Peter Andreas argues that the sharp escalation in law enforcement provides a political mechanism for coping with the unintended consequences of past policy choices. Law enforcement is enthusiastically embraced as a remedy for the very problems state practices have helped to create. The high-profile display of force, Andreas emphasizes, has ultimately been less about deterring illegal crossings and more about re-crafting the image of the border and symbolically reaffirming the state's territorial authority.
Extending the analysis to the borders of the European Union, Andreas identifies different forms of law enforcement escalation that reflect distinct historical legacies and regional contexts. Andreas challenges the notion that borders are irrelevant in an age of globalization and stresses that, rather than eroding, some critical borders are being reinforced and remade.