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International Negotiation November 25, 2017

Roselyn M. Gaac Sir Jumel G. Estraero


Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Service / FS401

Colombias War on Drugs History of Failure: Re-thinking the Mission and


Approach of Colombian Government and Neighboring Countries involved,
considering the protection of the rights and welfare of their citizens

I. Abstract
This is a paper on International Negotiation explicitly focused on the misconceptions of
war on drugs campaign its relation to the decisions, strategies and policies of the
Colombian government as it is suffered from lack of foresight and systematic failures
when it comes to the drug problem. In an increasingly involvement of war on drugs to
international community, it is important to scrutinize its historical development to perceive
the realities and its impact to security and society. This study examined the history of war
on drugs, the damaging impact of this campaign to the United States and Colombia with
their goal to reduce the drug use and drug trafficking and the other actors in international
drug trade. The results indicated the importance of ones state negotiating style and the
fundamental of market forces supply and demand. This study suggests the two states
involved, to practice principle of assertive conditionality when dealing with the drug
problem, and instead of reinforcing common misconceptions, seek new strategies focus
more on reducing the demand of drugs through harm reduction.
Keywords
War on drugs, Colombia, United States

Introduction
The war on drugs has been popular globally especially to the countries where
illegal drug trade is rampant, this campaign is designated to aggressively prohibit the
substances forming illegal drugs with the explicit goal to lessen the population of people
who use this. The war on war on drugs functions to legitimize the tactics of the
government wherein to control the use of drugs, they will treat the drug users as enemies
of the national community and moral order. On the other hand, the public may see this as
a conflict to human rights.1 Thus, it is important to rethink and reconsider if the war against
drugs or the tactics of the government is effectively address the issue.

1
Austin, Andrew. Drug War. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, May 2013.
Accountable history of the war on drugs happened when President Richard Nixon
in 1970 imposed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 and
the subsequent creation of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 1973. Colombia is
known as the largest producer of cocaine. For the past thirty (30) years, Colombia has
been known on the frontline of global war on drugs existing through affliction brought by
the powerful Medellin cartel in 1980s and 1990s. The war against drug cartels stepped
up on 1984;2 many drug lords were assassinated and killed. One of the most controversial
issues was the Post Escobar drug problem. Pablo Escobar was known as the King of
Cocaine, a Colombian drug lord who controlled over eighty percent of the cocaine
delivered to the United States. He entered the drug trade since 1970s and in the
collaboration of other criminals they formed the Medellin Cartel which is one of the
powerful cartels back then. In 1993, he was shot dead while trying to evade arrest.3 The
Colombian government and United States declared victory over the war against drugs,
they thought the battle was finally over. However, it only leads the way to a much more
threatening problem in Colombia.
The United Nations general assembly convenes a special session held in April
2016 to deliberate the successes and failures of global drug policy. The Colombian
president, Juan Manuel Santos attended the session, and he was proposed a human
solution that aims to combat the root causes of the drug problem in all phases and not
just to implement policies that only prohibits. In one of the forum on drugs policy that
happened in Bogota, President Santos compared their current approach in the drug
problem in Colombia to riding a bike, according to him they make a huge effort, they
sweat, they look at the left and right side and, yet they are still in the same place, the drug
business continues.4 Colombian President somehow have a point and they need to
undergo on wider scrutiny to critically study the real problem before implementing policies
that can only be a product of misconceptions.
It has been seen in various countries like Colombia that the numbers of global drug
policies imposed were as many as global drug policy failures occurred. The
implementation of war on drugs has been effectuated extensive negative consequences
to many countries, among them were having overcrowded prisons, extra judicial killings
of drug users, creation of international criminal syndicates, and deterioration of the
national community and neighboring countries. There are a lot of countries enforced the
war on drugs campaign hoping that it will help the problem, but how many of them were

