Security in the Caribbean Basin: The Challenge of Regional Cooperation

By Joseph S. Tulchin; Ralph H. Espach | Go to book overview

8
Drugs and the Emerging Security
Agenda in the Caribbean
Ivelaw L. Griffith

The drug phenomenon in the Caribbean is not simply a problem of social deviance; it affects the roots, stems, branches, and fruits of societal existence in the region, striking at the very maintenance of civil society. In other words, drugs present a threat to the security of Caribbean states. But what really is it about the issue of drugs that makes it a security matter? One useful way to respond to this question is to probe the dynamics of the region's security landscape and examine the manifestations of the drug phenomenon. Doing this obliges us to come to terms with several realities of the contemporary Caribbean. This chapter addresses four of those realities.


Reality Number One: Security Is Multidimensional

Increasingly among scholars and policymakers around the world, the traditional realist conceptual lenses used to view security are being replaced by other, nonconventional, often eclectic, ones. Yet, for scholars dealing with the Caribbean, the nonconventionality itself has been the convention. Security has not been seen just as protection from military threats. It is not just military hardware, although it involves this; it is not just military force, although it could involve this; and it is not simply traditional military activity, although it certainly encompasses it. Security is multidimensional, with military, political, economic, and environmental dimensions. As might be expected, there is variation among countries as regards the perception of the scope and gravity of threats and apprehensions.

The Caribbean approach to security has also differed from the conventional approach when it comes to the issue of the security “theater. ” Evidence of this lies in the fact that security not only is concerned with

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