The Latin American Narcotics Trade and U.S. National Security

By Donald J. Mabry | Go to book overview

Noteworthy among the above-described provisions are those providing positive economic incentives for cooperation with the U.S. narcotics control programs and objectives, and those earmarking funds for narcotics education and awareness programs and narcotics related economic assistance activities.


CONCLUSION

Evidently Congress has taken, is taking, and will continue to take an active role in formulating international narcopolicy. The wide reach of this role is exemplified by the influence Congress exerts over the Executive Branch in determining which major illicit drug-producing and/or transit countries shall be exempt from economic and trade sanctions, i.e., the "certification" process.

In the Antidrug Abuse Act of 1988, Congress has exercised broad reaching powers, established a structure for increased centralization of U.S. drug policy, emphasized regional cooperative efforts, imposed country specific certification requirements, imposed restrictions on money laundering and precursor chemicals, and authorized new highs in funding levels for the war on drugs. Perhaps even more important, the act shifted the overall proportion of resource allocation between supply reduction and demand reduction from previous levels of approximately 75 percent for supply reduction and 25 percent for demand reduction to a level roughly approaching fifty-fifty.

In the Defense Authorization Act of 1989, Congress assigned the military a key role in the nation's antidrug interdiction effort--that of lead agency in the effort to interdict air and sea traffic in illicit drugs--and expanded the role of the National Guard in drug interdiction activities.

In the Foreign Assistance Appropriations Act of 1989, Congress, by exercising power of the purse, earmarked funds as positive incentives to certain cooperative major illicit drug-producing or transit countries, and waived certain restrictions on providing weapons to countries where drug barons are gaining in power.

How will Congress continue to shape the overall character of U.S. international drug policy? Will future policy, as recent legislation may indicate, focus more on multilateral and regional cooperative efforts? Will U.S. policy focus more on law enforcement cooperation as a factor in the certification process? Will the U.S. gradually shift the lion's share of its antidrug resources from supply reduction programs to demand reduction programs? And will U.S. international narcotics policy begin to emphasize more of a "carrot" approach of positive incentives and earmarkings of funds, rather than a "stick" approach of sanctions alone? If the antidrug legislation enacted by Congress in 1988 is a continuing trend, an affirmative conclusion might well be warranted.

-102-

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