2
Colombia profile - Timeline. BBC News. October 04, 2017. Accessed November 20,
2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-19390164
3
Pablo Escobar." Biography.com. November 13, 2017. Accessed November 20, 2017.
https://www.biography.com/people/pablo-escobar-9542497.
4
Brodzinsky, Sibylla. "After 30 years on the frontline, Colombia looks beyond the failed
war on drugs." The Guardian. April 18, 2016. Accessed November 21, 2017.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/18/colombia-united-nations-assembly-war-
on-drugs
successful and failed to do so? Despite of the proven failures, why they keep on doing
the same mistakes?
Hence, from the aspect of international negotiations and conflict resolution, the
purposes of this study are to (1) study the aftermath of the drug trade in Colombia to know
how the killings of the drug lords became a much more threat to national community and
neighboring countries (2) examine the impact of the US foreign policy in Colombia (3)
scrutinize the misconceptions about war on drugs and use this misconceptions in re-
thinking possible solutions which at least lessen the drug problem (4) know the countries
has been successful in eradicating the drug problem that can be of help as possibly
effective ideas to other countries (5) thus interpret and explain how the leaders of various
countries involved in international drug trade like Colombia should attack and negotiate
effectively to lessen the problems on drugs.

II. A. Statement of the Problem

The following were inquiries that the study will answer:


1. What are the negative consequences happened when the drug lords were killed?
2. What are the policies and strategies imposed by the Colombian government? How
does it involve in the United States foreign policy?
3. What are the misconceptions on war on drugs that can lead to failure?
4. What is the possible negotiating style can be practiced by the governments when
dealing with the drug users? Can this be a Win-Win or Win-Lose?
5. How can the Colombian government, change the strategies and tactics in dealing with
the drug problem? What are the best strategies can be considered?

II. B. Methodology
This study utilizes the historical methodology to study the factors leading to the
historical development and growth of drug cartels and the effects of the historical
decisions made by the government of Colombia with the involvement of United States on
the development of a much more sinister kind of crime. This type of research is a process
by which historians gather evidence and formulate ideas about the past. It is the
framework through which an account of the past is constructed.5 It involves critical

5
Sullivan, Nate. "Historical Methodology: Evidence and Interpretation." Study.com.
Accessed November 21, 2017. http://study.com/academy/lesson/historical-methodology-
evidence-and-interpretation.html.
analysis and formulating interpretation of a practical condition and theories based on
historical evidence taken as the ground for action.
For this study, there is only one source of data: the researchers will use secondary
data source from books, dissertations, journals, researches, and internet sources. It will
also be subjected to critical analysis wherein the researchers will imply the information
gathered from the secondary sources to existing and applicable theories that will direct
the researchers to a crucial and essential conclusion.

III. Review of Related Literature


The origin of War on Drugs

In 1880s, there were no any drug prohibition laws existed in United States. Not
until some of distributors exaggerated the use of drugs specifically cocaine in the recipe
of beverages. In 1900s, drug prohibition laws were becoming prevalent. In 1906, the
United States Congress approved the Food and Drug Act, in 1914 Congress approved
the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, enacting a strict regulatory system on importation,
production, and distribution of opiates, as well as cocaine. In 1911, the International
Opium Convention of 1912 was ratified, the worlds first multinational drug control treaty.6
There were a lot of subsequent laws passed by the US government, and the first used of
the famously phrase war on drugs was used by President Nixon in 1971. It refers to the
developing campaign towards the prohibition of the illegal drug trade. The US Congress
intensified the laws in 1988 and in 1994, they focused their anti-drug policy attention on
the large-scale drug operations and imposed more rough offenses because of the terrible
drug trade.
Clash of Clans: The Colombian Conflict
In mid-1960s to 1980s Colombian conflict or the Guerilla War emerged a war
between the Colombian government and paramilitary groups or communist groups. The
groups involved are the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or the FARC, the Leftist
National Liberation Army (ELN), Left-wing M-19 guerrilla group, etc.7 These groups has
been fighting each other to strengthen their influence in the national community.
Historically, these groups were triggered when the La Violencia conflict happened a civil
war between the Colombian Conservative Party and Colombian Liberal Party and led to
the framework of the global anti-Communist crusade which also affect the rural
Colombia.8 Like the other communist groups, these groups claimed that they are fighting
to protect the lower class of society against the cruelty of the government, fighting for their
rights through communism. However, it still causes harm in the community. A lot of killings

