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Intelligence and the War on Drugs - Assignment Example

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The author of the "Intelligence and the War on Drugs" paper presents the reasons why the U.S.A. must stay engaged with Mexico in the War on Drugs. The author of the paper also identifies how can foreign governments be convinced to combat narcotics in the source nations. …
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Intelligence and the War on Drugs
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Download file to see previous pages When the Ronald Reagan Administration initiated its famous War on Drugs program in the 1980s with the catchy slogan “Just Say No”, the focus of the program was not exclusively Mexico. At that time, different pockets of Latin America posed threats of varying degrees, including Columbia and Brazil. But due to its proximity to the United States, and the increase in demand for cocaine and marijuana, Mexico has emerged as the greatest threat in recent decades. Compounding the problem of drug trafficking is the internal political chaos in Mexico. The Mexican governments of past and present have tried various methods and tactics for bringing the drug cartels under control but to no avail. It is a reflection of the governments' inability to reign in the drug cartels that policymakers in Mexico are resorting to radical alternatives. For example, some policymakers are pushing their case “to decriminalize possession of small quantities of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, LSD, methamphetamines, heroin, and opium if these are for personal use” (Serrano, 2009). The rationale behind this proposal is that legalizing individual drug consumption will undermine incentives for drug cartels to continue their trade. Such proposals betray the Mexican government's feeling of desperation. There is little evidence to suggest that if and when such proposals turn into enacted laws drug trade and consumption will decline. In the United States, a contrarian trend has been followed with respect to narcotics laws, which has made sentences handed to those found guilty highly disproportional to the extent of their crime. As Ian Weinstein succinctly points out,

In the system of narcotics prosecution, prosecutorial power often is unchecked and sentences often are unpredictable, but generally are quite harsh. Narcotics sentences have been decreasing steadily for almost ten years--a troubling instability--and there are wide disparities in sentences among similarly-situated defendants. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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