In 1949, Mao inherited a nation with a serious drug addiction, prostitution, and gambling problems that had been used by the West as a way to make immense profits in China (Opium Wars) for more than a century. Mao was fairly effective in dealing with these problems using various means, including the Red Army. Today, China has returned to the pre-Mao era with the problem of drugs making an enormous impact as part of the illegal economy. The price of “market economics in an open society!”
Unlike Mao, Mexico does not link drug trade to imperialism. Would the US allow Mexico to adopt Maoist methods? Why doesn’t the US do the same for itself to rid the illegal drug trade and all the crime along with multi-billion dollar business that it carries with it?
It is very difficult to find a regime in Mexico’s history that has not been corrupt and that it has not also corrupted other institutions. The military may be better equipped to handle the drug lords than the police–actually anything would be better. But what assurances are there that the military will not become as corrupt as the police? There have been a number of published reports that drug money has in fact penetrated Mexico’s military more than any other in Latin America.
Drug money corrupts all sectors that stand in its way to make sure the flow of the trade continues, and that is part of the business. An integral part of the trade is laundering drug money. There are many reports that banks–US banks included–have been laundering drug money for decades!
The problem with illegal drugs is not primarily the producer as the US insists, but the consumer. The US which is roughly 4% of the world’s population, but consumes an estimated 25% of the world’s illegal drugs, and the domestic illegal drug industry has been rising rapidly. Americans’ increased their prescription narcotic use by 300% between 1998 and 2008.
The “drug culture” is one for which pharmaceutical companies and the entire medical profession are responsible. Should people take a pill for shyness and boosting self-confidence? Has common sense abandoned the medical professionals more so than vulnerable and desperate patients seeking quick fixes in a pill?
Let us assume that Mexico is no longer Colombia’s transit nation, and completely drug-free after the military has “won the War on Drugs.” Would this mean the end of the drug trade, and that no country will take Mexico’s place? Just look at the CIA Factbook on countries involved in drug production and trade. Can we overlook the fact that after the US invaded Afghanistan the narcotics export trade skyrocketed?
The world drug production and trade (from wholesale all the way down to the street dealer) with all its consequences on the black market economy that finds its way into mainstream financial institutions, has a corrupting influence on governments and private institutions, and above all on the health of people.
The illegal drug trade is one that revolves around hundreds of billions of dollars and that means influence can be bought in all sectors from banks to public officials, and it also means that the poor in Latin America, Africa and Asia will take part in the drug trade in order to survive. The solution to the problem is to curb consumption, and consumption seems to be associated with the more affluent consumerist societies that promote a hedonistic lifestyle. How does a country curb consumption? That is a complex topic for another conversation.