6
Ibid., 1
7
Ibid., 2
8
"The Colombian Cartels." PBS. Accessed November 21, 2017.
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/business/inside/colombian.html.
became a threat to human rights. These groups were also play a vital role in drug trade.
The FARC involved in various elements of organized crime including drug trafficking,
robbery, kidnapping, and other criminal activities. These activities serve as their source
of income, the FARC earned an estimated $400 million per year from drug trafficking. The
efforts of the Colombian government to eradicate the drug-related organizations is also
one of the suspected reason why Colombian conflict is still happening up to the present.
History of Colombias Drug Trade
Colombia experienced a long history of drug trade and still continues. The death
of the king of cocaine, Pablo Escobar, and dismantling his notorious Medellin Cartel is a
strategy referred to by scholars, such as Russell Crandall, as the kingpin strategy; the
kingpin strategy sought to demolish the cartels by attacking and destroying the leaders of
these organizations.9 The successful destruction of the major cartels was not the end of
the drug trade. Instead, it was a new beginning to the smaller groups and organizations
that were sought to engage in the drug trade. When the major cartels collapsed, they fill
the emptiness left and the drug trafficking continues.
In 1990s, the United States provided one billion dollars as an aid to the Colombian
government to significantly reduce the production and exporting of drugs. Despite of that
amount of money, it did not stop and even reduced the drug production and trade. By the
end of 1990s, the Colombia became the top one cultivator of coca plant. In 2000s, the
Colombian government were trying to reduce the cultivation of coca, but it still growing.

The guardian graphic of coca cultivation from the year 1994 to 2014
Source: US Department of State, INCS

9
Rosen, Jonathan D., Ph.D. The war on drugs in Colombia: A current account of U.S.
policy. PhD diss., University of Miami, 2013.
Despite of the Colombian aerial eradication program used to combat coca by spraying
the hectares under cultivation, the increasing percentage of coca cultivation persist. In
year 1998, the Colombian government sprayed 65,000 hectares of coca, yet the levels of
coca production still increase rapidly which can also be seen on the graph. However,
Rosen emphasized that;
Before providing some statistics, it is important to note that differences in statistics
do occur and statistical analysis is not a full-proof system. Drug production and
drug trafficking are illegal, and drug cartels do not provide information to the
government about how much the organizations earn, grow, and traffic. It should be
noted that coca, however, is not the same as cocaine, and it is quite intensive to
refine coca into cocaine. Coca also is used to make other products, such as tea
and toothpaste and has various medicinal uses. For example, people chew coca
leaves to combat altitude sickness in the Andes.10

Aside from the large amounts of coca leaves, Colombia is also known as the top producer
and refiner of cocaine. While the United States considered as the worlds largest
consumer of cocaine, Colombia is known as the worlds largest producer and refiner of
cocaine and remained as one of the largest supplier of heroin in United States. In 1999,
eighty percent of cocaine were exported in the US. 11 Aside from cocaine, Colombia also
produces heroin and marijuana, although not a major producer, yet it still exported in the
United States.
The Drug Wars damaging impact on Colombia and United States
Due to Colombias growing capacity of producing and distributing narcotics across
United States, the country quickly became the epicenter of US foreign policy. Since the
United States was the first one who used the war on drugs, they extended this campaign
to their neighboring countries involved in exporting drugs to them. Essentially, the drug
prohibition law of Colombia was based on the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of the United
States. However, there are some critics scrutinized the influence of the US extended to
the Colombian government. Villar and Cottle (as cited in Mansfield, 2016) argues that
extending the War on Drugs on Colombia is a motive imperialism. Mansfield reiterated
that from the Medellin to Cali cartel to the narcotization of Sampers administration, US
policy was intent on abolish the drug trade in Colombia. However, when it became
apparent that this narcotization had led to surge in left-wing groups and had little/ no
impact on US supply or demand, US policy became imperialistic. 12 The Samper
Administration of US was involved in the narco-funds for the campaign, and the US
persuade the Colombian government that they will withdraw the aid if they would not
pursue the war on drugs to destroy the Cali cartel, thus it resulted to decentralization of

