Narcodiplomacy: Exporting the U.S. War on Drugs

By H. Richard Friman | Go to book overview

1
The Dynamics
of Defection

The status of Germany and Japan in the American war against drugs has changed considerably during the twentieth century. U.S. authorities viewed them as allies in the first campaign against the opium trade during the early 1900s. By 1911, however, U.S. policy makers had identified Germany as the primary obstruction to international control. By the late 1920s and especially during the 1930s, the German threat had faded and attention shifted to Japan as the source of the illicit trade not only in Asia but around the world. Military occupation after Word War II changed the status of both countries again, allowing direct intervention in both countries to bring drug laws into line with American wishes. Both countries have since been touted as allies in antidrug campaigns.

This book explores the dynamics of German and Japanese responses to the American agenda. What I have found is that in both countries both before and after the war these dynamics fail to support the basic premise of American drug control policy as applied by U.S. policy makers. German and Japanese policy responses have not always reflected the capacity of their leaders to deliver on international commitments. More important, where state capacity was at issue U.S. policy makers tended either to misinterpret the specific aspects of capacity at stake or to conceptualize them incorrectly.

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