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Published on November 2nd, 2011 | by Dave Rublin
Image © [caption id="attachment_5154" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Mexico Drug War © APTOPIX"][/caption] Hidden beneath the media spectacle of tracking Democratic and Republican candidates’ missteps, controversies, setbacks, and political posturing for the American presidency, an under-reported 2012 presidential election will directly affect the lives of millions of Americans on the frontline of a war—the War on Drugs. The Mexican presidential campaign will herald a departure from outgoing President Felipe Calderon’s frontal military assault on drug cartels, with leading candidates in Calderon’s National Action Party (PAN) and the opposition’s Institutional Revolution Party (PRI) advocating a more nuanced approach to the struggle which has claimed the lives of over 44,000 people since President Calderon’s presidency began in 2006. This impending shift coincides with the recent news of covert American activity inside Mexico, raising Mexican concerns about sovereignty violations and infringements on Mexico's constitution. While America has long employed surveillance aircraft to remotely monitor drug activity south of the border, America’s development of intelligence networks within the cartels threatens to create a culture of impunity for intervention, where the lack of accountability and transparency can lead to grievous errors in the fight against drug trafficking. Accordingly, although Presidents Obama and Calderon remain committed to America’s “quiet” approach of material and intelligence support in 2011, will their prospective replacements keep America quiet in 2012?

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The Quiet Americans: The 2012 Elections and the War on Drugs in North America

Mexico Drug War © APTOPIX

Hidden beneath the media spectacle of tracking Democratic and Republican candidates’ missteps, controversies, setbacks, and political posturing for the American presidency, an under-reported 2012 presidential election will directly affect the lives of
millions of Americans on the frontline of a war—the War on Drugs. The Mexican presidential campaign will herald a departure from outgoing President Felipe Calderon’s frontal military assault on drug cartels, with leading candidates in Calderon’s National Action Party (PAN) and the opposition’s Institutional Revolution Party (PRI) advocating a more nuanced approach to the struggle which has claimed the lives of over 44,000 people since President Calderon’s presidency began in 2006. This impending shift coincides with the recent news of covert American activity inside Mexico, raising Mexican concerns about sovereignty violations and infringements on Mexico’s constitution. While America has long employed surveillance aircraft to remotely monitor drug activity south of the border, America’s development of intelligence networks within the cartels threatens to create a culture of impunity for intervention, where the lack of accountability and transparency can lead to grievous errors in the fight against drug trafficking. Accordingly, although Presidents Obama and Calderon remain committed to America’s “quiet” approach of material and intelligence support in 2011, will their prospective replacements keep America quiet in 2012?

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About the Author

Dave is a recent graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he received his MSc in Comparative Politics -- Conflict Studies stream.



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