10
Ibid., 9
11
"The World Factbook." FIELD LISTING :: ILLICIT DRUGS. Accessed November 21,
2017. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2086.html.
12
Mansfield, Amber Scarlett. "War on Drugs or War of Imperialism: What best describes
US policy in Colombia?" Undergraduate paper, University of Warwick, 2016.
drug trade. The privatization that made the US imperialistic dependency strengthened.
Despite that this decentralization also resulted to a much more enhanced drug trafficking.
The US chased the War on Drugs through counter-insurgency, but it appears the shifting
paradigm of War on drugs to political purposes rather than anti-narcotic goals.
The Plan Colombia
The Plan Colombia was financed entirely by the US government, it aimed to assist
rural development, invest socially, and strengthen the economy to combat narcotic
production.13 That was the goal of the first draft of Plan Colombia. However, when the
legislation passed, they predominantly disregard these objectives and moved towards
militarization. In year 2000 and 2004, eight percent of aid went to Colombias military and
police sector, while only 20% for economic and social purposes.14 This was also started
in 1981 when the US Congress passed amendments to the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act,
relaxing prohibitions on the use of military personnel to enforce civilian laws.15 In 1986
the signing of National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 221 was significant, which
enabled the military operations as a counter tactic against drug trafficking recognized as
a threat to US national security.16 Lee divulged that;
For instance, the military was directed to assist other US agencies engaged in
counter-narcotics; collect, analyze, and disseminate intelligence; participate in
coordinated interdiction programs; train and assist foreign military forces to carry
out their own counter-narcotics operations, and provide technical and materiel
[sic] support [50] to foreign governments. Importantly, NSDD 221 highlights the
underlying reason for American concern about the international drug trade:
regimes unwilling or unable to cooperate with counter-narcotics could quickly
change into ones unable to control elements of [their] own judiciary, military, or
economy, which would in term negatively influence US interests. [51].17
Prior to that, the drug trade routes moved to other countries, thus the other countries were
also affected by the US war on drugs. This was also referred to as the balloon effect of
the war on drugs wherein, diminishing the drug supply in some areas merely forced drugs
supply into other areas.18 Hence, in terms of the goal and result in the aspect of drug
trafficking and drug production, Plan Colombia has been a failure and even

13
Ibid., 9
14
Worked out from figure 4.1, Lemus & At, Colombia: Vicious Circle, p.108.
15
Carpenter, Bad Neighbour Policy, 34.
16
Lee, Grace. "Imperialism by Another Name: The US." E-International Relations.
August 22, 2017. Accessed November 22, 2017. http://www.e-
ir.info/2017/08/22/imperialism-by-another-name-the-us-war-on-drugs-in-colombia/.
17
Ibid., 16
18
Mendoza, Ronald U., Ph.D., Ivyrose S. Baysic, and Eunice A. Lalic. "Anti-Drug
Campaigns: What Works and What Doesn't Work." Anti-Drug Campaigns: What Works
and What Doesn't Work, November 2016.
https://www.ateneo.edu/sites/default/files/attached-files/Anti-
Drug%20Campaigns_PolicyReport.pdf.
counterproductive such as the aerial spraying programs that resulted to a disastrous
environmental and health consequences.
After the Colombian government came into the realization because of the
continued failures, they created the Plan Colombia II. The difference is that it was only
outlined by the Colombian government without the US involvement. Instead of allotting
initiatives in military forces, it focused on the so called soft components, by which 58
percent of the money allotted to economic and social projects, including strengthening
human rights and the justice system, long thought to be weak points in the Colombian
government.19 However, it did not materialize because the US has cut aid to Colombia.
The War on Drugs; In a different Perspective
Despite of a huge failure of war on drugs, there are still a lot of countries implement it,
aiming to eradicate the drugs. The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial,
summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard reiterated in her speech at a drug
policy forum at the University of the Philippines (UP) that, The general assembly of the
worlds governments recognized explicitly that the war on drugs be it community
based, national or global does not work,.20 Although she did not mention any countries,
Colombia is one of the example of a war on drugs failure. In the said forum held in the
Philippines, a neuro-psycho-pharmacologist from Columbia University, Carl Hart
emphasized that war against drugs is a campaign against the lower class of society. He
reiterated that, All you need to do is to look at who is being arrested, who is being killed
and what you will find is that it is the undesired people in your society, the poor people in
your society. So, in effect, it becomes a war on those undesirable,.21 It indicates that
instead the campaign war on drugs, fight against drugs, it only leads a conflict to the
people in the community. That was an experienced statement regarding the war on drugs
campaign in Colombia. Instead of eradicating the drugs, it leads to the creation of more
crimes. Instead of imposing fear among the community, the national government must
initiate a cohesive effort in dealing with the drug problem. Entering the war on drugs
campaign is beyond the power of the government alone. This campaign can only be
deemed successful with the involvement of the public or the whole community.22 On the
highlighted issue of war on drugs in the Philippines, Colombia became a reminder of the
unsuccessful war on drugs. The former President of Colombia, Cesar Gaviria expressed
his concern on the war on drugs campaign of the Philippine Administration under
President Rodrigo Duterte. He stressed that he hopes the Philippines would not repeat
or do the same mistake as what the Colombian government did for so many decades. He
reiterated that Throwing more soldiers and police at the drug users is not just a waste of

