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The Merida Initiative: Refuting the Need for a Military Hammer
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CENTER FOR STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP
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The National Security Strategy lists transnational criminal organizations, like drug cartels, as a major threat to the nation. The cartels threats and their negative impact on Mexico and the United States are growing. This is not the United States first time dealing with drug cartels. For years the United States supported Colombias fight against cocaine cartels. However, the Mexican situation presents a unique difference a shared border. The most pressing issue is the dramatic rise in violence and death attributed to drug trafficking and related criminal activities. The problem is enormously complex and is intertwined with other U.S. policy issues, including border security and illegal immigration. The Merida Initiative, led by the Department of State, is the targeted, comprehensive, cooperative strategy between the United States and Mexico to counter Mexican cartels. It is meant to incorporate all elements of national power in a comprehensive approach to address, disrupt, and dismantle the Mexican cartels. While the U.S. military plays only a minor role in the Merida Initiative, many in the U.S. Government and U.S. military desire an increase in that role. Is this the right course of action Will an increase in U.S. military assistance bring the situation to a decisive conclusion This paper concludes that the level of U.S. military involvement in the Merida Initiative is appropriate, and there is no need to increase it. To analyze this conclusion, the paper will do the following 1 frame the problems and threats posed by the cartels 2 review the evolution of U.S.-Mexican counterdrug cooperation 3 lay out the U.S. counterdrug strategy in terms of the instruments of national power and 4 explain why the U.S. military instrument needs to remain in play, but not expand.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE