoc on a society's security and economy. Three of the threats that challenge states today are the smuggling of drugs, arms trafficking, and illegal alien smuggling. In the United States, the porous border with Mexico has only made these threats more imminent. It is in the United States national security interest to implement an integrated solution to combat these security issues.
The drug trade continues to be a major problem for states across the globe. The war among the drug cartels and the government in Mexico is having a serious impact on security there. Some of the violence has even spilled onto the U.S border. As Mexico has begun to fight back throwing that country into chaos, the drug mafias have pushed down into Central America (Economist Aug. 14 2011). Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are now amongst the most violent places on earth, even more dangerous than most war zones (Economist Aug. 14. 2011). The drug trade fuels this violence and can cause a state to fail. The numbers are grim. The rate of killing in Guatemala and El Salvador is higher than that of their bloody civil wars (Economist April 14, 2011). According to Guatemala's government about 40 percent of murders are linked to the drug business (Economist April 14, 2011) and in Mexico the drug war has claimed more than 40,000 lives (Wyler 2011).
A recent report from the Global Commission on Drugs claims that the US led war on drugs is a massive and costly failure (Wyler 2011). The report argues that punitive drug policies have primarily resulted in the proliferation of organized crime, corruption, and mass criminalization, while failing to reduce illegal drug use (Wyler 2011). Some have even advocated the all out legalization of all drugs to take the market away from the cartels. This option has no viability for it would be political suicide for any politician that would advocate such a position. The Obama Administration claim that the war on drugs is working and in his 2010 budget The President has asked for $1.7 billion to help Mexico fight the cartels. This is an issue of important national security to the United States as the drug cartels are already operating within its borders. The Mexican drug cartels have put an enormous strain on the U.S criminal justice system, and law enforcement. In any given year there are 660,000 pounds of cocaine, 44,000 pounds of heroin, and 220,000 pounds of methamphetamine on U.S. streets (Mendoza,2011). A justice department study estimated the total cost of illicit drug use in the U.S. to be $193 billion a year (Mendoza 2011). This issue must be dealt with from the standpoint of it being a national security...

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