19
Ibid., 9
20
Mateo, Janvic. "War on drugs does not work Callamard." Philstar.com. May 6, 2017.
Accessed November 22, 2017.
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/06/1697149/war-drugs-does-not-work-
callamard.
21
Ibid., 20
22
Press, AJ. "War on drugs." Editorial. July 13, 2016. Accessed November 22, 2017.
http://asianjournal.com/editorial/war-on-drugs/.
money but also can actually make the problem worse. Locking up nonviolent offenders
and drug users almost always backfires, instead strengthening organized crime. 23 He
validated his opinion when he said that he learned the hard way. War on drugs can cause
a lot of crime and can overlook the priorities of the goal.24 Colombia is now putting
emphasis on the fact that the war on drugs is a social problem.

IV. Presentation, Interpretation & Analysis of Data (PAID)


The war on drugs campaign of the United States and Colombia was basically
linked in the deterrence theory. According to Cullen et al. (as cited in Maximus, 2015),
Deterrence Theory advances the proposition that individuals are rational beings and wish
to maximize their pleasure and minimize their pain.25 These two rational beings can be
the US and Colombia on deterring the drug trade. There are two categories of deterrence
theory, specific deterrence and general deterrence. The former is the concept that
punishment persuades the perpetrator of the crime not to take the course of action. The
latter is the concept that the offender will be punished to deter others in the society from
committing an analogous offense. The idea was that society would be afraid of the
punishment and adjust their actions. This reasoning for punishment aligns with the view
of utilitarianism. According to Schubert, Utilitarianism is a theory that one is motivated by
pleasure and the fear of pain, so punishments can be used as a deterrent to commit
crimes.26 In the case of war on drugs campaign these two are applicable. Deterrence
theory as a crime reduction strategy is good. However, understanding underlying
principles of war on drugs is crucial to address whether Deterrence Theory is successful
in its application on war on drugs. But in the case of Colombias war on drugs campaign
the use of deterrence theory to restrict the drugs has been a failure.
The decades of failures of Colombia were not entirely about the war on drugs, but
there are also underlying factors that needed to be critically analyzed. The relation and
strategy of US and Colombia can be analyzed through the theory called Negotiators
Dilemma which is like Prisoners Dilemma. The negotiators will face decision when

