Great Power Competition and Counternarcotics in the Western Hemisphere   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the Introduction: "The nexus between illicit drug economies and great power competition is a critical, yet understudied, dimension of counternarcotics. If policy experts and academics understood how great power competition intersects with illicit drug economies, then counternarcotics experts would have yet another incisive theoretical lens through which to understand drug flows. This paper contends that China is unwilling to crack down on chemical precursor flows that feed the Western Hemisphere's synthetic drug trade due to its broader geopolitical imperatives, which are shaped by great power competition. Chinese pharmaceutical and chemical producers are taking advantage of un-checked drug demand in the United States by selling chemical precursors to Mexican drug trafficking organizations that manufacture and smuggle synthetic drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border. Their involvement in the Western Hemisphere drug trade has expanded the market for synthetic drugs and has destabilized Mexico's criminal landscape. The Chinese government's response to the export of massive quantities of illegal drugs and precursor chemicals is largely driven by external pressure and characterized by a lack of credible commitment to reduce the flow of illegal drugs and precursor chemicals."

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William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies: https://www.williamjperrycenter.org/
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