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Narcotics as a security issue

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  Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Narcotics as a security issue
    Posted: 31-Oct-2008 at 15:05
Thanks to edgewaters for bringing up this matter.
 
Many people think this is just a "police issue."  However, military forces are increasingly being tasked to monitor, intercept and control (if possible) sources, production and transportation/distribution of narcotics both across political borders, and among different geographical regions.  State intelligence services are involved in the issue (sometimes on more than one side of it Wink ).
 
Narcotics traffickers, and "narco-terrorists" can and have interacted with political and ideological movements (IRA; al-Quaeda).  The drug business is a source of off-budget revenue for clandestine government entities as well as for political elites, and for powerful individuals. 
 
As an example, North Korea is generally acknowledged to be a source of methamphetamine substances, bringing in cash that can be laundered through other states' financial institutions.  The PRC seems to tolerate NK's activities as they may be turned to the advantage of China when convenient. 
 
The Colombians are so rich they can do what they want, both across state borders as well as in the country.  Mexico's drug interests seem now to be engaged in an assault on the sovereign power of the state itself. 
 
While all this could be in Current Affairs by specific item, it is also a matter of geopolitical concern.  With regular military forces having been used extra-territorially (both with and without the cooperation of other states), and with the potential of narcotics to affect economies, and to divert resources away from other security concerns, this is a geopolitical issue.  It isn't like nuclear warfare, but it is narco warfare.
 
Comments; opinions?  (As regards geopolitics, not regime bashing and social criticism please)
 
  


Edited by pikeshot1600 - 31-Oct-2008 at 15:10
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  Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Oct-2008 at 15:24
I think its high time drugs was legalised (or at the least, decriminalised) so this sort of problem can be regulated. The 'war on drugs' has been a fantastic phony, causing only ever greater amounts of consumption and making the criminal aspect more dangerous.

I immediately hear the rebuttal - but what about people's health? Won't more start taking drugs?

Frankly, thats a personal choice for individuals to make and they will take the drugs whether it is there or not.

The current situation is like Pikeshot has pointed out - a recipe for international 'narco-terrorism'. Even on a more local scale, there have been entire communities destroyed by the illegality of drugs. Drug barons need to protect themselves. Thats why they need guns in areas that otherwise wouldn't have them (IE, Dublin) People get shot in the crossfire and kids growing up these places get dragged in. A nasty, vicious circle which I think could be stopped by proper regulation rather than leaving it banned.
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  Quote Maharbbal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Nov-2008 at 02:58
Parnell I think you have quite a restricted vision of the matter since the drug-funded networks have many many other sources of revenue: fake Gucci glasses, countraband, people smuggling, arms trafficking, money laundering, etc. Drugs represent a big chunk of the illegal trade, but they are far from being the only pillar of organized crime's castle.

Which leads to my two cents on Pike's post: true enough drugs have become an important part of the dark side of international relations. But they are just part of the much larger illegal trade flows. Some countries are much more affected by say illegal diamond trade, people trafficking and so fourth.
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Nov-2008 at 08:25
There are three main drug producing regions in the world (Colombia, SE Asia, and Afghanistan).

All of them were zones of vicious competition during the Cold War, and still hold the interest of the superpowers.

Oil is of course a big cause of conflict, but I think narcotics probably rank next down the list. In some ways the fighting over narcotics has been more "hot" than that over oil.

Originally posted by pikeshot1600

As an example, North Korea is generally acknowledged to be a source of methamphetamine substances, bringing in cash that can be laundered through other states' financial institutions.  The PRC seems to tolerate NK's activities as they may be turned to the advantage of China when convenient. 


I think China tolerates this (they probably do a few busts every now and then and make a big hue and cry about it, but ...) for the same reason other powers tolerate the importation of drugs: dissidents generally come from disaffected sectors of society and hard drugs can be used to more effectively repress them, discredit them, and ensure they cannot organize effectively.


Edited by edgewaters - 01-Nov-2008 at 08:29
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  Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Nov-2008 at 13:10
Originally posted by Maharbbal

Parnell I think you have quite a restricted vision of the matter since the drug-funded networks have many many other sources of revenue: fake Gucci glasses, countraband, people smuggling, arms trafficking, money laundering, etc. Drugs represent a big chunk of the illegal trade, but they are far from being the only pillar of organized crime's castle.

Which leads to my two cents on Pike's post: true enough drugs have become an important part of the dark side of international relations. But they are just part of the much larger illegal trade flows. Some countries are much more affected by say illegal diamond trade, people trafficking and so fourth.


