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Using the securitization framework to highlight the arguments that facilitated the “War on Drugs”, this paper highlights a separate war against drug traffickers. Facilitated by ideology through the rhetoric promoted by the “War on Drugs,” the fear of communist expansion and democratic contraction, the “War on Drug Traffickers” was implemented, requiring its own strategy separate from the “War on Drugs.” This is an important distinction because the play on words changes the perception of the issue from one of drug addiction to one of weak institutions and insurgent/terrorist threat to those institutions. Furthermore, one cannot propose strategy to win, lose, or retreat in a war that one has been unable to identify properly. And while the all-encompassing “War on Drugs” has motivated tremendous discourse on its failure and possible solutions to remedy its failure, the generalizations made as a result of the inability to distinguish between the policies behind drug addiction and the militarized policies behind drug trafficking have discounted the effect of violence perpetrated by the state, the rationale for the state perpetrating that violence, and the dependence that the state has on foreign actors to perpetrate such violence. This makes it impossible to not only propose effective strategy but also to persuade states that participate in the “War on Drug Traffickers” to adopt the proposed strategy.


Liana Reyes presented, "Different Wars Require Different Strategies: Separating the “War on Drugs” from the “War on Drug [Traffickers]”" at the Colloquium on Non-Traditional Security Threats held at FIU's Modesto A. Maidique Campus on March 1st, 2013.

Liana Eustacia Reyes.pdf (16 kB)
Liana Eustacia Reyes, J.D., M.A.



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