This Article examines the war on drugs as persecuted by the United States and how it has been exported to Mexico. It also explores the increased efforts in the drugs war that the Trump administration, through the U.S. Department of Justice, is pursuing at a domestic level. Part I of this Article provides an outline of the dynamics in the quickly evolving and highly tense relationship between the United States and Mexico. Part II of this Article details the historical background of the U.S.-Mexico border region and demonstrates that the border has long been a contested site. Part III provides a picture of the war on drugs in the United States and how it has failed. And failed it has, for “more than $1 trillion has been spent on more than 45 million drug arrests since President Nixon first coined the term ‘the war on drugs,’ … [y]et the rate of drug use in the United States remains unchanged.”
Part IV of this Article then details how the war on drugs in Mexico has made the U.S.-Mexico border region, like much of Mexico, even more insecure. It demonstrates how the efforts have led to a weakening of the Mexican State through an uptick in public insecurity in the country. In fact, in 2016, Mexico was the second deadliest country in the world according to the London, England-based International Institute for Strategic Studies which reported that the drug wars in Mexico cost 23,000 lives that year. Deaths from small-arms fire in our southern neighbor are second only to the deaths resulting from the civil war in Syria. Death rates continue to grow in 2017. Part V concludes this Article with a look at the unfolding drug policy of the Trump Administration in the context of overall bilateral relations between the U.S. and Mexico, including bilateral security arrangements as well as NAFTA, the impugned trilateral trade pact. This Article explores the manner in which, despite the efforts of the Mexican and U.S. governments, narco-trafficking organizations continue to grow their businesses, and in the process, destabilize Mexico, undermine its rule of law, and threaten U.S.-Mexico relations. Much of this is played out at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Cooper, James M., "The United States, Mexico, and the War on Drugs in the Trump Administration" (2018). Faculty Scholarship. 239.