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March 24th, 2009
07:47 PM ET

Mexico and drug lords

Programming note: Anderson Cooper will be reporting live from the U.S./Mexico Border with an up-close look at drug-trade violence, kidnappings and HOW this violence is threatening the U.S. Watch The War Next Door Wednesday and Thursday night at 10p ET.

Ken Robinson | BIO
Former Special Operations and Intelligence Officer

I lived in Colombia for three years, chasing the Pablo Escobar and lessor know drug cartel leaders. What I learned:

Law of unintended consequences is always in play.

- When you capture or kill a drug lord, you create a vacuum, and typically a civil war, for new leadership, because so much money is involved.

Devil you know vs. devil you don't.

- Makes it harder to defeat the new organization, as you often start at the bottom, all over again. The decision to capture or kill the leadership, is also the decision to poke your own eyes out, for a considerable time, while a new bad guy, sets up shop.

Also, we will never defeat drug lords, until we curb our own DEMAND. We in the U.S. - our CONSUMPTION - drives the drug lords' production.

Many of these drug lords have power, money, technology, and weapons as good as or better than many NATIONS.

I learned while in Pakistan of a novel program in Iran, very successful, to get their poppy growers to crop substitute and transition to pistachio nuts.

The significance of this is important for Afghanistan, where heroin now supplies 80 percent of the global demand.

The problem is: We don't talk to Iran, and won't let a delegation from Iran interact with poppy growers.

Instead, their product comes in to the U.S. via - say it with me, now - Mexico.

Life is like a Seinfeld episode - everything is related to everything else.


Filed under: Ken Robinson • Mexico
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. M

    The problem is you can't eliminate the demand. The demand is by people who probably aren't even aware of the situation, and could care less. The solution is to interupt the supply. Eradicate the crops. Between satellite imagery, intelligence, informants, etc we need to target the fields being harvested to produce the drugs.

    The other problem is these countries need to develop better options for employment. In many cases, the people have no other choices but to work for these organizations because the have no other employment options. Again, interupt the supply – in this case of human resources.

    If this economy has shown us nothing, it's that a breakdown in the supply (in our case money) wreaks havoc on the whole structure.

    March 25, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  2. Peter Renzi

    If marijuana is legalized and taxed we will drastically decrease drug cartel crimes. We have ignored the real drug problem for too long. It's about time the US take legalization out of the closet and make it a hot button issue.

    March 24, 2009 at 10:29 pm |