Nearly 10,000 people in Mexico have died in drug-related violence since January 2007. Who or what is to blame? Some say it is America’s insatiable consumer demand for illicit drugs and the constant flow of our guns, which arm the cartels. Others believe that Mexico’s own government is ineffective in controlling the trade of the drug cartels because of rampant corruption in law enforcement in the country. The US Congress, unable to ignore the rising violence spilling over the border, has approved $700 million in security aid for Mexico, and has promised hundreds of federal agents and intelligence analysts devoted to the problem. Officials on both sides wonder whether this will make a dent in the problem. Has our own “war on drugs” been ineffective, or even counterproductive? Should Mexico’s government take full responsibility for what goes on within its own borders? Should the very idea of criminalization of drugs be re-examined?
For the motion
Director, The New America Foundation's Bernard L. Schwartz Fellows Program.
Directs the New America Foundation's Bernard L. Schwartz Fellows Program. He was the editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times from 2004-2007... Read More
Senior Lecturer, Harvard University
is senior lecturer and director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics at Harvard University. Miron holds a B.A. from Swarthmore... Read More
Editor, Newsweek International
Was named editor of Newsweek International in October 2000, overseeing all Newsweeks editions abroad. The magazine has an audience of over 24 million... Read More
Against the motion
Former Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration
Asa Hutchinson is CEO of Hutchinson Group, a homeland security consulting firm, and practices law in Northwest Arkansas. Hutchinson was the... Read More
Chris W. Cox
Executive Director, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA)
Is the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association of America. Cox oversees... Read More
Former Foreign Minister of Mexico
Was foreign minister of Mexico from 2000 to 2003. Castañeda is a renowned public intellectual, political scientist, and prolific writer, with an... Read More
Where Do You Stand?
For The Motion
Because the U.S. has not taken adequate action to prevent the illegal smuggling of weapons across the border, many of the guns used in drug-related violence in Mexico can be traced back to the United States.
The U.S. government has failed to effectively regulate and manage its $65 billion market for illegal drugs and has left Mexico with the geographic disadvantage of being placed between a booming market and a major source of its products, including Colombia and Bolivia.
For decades, America has pressured its allies to prohibit drugs and enforce anti-drug policies; this global criminalization of the drug trade has forced the drug industry to forgo legal conflict resolution structures and resort to violence and vigilante justice.
Against The Motion
Mexico’s government limits American aid in combating drug-trafficking from Mexico into the United States, claiming that direct U.S. intervention violates Mexican sovereignty.
America is not to blame for the culture of political corruption in Mexican governance that has allowed for the breakdown of Mexican law-enforcement and ability of drug cartels to operate with impunity.
Though Americans are consumers of Mexican drugs, they are not a singular market and the rise of drug cartels in Mexico cannot be solely attributed to the American markets.