23
Gonzales, Yuji Vincent. "Ex-Colombia leader to Duterte: Don't commit my mistakes in
drug war." Inquirer Global Nation Ex-Colombia leader to Duterte Dont commit my
mistakes in drug war. February 8, 2017. Accessed November 22, 2017.
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/152442/ex-colombia-leader-duterte-dont-repeat-
mistakes.
24
Pamintuan, Ana Marie. "War on drugs." Philstar.com. June 13, 2016. Accessed
November 22, 2017. http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2016/06/13/1592342/war-drugs.
25
Maximus, Marcus. "Deterrence Theory and the War on Drugs."
MarcusTrebelliusMaximus. October 01, 2015. Accessed November 23, 2017.
https://marcustmaximus.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/deterrence-theory-and-the-war-on-
drugs/.
26
Schubert, Jessica. "Positivist Criminology: Definition & Theory." Study.com. Accessed
November 23, 2017. http://study.com/academy/lesson/positivist-criminology-definition-
theory.html.
choosing whether to cooperate or compete. When you apply this theory to Prisoner's
Dilemma scenario, cooperating means to keep quiet, and competing means to confess.
In Negotiators Dilemma there are four different scenarios with the possible outcomes.
Great: If you compete and the other cooperates, you will have a great outcome,
and the other will have a terrible outcome. In Prisoner's Dilemma, this happens if
you confess and the other person keeps quiet.
Good: If both you and the other side decide to lay all cards on the table and
cooperate, both will have a good outcome (the second-best result for you). In
Prisoner's Dilemma, this happens if both of you keep quiet.
Mediocre: If both you and your adversary take the offensive and compete, both will
receive a mediocre outcome (the third best result for you). In Prisoner's Dilemma,
this happens if both of you confess.
Terrible: If you decide to cooperate, while the other decides to compete, you will
have a terrible outcome while the other gets a great outcome (the worst result for
you). In Prisoner's Dilemma, this happens if you keep quiet, but the other person
confesses.27
In the case of US to Colombia, it can fall under the Great scenario when the United States
extend its foreign policy to Colombia with regards to war on drugs, and Colombia just
accept it. While in the case of Colombia to US, it will fall under the Terrible scenario, the
failure of war on drugs and its negative consequences in its national community were the
proven result. When it comes to negotiating style, the US practice aggressive and
Colombia as submissive. Thus, the failure of the war on drugs is not only because of the
campaign itself, but also the actors involve in the implementation of the campaign.
The core strategy of the war on drugs is that no drugs, no problem. So, for so
many decades, the focus of most countries was to eradicate the supply of drugs and
punishing the drug users and the drug lords. However, they forgot the most fundamental
of market forces which is the supply and demand. According to Kurzgesagt, If you reduce
the supply of anything without reducing the demand first, its price goes up, this might
lower the sales of other products, but not for drugs. 28 The market of the drugs is not
sensitive to price, no matter what they cost, many consumes drugs. Thus, this will only
cause to a much more drug production. The supply of drugs will continuously grow without
strategy to reduce the demand. In response to terrible and highly visible drug problems
in the 1980s, there are countries do not forget the fundamental market force, these
countries are Switzerland, Netherlands, and United Kingdom. They implemented a new
set of policies and programs that are based on public health including heroin substitution
programs instead of focusing on criminalization or war on drugs. Their consistent

27
McGrath, Jane. "How Negotiation Works." HowStuffWorks. August 15, 2008. Accessed
November 23, 2017. https://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-
finance/budgeting/negotiation5.htm.
28
Why the War on Drugs Is a Huge Failure. Why the War on Drugs Is a Huge Failure?
March 1, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJUXLqNHCaI.
implementation of this policy has led to an overall reduction of number of people addicted
to heroin and the crimes were lessen.
The Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy released in 2011 have four
core principles that aims to guide national and international drug policies and strategies;
(1) Drug policies must be based on solid empirical and scientific evidence. The
primary measure of success should be the reduction of harm to the health,
security and welfare of individuals and society.

(2) Drug policies must be based on human rights and public health principles. We
should end the stigmatization and marginalization of people who use certain
drugs and those involved in the lower levels of cultivation, production and
distribution, and treat people dependent on drugs as patients, not criminals.

(3) The development and implementation of drug policies should be a global


shared responsibility, but also needs to take into consideration diverse political,
social and cultural realities. Policies should respect the rights and needs of
people affected by production, trafficking and consumption, as explicitly
acknowledged in the 1988 Convention on Drug Trafficking.

(4) Drug policies must be pursued in a comprehensive manner, involving families,


schools, public health specialists, development practitioners and civil society
leaders, in partnership with law enforcement agencies and other relevant
governmental bodies.29

The experiences and approaches of the countries like Switzerland, New Zealand,
and United Kingdom shows that they focus on reducing the demand through
strengthening the public health of those who uses drugs. It doesnt only improve the health
of the community, but also it helps to reduce the crimes and violence. In the principles of
the Commission on Drug Policy shows the its goal to end the common misconceptions
and the war on war on drugs.

