Alex Massie

Fox’s Radical Good Sense

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Whatever you think of the rights and wrongs of our drug policies, I hope we may agree that they're much less important than drug policy in the United States or the countries that produce narcotics. Nearly 30,000 people have been killed in Mexico since the "War on Drugs" was re-militarised in 2006. Now former President Vincente Fox is the latest Latin American statesman to suggest that the war is a pointless, murderous folly that weakens civil society while empowering the very people it's supposed to be fighting:

"Legalization does not mean that drugs are good ... but we have to see (legalization of the production, sale and distribution of drugs) as a strategy to weaken and break the economic system that allows cartels to earn huge profits," Fox wrote in a posting over the weekend. "Radical prohibition strategies have never worked."

Read the whole thing - in Spanish - on his blog.

Last year, three other prominent Latin American politicians, ex-Presidents Cardoso (Brazil), Gaviria (Colombia) and Zedillo (Mexico) also called for rethinking drugs policy and, essentially, ending the 40 year war.

I think most of us who think we need saner drug laws and an end to an approach that has helped cripple or at best destabilise countries around the world recognise that legalisation will create some additional problems and that some of those problems may well have awkward or regrettable consequences. But at what point will the happy drug warriors admit that their preferred approach has had plenty of time and money and cost plenty of lives while holding back entire countries in the name of a war without end and, increasingly it seems, precious little point? Does there come a moment when even the drug warriors will have had enough?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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