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The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America
     

The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America

by Ted Galen Carpenter
 

Since Mexican President Felipe Calderón initiated a military offensive against his country’s powerful drug cartels in December 2006, some 44,000 people have perished, and the drugs continue to flow. The growing violence has created concerns that Mexico could become a failed state, as U.S. political leaders also worry that the corruption and violence is

Overview

Since Mexican President Felipe Calderón initiated a military offensive against his country’s powerful drug cartels in December 2006, some 44,000 people have perished, and the drugs continue to flow. The growing violence has created concerns that Mexico could become a failed state, as U.S. political leaders also worry that the corruption and violence is seeping across the border into the United States. But, as detailed by Ted Galen Carpenter in his compelling new book, The Fire Next Door, the current U.S.-backed strategies for trying to stem Mexico’s drug violence have been a disaster. Carpenter details the growing horror overtaking Mexico and makes the case that the only effective strategy is to de-fund the Mexican drug cartels. Boldly conveyed in The Fire Next Door, such a blow requires the U.S., the principal consumer market for illegal drugs, to abandon its failed drug prohibition policy, thereby eliminating the lucrative black-market premium and greatly reducing the financial resources of drug cartels. A refusal to renounce prohibition, demonstrates Carpenter, means that Mexico’s agony will likely worsen and pose even more significant problems for the United States.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The drug war across the U.S.–Mexico border has exacted a tremendous toll, according to Carpenter (Smart Power), a senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. Using government data, the author reveals that in 2009 the Mexican drug cartels earned nearly billion from their trafficking in North America, using their wealth to buy off the Mexican public and to corrupt politicians who dare to stand in their way (those who refuse bribes are assassinated). Comparing war-torn Mexico to a "Latin American Somalia," Carpenter saysthe powerful cartels often donate food, clothing, and medical care to impoverished locals and are seen as "cultural folk heroes." The author balances Mexican assertions that the cartels' weapons are bought from U.S. gun shops with U.S. officials' denial of these charges. The spike in violence has hit farmers, ranchers, innocent civilians—and increasingly Americans, both tourist visitors to Mexico and border police. In the end, this is a devastatingly frank probe of the cartels and their corrosive influence on both sides of the border. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781935308881
Publisher:
Cato Institute
Publication date:
10/16/2012
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
1,388,465
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Ted Galen Carpenter is senior fellow for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. He is the author or editor of 18 books on international affairs.

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