The Role of the Cartels, the United States and the Mexican Federal Government in the Drug War

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The “Drug War” along the border of Mexico and the United States is one of the longest coordinated engagements of law enforcement (who have accepted the aid of the Mexican military) in both countries’ history (Winslow, 2015). The history of this unofficial war is extraordinarily complicated; rife with both political and criminal players, violence, corruption, bad policy, and controversy. Its importance to America and Mexico cannot be underestimated, especially in its role in legislation, law enforcement techniques, and public opinion. The sheer size and scope of the war surpasses general understandings of battlefields and skirmishes; but it is obvious where the most “warfare” is occurring—the border (Pacheco, 2009).
To explore all of these concepts would take substantial time; so in favor of brevity and efficiency this paper will attempt to provide the reader with a general overview of the current situation, and then go into depth about several subjects: the history, the key participants, the drugs at issue, the range of the war across Mexico (at current date), political controversies accompanying, and proposed solutions by experts. To put current day events into context, one should first glance at the history behind the Drug War.
Payan contended in his article The Drug War and the U.S.-Mexico Border: The State of Affairs that the roots of the drug war stem from the resentment policymakers had towards the counterculture revolution of the late 60’s. Mind-altering drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin were in great demand, and many small gangs in Mexico had taken advantage of the opportunity. Nixon saw the rising clamor from conservatives against the trafficking and use of these substances; so he instituted the DEA, coin...

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Payan, T. (2006). The Drug War and the U.S.-Mexico Border: The State of Affairs. South Atlantic Quarterly, 105(4), 863-880. doi:10.1215/00382876-2006-006. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.

Vance, L. M. (2011). The Other Unconstitutional War. New American, 27(21), 20-24. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.

Winslow, Don. America's war on drugs is empowering Mexico's drug cartels CNN. June 28, 2015, Web. 4 Oct. 2015.

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