The International War on Drugs
• repeal the Anti–Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988 and all legislation requiring the United States to certify drug-source countries' cooperation in counternarcotics efforts, • declare an end to the international war on drugs, and • remove U.S. trade barriers to the products of developing countries.
Washington's international drug control campaign exhibits every flaw inherent in the worst forms of central planning. The war on drugs—a program whose budget has more than tripled over the last 10 years—has failed remarkably in all aspects of its overseas mission. Most telling, illicit drugs continue to flow across U.S. borders, unaffected by the more than $30 billion Washington has spent since 1981 in its supply-side campaign. The purity of cocaine and heroin, moreover, has increased, while the prices of those drugs have fallen dramatically during the same period.
The U.S. government has not only federalized the social problem of drug abuse by treating narcotics use as a criminal offense; it has intruded into the complex social settings of dozens of countries around the globe by pressuring foreign governments to adopt laws and policies of its liking. In the process, Washington has severely aggravated the political and economic problems of drug-source nations. Counternarcotics strategy thus conflicts with sound foreign policy goals, namely the encouragement of free markets and democracy in developing countries. For countless reasons, the international drug war is both undesirable and unwinnable.
One component of the supply-side campaign, heavily emphasized by the Reagan and Bush administrations, has been interdiction of drug traffic