September 24, 2010
The Impact of the Drug Trade on US Foreign Policy toward Latin American
For many years the United States has been fighting a battle against the trafficking, production, and importation of illegal drugs. Most of these drugs come from the countries of Central and South America, where it is not illegal to grow plants from which drugs are derived such as the coca plant which produces cocaine. The drug trade has been a topic of many heated debates in the United States, particularly with reference to the question, how should the U.S. deal with the rising problem of drugs inside our borders?
The scholarship on the drug war waged by the United States deals with four key issues. The most mentioned issue was the anti-drug policy of President Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s, most noteably the “Just Say No” campaign and the legislation that was passed while President Reagan was in office. Most of the scholars that I will evaluate on this subject believe these policies to be failures. The one exception was the historian Paul Gootenberg. The next issue that all the articles deal with is the dominance of Peru in the drug trade over Columbia. Unlike the popular belief of the general public, these scholars examine Peru as the main country that exports the cocaine of the world. The final issue that is examined by all of the scholars is the ecnomic influence that the drug trade has on not only Latin America, but what problems this trade causes for businesses and for the government in the United States. I believe the drug industry is one that has been overlooked threw the years. It seems many have the idea the problem will in some way just take care of itself. Although some work has been done to try and curb the trafficking of illegal drugs, not enough was done to carry these ideas out.
Bruce Michael Bagley is at the center of debates about the failure of the Reagan drug policy. In “The New Hundred Years War?”, and “US Foreign...