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The control paradigm

An interesting white paper: Rehabilitating the war on drugs: Central America and the legalisation debate by Chris Abbott and Joel Vargas at Open Briefing.

I found these passages to be a particularly good description of the U.S. approach toward the drug war and how it impacts Central America:

The war on drugs is the ultimate manifestation of the dominant security orthodoxy, which believes that military force can ultimately control insecurity. In the same way the war on terror essentially aimed to ‘keep the lid’ on terrorism and insecurity without addressing the root causes of perceived injustices, the war on drugs aims to keep the lid on the rising tide of cartel violence without addressing the root causes of illicit drug consumption in North America. Security policies based on this ‘control paradigm’ are often self-defeating in the long term as they simply create a pressure cooker effect. […]

What do the external powers fear so much? In short, the potential decriminalisation or legalisation of drugs in Central America threatens the foundations of deliberate policies enacted by North America and elsewhere.

Central to any war fought using the control paradigm are the principles of protecting the homeland by keeping the violence ‘over there’ and the near complete attention given to tackling external consequences rather than resolving any internal causes. These principles formed the core of the war on terror strategy and lie at the heart of the war on drugs. Legalising drugs in Central America would mean the fight could no longer be carried out elsewhere and would force the consumer markets of North America to look inwards at the internal drivers of the illicit drugs trade.

The white paper goes on to suggest phased-in decriminalization and/or legalization of drugs, in ways that mostly make sense, although I wasn’t sure if this was tongue in cheek:

If successful, this strategy could be extended to include more harmful drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana (the principal targets of the American war on drugs) and encompass the regulation of production and distribution.

… more harmful drugs? Than what?

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11 comments to The control paradigm

  • kaptinemo

    “If successful, this strategy could be extended to include more harmful drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana…”

    The news media does this a lot. They’ll run the race, bringing up fact after fact with each lap, come almost to the finish line, look like they’ll make it…and fall flat on their face by parroting intelligence-insulting propaganda, which is tantamount to insisting that 2 + 2 = 3.8. Pathetic.

    • Duncan20903

      That’s just silly. Everyone knows that 2 and 2 is 22.

    • claygooding

      More evidence that the ONDCP/DEA/NIDA exist for and will continue to exist as a tool to keep hemp off the open market.

      But all these debates keeps driving the costs up for taxpayers and the financial backers of prohibition,,the meeting in CA this week will really drive the price of peanuts up.

  • CJ

    more harmful than heroin. i think we have a true banger in the article’s writer… lol. yes, indeed, if a nice, hmm…immediate legalization of all opiates which on a per bag or per pill account could cost, with tax, no consumer more than 88 cents per bag or pill with no limits on purchase or personal possession amounts, i think if we can check that system out (also the out and out full on easier access to syringes, so now sell them in the pharm aisle, or pass a law that they cant be sold x amount of feet near the WWF and STAR WARS action figure aisle – i.e no more getting my name written in a notebook in CVS or the rare times when the laws followed but to be WALKED OUT of the store by a pharmicst assistant?! lol! (yes incase you didnt know, in some states the store IS LEGALLY OBLIGATED to essentially walk you from the pharm counter to the exit door after you purchase your package of syringes. LOL!) for a good 40 years and i think if successful (and success should mean if the world doesnt literally physically spin off its axis) then and only then i think we should LOOK INTO the POSSIBILITY and look into the possibility ONLY of PERHAPS making MUCH MUCH MUCH MORE FATAL, HARMFUL and DANGEROUS drugs as marijuana and certain cough syrup ingredients not well liked by Oregon officials PERHAPS available to THE WORST OF THE WORST OFFENDERS WHO’VE GOT NO HOPE OF BEIN SAVED BY THY LOURD GEORGE BUSH AND RICHARD NIXON AND RONALD REAGAN AND THY WRITERS OF THY NARCOTICS TAX ACT – those such HORRID offenders MAY be entitled to prescription availability subject to retrieving such prescription from a state licensed doctor. indeed.

    • Windy

      You left out JOE BIDEN author of the act that created the ONDCP, leaving the impression it is only the GOP side of the aisle that created our drug war, look back at the beginning of the war and see how many Dems in congress and in legislatures advocated/voted for the prohibition. No matter how avidly you support one party you cannot blame only the OTHER party, this atrocity is brought to you by courtesy of the authoritarians in BOTH parties. Get rid of the blinders and call out the authoritarians in your own party.

  • Francis

    “Also, the cartels have multiple sources of income outside the illicit drugs trade – including human trafficking and arms smuggling – sources they could shift their focus to if drugs were no longer profitable.”

    *sigh*

    • darkcycle

      I like the “Whole Foods” analogy. If Whole Foods couldn’t sell food, they’d just re-focus on decorative Guatemalan hand baskets. After all… There’s a reason we call them “Whole Foods” (Just like there’s a reason we call ’em “Drug Cartels”.)

    • kaptinemo

      Whenever I hear that drek, I figure the Mex cartels would have to kidnap the entire population of Mexico to make up what they’d lose from the illegal drug trade. Then who’d make the ransom? Honduras? Guatemala? Their own cartels would have to kidnap their own populations.

      And these idiot prohibs accuse cannabists of mental deterioration? Newsflash: cannabis preserves nerve cells, alcohol destroys them. But, as the old cigarette commercial used to say, they’d “rather fight than switch.” Okay by me; the more of them who die off from their chosen addictive, destructive habits when they could enjoy something much better, the more Mother Nature smiles as she picks her teeth with their remains…

  • Cold Blooded

    They’re not called “arms smuggling cartels” or “human trafficking cartels” though, are they? There’s a reason for that…

  • claygooding

    I wonder how many coups,spies and black ops against foreign governments and political figures the war on drugs has helped or carried out?

    • now why clay… would you go and ask such a question? Considering the black market in just illegal drugs is nearly 10% of global annual trade, tax free and all cash… (and throw in those pesky historic examples that demonstrate the veracity of your query)(*cough* Oliver North *cough*) I suppose one might suspect such goings on…

      I’ve even read somewhere that there are those who question not if but how much drugs cash goes into US elections… it’s like folks actually believe humanity hasn’t risen above such pettiness as greed and corruption. C’mon! It’s the new millenium. Humans have embarked upon constructing a new paradigm – paradigmosis – wherein we will only “see” what we like and will ignore the rest. Because after all… if we can’t see a tree fall in the forest does it still scare the poop outta the critters underneath it?

      Or something like that…