29
Global Commission on Drug Policy." Report of the Global Commission on Drug
Policy, June 2011.
V. Summary, Conclusion, Recommendation

Summary

The war on drugs in Colombia as well as in the United States has been a huge
failure for so many years. Behind this failure are misconceptions about war on drugs, lack
of effective strategy, and impaired policies. The main goal of war on drugs is to stop the
use of drugs and to stop the drug trafficking. Its been appealing for countries experiencing
a severe drug problem. The strategies and polices were imposed by the Colombian
government are adopted from the US. These policies focus on the prohibition to use,
produce and trade drugs. Little did they know they forgot the fundamentals of the market
force, supply and demand. They only focus in reducing the supply of drugs without
focusing on the demand. Instead of a good outcome, it only leads to corruption, political
destabilization, human rights abuses, violence and crimes. The prohibition makes the
drugs stronger. War on drugs is not only about the government against the drug users
but also the people at the top of the illegal drug production, and this involves the guerillas
or the communist group within the country, and this caused a conflict in Colombia. The
United States provides foreign aids to Colombia for so many years to lessen the export
of drug to America. However even up to the present, nothing has changed, Colombia still
suffered for a severe drug problem. The current President of Colombia, Juan Manuel
Santos thinking about shifting away from the war on drugs campaign and even planning
to have a peace talk with the communist groups. However, the next step of the Colombian
government is still unpredictable.

Conclusion
Its been decades and the war on drugs is still rampant for so many countries,
because of the misconceptions about this campaign. Even the Colombian former
President Cesar Gaviria wanted to remind the world that war on drugs is a failure and he
plead not to repeat their mistakes because they learned the hard way. There are a lot of
countries that are product of the same mistake and there is still some unceasingly
continues, but how are they now?
What happened in Colombia is not necessarily mean that the same thing will also
happen to other countries who will impose war on drugs. However, in this study the
historical development and even the present condition of Colombia is a strong and
enough evidence to assert that the war on drugs campaign is essentially not applicable
to curb the drug problem nor resolve it.
Recommendation

The Colombia has been a submissive negotiator over the United States which was
became an aggressive negotiator in the issue of drug trafficking. The failure of both states
in eradicating the drugs also lies under their negotiating style. In terms of these heavy
issues, they need to learn and set the principles of assertive communication. Approaching
interactions in a spirit of collaboration and not of competition. The ultimate goal should be
a win-win situation, because in the issue of war on drugs if Colombia will lose in
negotiation, it is still having an impact on the US. Thus, they both need to be an assertive
negotiator, because behind the effective policies and approaches is an effective
negotiator. The motives of the leaders on war on drugs campaign should be clear and I
hope that they critically studied about this before the implementation.
Dealing with the drug problem would take a lot of efforts, patience, passion and
determination. It does not need to experience violence. War on drugs has been through
a lot of that and now is the time to re-think the mission and approach of the government
on how can a country effectively regain and boost the health of a nation. The Colombia
and even the United States should try new strategies and focus more on reducing the
demand of drugs through harm reduction. If the Switzerland and other countries succeed,
I believe that other countries can do so. Instead of allotting a huge percentage on
militarization or criminalization, why dont invest it on establishing a medical rehabilitation
that would offer health and treatment services for those who are addicted to drugs wherein
they can provide drugs but in the right amount at least they are being monitored, and to
those who want to change their lives, give them loans to start a new life. It is also important
to respect the human rights of people who became addicted to drugs and let us give them
a chance to live the life with so much to offer. The government should also invest on more
activities that will help to divert the attention of the youths to a more meaningful activity to
get away them from the use of drugs. I hope that the governments do not be afraid to take
challenges and experimentations with a legal purpose, it is better rather than reinforce
the common misconceptions and same mistakes about drug markets and drug use.
After four decades of fighting against drugs, maybe now is the time to end the war
and move on to something better. In the end, the ultimate goal of every nation is to have
peace, and in order to achieve it, work for it in a peaceful way.
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