True, legalising drugs won't suddenly be the end of organised crime. But it will be like chopping both their arms off so they can't shoot anymore. (To use an exagerrated analogy)
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Nov-2008 at 13:22
No government wants to legalize drugs. The antidrug laws are just too useful. What 'moderate' administrations seem to be aiming for is selective enforcement.
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  Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Nov-2008 at 15:39

Hard drugs should certainly NOT be legalized because they are a danger to public health; and if people could buy heroin, cocaine, or crack in a bar as easily as they could buy a beer, I'm sure the number of addicts would be alarmingly high that it could become a nationwide problem.

For example, in the 19th century, the British imported Opium into China. Back then in China there were no laws that illegalised Opium, but the Opium fever created an epidemic and a the percentage of Opium addicts was so large that they became a universal social problem in many cities in southern China. (which was why they fought the Opium War and lost).
 
I do believe that the drug was should ONLY be fought against the large-scale traffickers such as the Latin American cartels, the Italian and Chinese mafias, and smugglers moving millions of € around the world.
What is completely useless is arresting petty dealers and putting behind bars people whose only crime was consuming drugs or growing a plant in their back yard.
Prosecuting these people is a waste of public money and police effort and doesn't lead us anywhere.
 
 
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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Nov-2008 at 16:18

Hello Panell

Actually I think legalising drugs is about the worst decision that governments can make simply because this will make drugs subject to regulation and thus they will become astronomically more expensive than what is currently ciculating on the streets. the drug trade will be like the software industry, extremely expensive original drugs (software) legally sold vs. very cheap drugs of the same quality (pirated software). It won't be long before the government will intervene again to combat those selling illegally pirated drugs (because of course they will be pattened) and we will return to square one but this time on a much larger scale because the addiction rated will sky rocket.

 
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  Quote Bulldog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Dec-2008 at 17:20
Where there is supply there is demand, while there is a demand for drugs there will be a supply. Even if there was no demand half these drugs grow naturally so unless we try to make these plants extinct they will exist.
 
Banning doesn't work, legalizing could work to a degree but then you have the problems that 'Al Jassas' explained.
 
Its also hypocritical just blaming this problem on criminal gangs when we know states and governments have been involved in the trade.
 
The only way to stop the cartels is legalising it and controlling it.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Dec-2008 at 18:59
I think the biggest promoters of the drug culture it was the "hippie" generation. People like "The Doors", "The Beatles" or "Jimmy Hendrix" contributed quite a bit more to make this a world of junkies than the drug cartel bosses.
 
It is time society treat drugs and alcohol consumption in the same way they treat smokers.
 
That could help.
 
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Dec-2008 at 19:07
Originally posted by Al Jassas

Hello Panell

Actually I think legalising drugs is about the worst decision that governments can make simply because this will make drugs subject to regulation and thus they will become astronomically more expensive than what is currently ciculating on the streets. the drug trade will be like the software industry, extremely expensive original drugs (software) legally sold vs. very cheap drugs of the same quality (pirated software). It won't be long before the government will intervene again to combat those selling illegally pirated drugs (because of course they will be pattened) and we will return to square one but this time on a much larger scale because the addiction rated will sky rocket.

Well ... it kind of depends on the drug in question. Heroin, for instance, is cheap in North America, even though it has to be imported from overseas and highly processed. Demand is limited to a specific element of society, and low demand puts a downward pressure on prices. Plus, the nature of the customer base makes it necessary for the price per unit to be low in order that the typical customer can afford to continue purchasing the drug on a regular basis. If a customer cannot obtain the drug for a period of time, there is a good chance he will cease to be a customer permanently. In this case - a low demand scenario - prices will always be cheap even if supply is constricted by illegality. The more supply is restricted, the more demand actually drops because demand for these drugs must be maintained by a steady and uninterrupted flow of the product. As demand drops, so does price, and this is what keeps the market alive despite all the efforts of law enforcement to prevent supply.

Other black market drugs like marijuana, which are cheaply produced locally and do not require any processing at all, are expensive relative to the low production costs. Prices for these drugs are high, relative to the cost of bringing them to market, because they are illegal. The restriction on supply brought about by their illegality raises the price, the same as any constriction of supply. Demand is very high as the market is very large. The actual cost to produce marijuana is about the same as the cost to produce tobacco, the only reason the prices are so much higher is because of constriction of supply brought about by their illegality. Legalized marijuana is unlikely to be any more expensive than illegal marijuana, meaning that the black market will not be able to compete on price. Drug markets like this one can be compared to the alcohol market - during Prohibition, black market alcohol prices soared to very high levels, and when it was repealed, the black market simply vanished. In cases like this, demand is so high that despite constricting supply through illegality, a large market will continue to exist and constricting supply will only increase demand (which raises black market prices, but does not shrink the market much).



Edited by edgewaters - 06-Dec-2008 at 19:15
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