U.S. - Mexico Military to Military Cooperation Revisited   [open pdf - 263KB]

By the mid 1990s drug trafficking from Mexico to the United States was exacting a high political, economic and societal toll on both countries and severely straining diplomatic ties. U.S. and Mexican officials crafted the US/Mexico Bi-National Drug Strategy in 1997 to fight this debilitating menace together. Strategy initiatives proved successful in dismantling trafficking cartels, eradicating substantial tracts of illicit crops, and interdicting large quantities of processed drugs. The Strategy's emphasis on transparency and accountability also served, if inadvertently, to bolster Mexico's trek to full democracy - an equally important and mutually reinforcing U.S. foreign policy goal. The military forces of both nations were among the Strategy's initial supporting institutions. In spite of their key role in individually countering the drug threat in their respective countries, however, U.S.-Mexico military cooperation proved contentious and transitory. This thesis argues that military cooperation is worth reviving to promote U.S. policy goals in fighting drugs and nudging Mexico's military away from its authoritarian past and towards its proper role in a democratic society. The thesis further argues that the National Guard is the most appropriate U.S. military entity for this mission, and suggests a rationale and basic framework to encourage and guide such cooperation.

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