From the Council on Hemispheric Affairs comes a detailed discussion of Plan Mexico: Does the Merida Initiative Represent a New Direction for U.S.-Mexico Relations, or Does It Simply Refocus the Issue Elsewhere? by Laura Starr and Maria Delle Donne.
The article does a good job of looking at the entire picture, including the controversy over the secret nature of the negotiations, and some of the real concerns that the Merida Initiative is intended to address.
What’s most important comes near the end of the article. The authors clearly understand simple, incontrovertible facts regarding the nature of economics and drugs that seem to escape our political leaders (or are intentionally ignored by them).
While Merida may witness an increase in border security and thus, logically, the number of seizures occurring, it is unlikely that it will be able, in its present form, to inhibit the overall trafficking of drugs. The continuance of such anti-drug aid simply encourages traffickers to seek other alternatives because as long as there is demand, traffickers will ensure the same for an adequate supply. Therefore, prices will be driven up as drastic measures are taken to ensure delivery, as referred to by Bill Piper, director of The Drug Policy Alliance: “Supply-side strategies have failed for cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and virtually every drug to which they have been appliedÖincluding alcohol during Prohibition.”
Fundamental economic principles demonstrate why: as long as a strong demand for drugs exists, there will be a supply to meet it. There are always newly organized cartels ready to step into someone’s place should he or she be arrested or made to flee. […]
The Merida Initiative may appear on the surface to strengthen United States-Mexican relations. However, it may not go far in averting drug traffickers’ intentions as they seek borders and routes elsewhere. Meanwhile, drug consumption will remain high, and traffickers will readily be able to sell drugs while purchasing any number of weapons necessary to get the job done.